IHSA Class 3A State Finals Preview!!!!!!!
Updated: Mar 10
This is a loaded semifinal even without defensing champ Sacred Heart Griffin (Springfield) who lost in double overtime in Supersectional to East St Louis. Three of the four teams are back from last season. Let's get to it.
St Ignatius College Prep (Chicago) vs Simeon Career Academy (Chicago): Rematch from third place game last season. St Ignatius won the game. Some said Simeon wasn't in it after losing in semifinals to Metamora as the favorite. Well they are favorite again this season.
St Ignatius College Prep (Chicago) has George Mason commit Richard Barron III (6'6" senior wing) who can score from outside and has the strength to finish at the rim on strong drives to the basket. Miami, Ohio commit Jackson Kotecki (6'9") will have to be key inside against the size and athleticism of Simeon. He can step out and hit threes. Junior wing Reggie Ray (6'3" ) will have to find some holes in the defense, penetrate and score. Will not be easy against that size, may have to hit some threes to loosen it up. Sophomore point guard Phoenix Gill (6'3") will have to run the team and play with some aggressiveness on offense hitting threes and drives to the basket. Key will have to stay even on the glass. Barron III needs a huge game offensively.
Simeon Career Academy (Chicago) will be the favorite, sentimentally with Coach Robert Smith retiring, and talent wise. They have size, speed, athleticism, and one of the best point guards in the state controlling tempo. Jacksonville commit Jalen Griffith (5'10) can score form three, in the mid range, make assists and be disruptive to the opposing point guard. Toledo commit Sam Lewis (6'6" senior wing) can break a game open with his three point shooting and attacking the basket off the bounce. Stonybrook commit Kaiden Space (6'0" senior) can run the point as well as score from three and the mid range. Pest on defense. Senior Rubin twins, Miles (6'10" forward, Loyola Chicago commit) and Wes (6'9" forward, Northern Iowa commit) are elite rim protectors, can score inside, rebound, and Wes floats to the perimeter and hits threes. That's five division one prospects in the starting lineup. If needed Simeon uses Steve Turner (6'10" senior center), and Rashard McKinnie (6'2" junior guard) off the bench.
Metamora vs East St Louis: Metamora has won 30 straight games and has not lost in 2023. They are on a mission to finish one spot higher than last year. Lost in double overtime in title game.
Metamora spreads you out with their guard and wing play. Any number of players can take you off the dribble, along with drive and kick three pointers. South Alabama commit Ethan Kizer (6'6"senior) is a wing that can jump out of the gym. He's just as athletic as the East St Louis players. You can add wing Tyson Swanson (6'3" senior forward) who can also jump out of the gym. Tyler Mason (6'1" junior point guard) can run the show and hit threes. Luke Hopp will be key to rebounding on the interior (6'7" junior forward) against a team with a huge size advantage. Senior Drew Tucker (6'3" wing) and sophomore Matthew Zobrist (6'4" wing) are three point shooters who can attack off the bounce.
East St Louis has size, athleticism, and can destroy you on the glass. They come with Kansas State commit Macaleab Rich (6'7" senior wing) who can jump out of the gym. Partner Cal State Fullerton commit Antwan Robinson (6'6" guard) is a threat from outside and attacking the basket. De'Neeco Rucker (6'5" senior wing) hit the putback at end of first overtime to send game into second overtime. More size in Demarion Brown (6'8" senior forward), Cameron Boone (6'10" senior center), and Davis Bynum (6'7" junior). Hitting some threes will be key for them to get to a title game. Point guard is McKenly Falconer (5'8" senior). East St Louis can become only the fourth school (Carlyle, Maria-Forsyth, Stevenson (Lincolnshire) to win football/basketball double in same school year.