IHSA Boys State Semifinals Class 3A Preview!!!!!
Road to Champaign shows 16 teams left in 4 classes. Some will think this is the Simeon Invitational but this may be more open than most think. All 4 teams have a great shot at the title. Simeon almost blew a lead they had the entire game vs a young Lemont team. Metamora has a nice junior trio that took out St Francis(Wheaton), St Ignatius College Prep beat St Patrick in two overtimes, Sacred Heart Griffin took out East St Louis in Supersectional play. More exciting games on tap for the big trophy. Here we go:
Game 1 Thursday morning 10 am
Sacred Heart Griffin(Springfield)(33-3) vs #25 St Ignatius College Prep(Chicago)(23-12) Toss up game.
Sacred Heart Griffin- Three top players are junior wing Zack Hawkinson(6’6”), junior point guard Jake Hamilton, and junior point guard KeShon Singleton. Young team who has a glittering record coming to Champaign. Beat East St Louis convincingly in the Supersectional. Hamilton is a 1000 point scorer. This team lost their first two games of the season, and have since gone 33-1, with only loss to Class 4A Sectional Finalist Normal Community.
St Ignatius College Prep- I talked to Coach Matt Monroe, senior point guard AJ Redd(6’3”), and junior guard Richard Barron Jr(6’5”) after the Chicago Elite Classic in early December. They had lost the game to Chaminade(St Louis,MO) by double digits. I had them 6th in the preseason. High expectations were heaped on a team and school that had never had either. After this game they were 3-4 and about to be unranked. I asked them what was going on with the team? All of them preached patience and said they still believed in this team and what they could do. Well we are in March and they are at the State Finals for first time in school history. They played a tough schedule but have come around when needed. That strength and belief I heard in that interview showed in the double overtime 1 point win over St Patrick in the Supersectional. Redd became a very good point learning when to pass, drive, and shoot. Barron is a jack of all trades who can hit those corner threes along with attacking the basket. Senior forward Air Force commit Koby Gilles(6’5”) is a jack of all trades talent too. This team has a toughness about them that has come to within two games of a State Title.
Game 2 Thursday morning 11:30 am
#5 Simeon Career Academy(Chicago)(28-5) vs Metamora(29-6). Does Metamora have enough athletes to challenge Simeon?
Simeon Career Academy- Perennial contenders who’s program has won 7 State Titles but none of these players have been Downstate. This is new to theser these group of players. Coach Robert Smith has won 6 of those State Titles, and will be interesting to see who he sicks senior guard Morris(5’8”) on? Morris is a nasty defender who gets under taller players, and is in the grill of other guards. He held Lemont sophomore sensation Nojus Industraitis to 10 points in the Supersectional. He can hit threes and penetrate to the basket to set up teammates. The two other point guards in the starting lineup are senior Jaylen Drane(6’3”) and junior Jalen Griffith(5’9”). They can control tempo and the game with their ball handling, passing, and penetration. The Rubin twins(Wes and Miles) are 6’9” rim protectors who can score inside and hit the glass hard. Miles had 22 points 8 rebounds and 6 blocks in Supersectional. Senior forward NIck Robinson(6’6”) and senior Lance Rogers(6’7“) gives Simeon a lot of length coming off the bench.
Metamora- Starts with junior wing Ethan Kizer(6’6”). Very intense player who can jump out of the gym, hits the boards, can shoot the three, and drive to the basket finishing with dunks on guys. Another jumping jack is junior Tyson Swanson(6’3”) who can also shoot the three very well. Senior guard Zack Schroeder(6’3”) is the third of the three headed monster. Guard Matthew Zobrist(6’0”) is another knockdown three point shooter. They will have to send five to the defensive glass to keep the game close.