IHSA Boys Sectional(Class 3A,4A) and Supersectional Tuesday(1A,2A) Previews of the Top Matchups!!!!!
Regional and Sectional Champions have been crowned and the possible match ups I talked about last week did not materialize(Rolling Meadows, and Lemont lost in first game), but now to the nitty gritty week. There are some juice match ups for Tuesday and Wednesday. Here's a breakdown of some of them:
Evanston Township vs Glenbrook South(Glenview) in Class 4A Elk Grove Village Sectional Semifinal. This is the first time in 5 years Evanston is not the top seed in the Sectional. Two unusual things here, one is the 2 and 3 seeds playing on a Tuesday doubleheader. The second is it's being played at Robert Morris University. The IHSA usually does not play Sectional games on a college campus, they wait until Super Sectional for that. As it is this is the rubber match for these teams won on their home courts but this is a neutral site. Junior guards Blake Peters, Jaylin Gibson, and Isaiah "Itchy" Holden for Evanston. Glenbrook South counters with All-Area senior forward Dominic Martinelli, and sophomore guard Cooper Noard. Can Evanston stop or slow down Marintelli? No one else has this year. To me the key is getting the ball out of his hands and making someone besides Martinelli and Noard beat them. Key for Glenbrook South is slowing the game down and not turning the ball over a lot, and giving Evanston easy fast break points. This game I think will be a halfcourt game, but the Wildkits have shown they can win that way too, if their threes are falling. This will be another close one that I predict Evanston will win. The Wildkits move on.
Marian Catholic(Chicago Heights) vs Bloom Township(Chicago Heights) in Class 4A Bloom Sectional Semifinal on Tuesday. Bloom is the top seed in the sectional. The Battle of Chicago Heights Round 3 will be a doozy, though Bloom has dominated the first two meetings. Get your tickets early for this one. Marian Catholic will have to have huge games from senior guards Ahron Ulis and Joe Green. Bloom will counter with senior guards Donovan Newby and Dante Maddox Jr. I think the X factor for both teams are senior forward Elijah Jones for Marian and senior forward Christian Shumate for Bloom. I just think Bloom has too much firepower and the game is on their home court. The Blazing Trojans move on.
Homewood Flossmoor vs Thornton Township(Harvey) in Class 4A Bloom Sectional Semifinal on Wednesday. I was at the regular season match up with these teams. https://tim1coleman.wixsite.com/website/post/3-thornton-township-55-6-homewood-flossmoor-43 Homewood Flossmoor dominated the first quarter, then Thornton dominated the rest of the game with their pressure defense and toughness. Thornton's best player is All- Area senior wing DJ Williams but they have 5 players who can do it all on the court. Homewood Flossmoor's senior forward RJ Ogom is an All-Area player himself. The key will be the Vikings guards Josiah Palmer and Joel Watts controlling the tempo and not turning the ball over. If that happens this game will be close, if not then a repeat of the regular season match up. I predict Thornton will win this game and set up a huge match up in Sectional Final with Bloom.
Whitney Young(Chicago) vs Simeon(Chicago) in Class 4A Lyons(LaGrange) Sectional Semifinal on Wednesday. It is crazy they did not play each other in the regular season. They usually do and it is always a tight match up. Simeon is the City Champ. Lately the City Champ has not had success going on to win a State Title. McDonald's All-American and Area Player Of The Year senior guard DJ Steward along with senior guard Tyler Beard is a monster backcourt. Simeon counters with All-Area junior guard Ahamad "Black Cat" Bynum and senior forward Jeremiah Williams. The key to me will be who's the best third scorer? Junior guard Jaehshon Thomas of Whitney Young? Or sophomore guard Jaylen Drane of Simeon? Or someone else from Simeon? I'll pick the upset here and say the Dolphins move on.
Aurora(East) vs Aurora(West) in Class 4A Lockport Township Sectional Semifinal on Wednesday. Neither one of these teams are supposed to be at this point. East is a 9 seed who upset Bolingbrook in Regional Final. West is a 14 seed who upset Waubonsie Valley(Aurora) in Sectional Semifinals, then won the regional with another minor upset of Central(Plainfield). This is one of the biggest rivalries in Illinois as it's the Battle of Aurora. East Aurora won the regular season match up by 7. I have to admit I do not know much about either of these teams so this is a blind prediction. I think West will turn the tables this time and move on.
Hillcrest(Country Club Hills) vs Morgan Park(Chicago) in Class 3A Thornridge(Dolton) Sectional Semifinal on Tuesday. Morgan Park has won 2 state titles in last 3 years but lost in Sectional Final last year. They have had an up and down season but judging from the Regional scores they have refocused for the playoffs. All-Area senior guard Adam Miller and junior wing Brandon Weston have looked especially focused. Hillcrest will present a unique challenge with their athleticism up front with junior forwards JaKobi Heady, Julius Rollins. Another storyline if junior guard Mar'Keise "Bucky" Irving playing against his former school. He attended Morgan Park his freshman year so he'll be hyped up for the show down even more. I predict Morgan Park will move on.
Kankakee vs Oak Forest in Class 3A Thornridge(Dolton) Sectional Semifinal on Wednesday. Both teams have glittering records. Both teams are looking for folks to put some respect on their name. There is one difference here. Kankakee has played a tougher schedule than Oak Forest. They have played both Bloom Township(Chicago Heights) and Thornton Township(Harvey) twice and went 0-4. Oak Forest played two tough games to end the season with Curie(Chicago) and Hillcrest(Country Club Hills). Will this make them battle tested enough to get through this? I have not seen Kankakee play all year so my prediction may be off here. Schedule tells me to pick Kankakee but Oak Forest has a lot of talent and size with senior guards Jayson Kent(6'6") and Juan Avila(6'4") in the backcourt. Sophomore forward Robbie Avila will be key in the interior. My prediction is Oak Forest moves on.
Westinghouse(Chicago) vs Fenwick(Oak Park) in Class 3A Saint Ignatius College Prep(Chicago) Sectional Semifinal on Tuesday. These teams played in the first week of the season at the Fenwick Thanksgiving Tournmament which Fenwick won in a foul fest(Bryce Hopkins himself shot 34 free throws for Fenwick). https://tim1coleman.wixsite.com/website/post/fenwick-thanksgiving-tournament. Fenwick has lost to some questionable teams this year, and though Westinghouse does not have a glittering record with their tough schedule, I think it will help them get the upset this time around. My prediction is Westinghouse in the upset.
Corliss(Chicago) vs Orr(Chicago) in Class 2A West(Joliet) Supersectional Tuesday. These teams have played 3 times in the past 2 years with Orr winning every time. Orr won last year and this year in the Chicago Public League Playoffs Second Round, and won in the State Semifinals last year. Both play in the Red Super Conference in the Chicago Public League Corliss(South/Central) and Orr(North/West). Orr is the three time defending state champ in Class 2A and have reloaded with transfers once again. They have a number of guys that can kill you from senior guard Bryce Hall, to senior guard Shaun Harris, or senior guard Reggie Strong, or senior forward Demarius Splunge. Well you get the picture. Corliss has some good players from 1-3 but not from 4-8 like Orr. Also Orr is chasing a place in the history books. My prediction is Orr makes their fourth consecutive trip to the State Finals, and try to join Manual(Peoria)(1994-1997) and Simeon(Chicago)(2010-2013) as teams winning four straight titles.
There you have it, let's see if I do better with my predictions this time(lol).