IHSA Boys Basketball State Playoff preview, and top matchups, sleepers, and upset alert!!!!!
The IHSA Class A and 2A Playoffs are in Sectional play, while IHSA Class 3A and 4A are about to start regional play. Here are some possible hot match ups this week:
Yorkville Christian vs Leo(Chicago) Class A Ottawa(Marquette) Sectional Final on Friday. The winner of this game will be one of the favorites to cut down the nets in Peoria. Sophomore sensation guard Jaden Schutt is a threat to go off from three point range as is senior guard Michael Schnyders. If that is not enough freshman guard Brayden Young can makes it a thre guard monster lineup. Yorkville Christian though has nobody to match up with senior forward Kendale Anderson for Leo. Leo can counter with junior guard Terrence Ford with sophomore Cameron Cleveland who has stepped it up lately for the Lions. I would favor Leo and their tough schedule would get them through this one.
Orr(Chicago) vs Michelle Clark(Chicago) Class 2A Marshall(Chicago) Sectional Final on Friday. Orr is the three time defending state champ looking to make it four in a row. They have a ton of talent with senior guard Reggie Strong, senior forward Demarius Splunge, senior guard Shaun Harris, senior guard Bryce Hall, junior guard Norvell Meadows, sophomore guard Leontay Lilly. Michelle Clark won just their third regional title beating rival Crane(Chicago) for the second time this season. Senior guard Phillip Calhoun is the bell cow, but he has help with senior forward Colby Weekly handles the interior while sophomore Darrius Perryman is a sharpshooter from three, specifically the corners. Senior guard Carion Weathers is another threat from the perimeter and on the glass. I think Orr should handle them by double digits and move on.
Oak Forest vs Lemont Class 3A Oak Forest Regional Final on Friday. Lemont took Oak Forest to double overtime at home two weeks ago. This game would be on Oak Forest home floor. Oak Forest has lost two of the last three to tough opponents(Hillcrest(Country Club Hills),Curie(Chicago) but this should make them a tougher opponent. I predict Jayson Kent, the Avila brothers(Juan, Robbie) and Oak Forest will win this one in regulation.
Hillcrest(Country Club Hills) vs Richards(Oak Lawn) Class 3A Hillcrest(Country Club Hills) Regional Final on Friday. a four vs five seed here and Richards thumped Hillcrest in the first meeting by 12 at Richards. That game was in December right before Christmas. Junior guard Mar'Quise "Bucky" Irving was on the mend from an ankle injury suffered in football. He's rolling right now and I think that will be the difference this time. Hillcrest takes this game and moves on.
DePaul College Prep(Chicago) vs Farragut(Chicago) Class 3A DePaul College Prep(Chicago) Regional Final on Friday. Farragut is always a tough out in the playoffs. They are a young team with sophomore twin wings Mikell and Mikqwon Jones along with junior point guard Malik Williams. I still think junior point guard Ty Johnson, senior guard Lance Moseley, along with junior center Brian Mathews gets the Rams through on their home court.
Evanston Township vs New Trier(Winnetka) Class 4A Maine East Regional Final on Friday. The biggest rivalry in Illinois High School Basketball should get a third meeting here. Evanston Township has dominated this rivalry over the last seven years losing only twice in that time. They have won both games this year by a total of 16 points. Normally I would say this is a trap game for Evanston but they will be up for their rival. The experience of junior guards Blake Peters, Jaylin Gibson, and Isaiah "Itchy" Holden of playing in two state finals in a row will get them through this one.
Libertyville vs Zion Benton Class 4A Warren(Gurnee) Regional Final on Friday. Zion Benton has been inconsistent all year by beating Evanston but losing to Buffalo Grove, and Libertyville a possible opponent for Friday. They could lose their first game vs Round Lake or win the Sectional. They have the talent to do so with senior wing Damontae Taylor, and junior wing Amar Auguillard. Taylor is the most talented player in the Sectional and he will have to play with consistency. This is the most shaky pick for me....I'll pick Zion Benton to move on, hopefully they will be focused enough with this being playoff time.
Simeon(Chicago) vs Oak Park River Forest Class 4A Lane Tech(Chicago) Regional Final. Simeon is the Chicago Public League Champ aka City Champ. Oak Park is a dangerous opponent with a lot of talent, also Simeon has not played in a couple of weeks since the City Title Game. Oak Park junior guard Isaiah Barnes along with senior forward Justin Cross who is dangerous on the interior. Senior guard Josh Smith is another dangerous scorer. I believe junior guard Ahamad "Black Cat" Bynum, senior wing Jeremiah Williams and company will get over their rust and take this one.
My upset special: Glenbrook South(Glenview) vs Rolling Meadows Class 4A Maine West Sectional Final. Glenbrook South has a player of the year candidate in senior wing Dom Martinelli. Rolling Meadows has one of the top juniors in America in guard Max Christie. I think both will neutralize each other so it comes down to the supporting casts. Glenbrook South has sophomore point guard Connor Noard, senior guard Danny Pauletto. Rolling Meadows has senior guard Jonah Ogunsanya, freshman guard Cameron Christie. I think this will be a high scoring game and Max Chrsitie will have a huge game and get enough from his teammates to pull the upset. I'm taking Rolling Meadows in this one.
Sleeper teams: Hillcrest(Country Club Hills)(3A), Rolling Meadows, Zion Benton, Morton(Cicero).