IHSA Class 4A State Finals Preview!!!!!!
This is one of the most wide open State Finals in years. None of these teams have won a State Title. One team will make history. There is no real favorite, I have Moline, but it's very open. All these teams will draw huge crowds to Champaign. All have won at least 30 games. Here we go:
New Trier (Winnetka) (32-4) vs Benet Academy (Lisle) (34-1): These teams were in the Pontiac Holiday Tournament but did not play each other. Benet suffered their only loss of the year in the tournament against Class 3A State Finalist Simeon.
New Trier made it through one of the toughest sectionals in the state with a two point win and a one point win respectively. University of Chicago soccer commit Evan Kanellos (6'0" senior point guard) figured in both with a made layup and a free throw with 5 seconds left in sectional final. Supersectional was a little easier by comparison. Cornell commit Jake Fiegen (6'4" senior guard) became the all time leading scorer in school history in Supersectional. Williams college commit Tyler Van Gorp (6'11" senior center) could be a key with his rim protecting and rebounding inside. Logan Feller (6'3" junior guard) knocks down three pointers, as does Ian Brown (6'6" junior wing) off the bench. Colby Smith (6'4" sophomore guard) can run the team or hit threes on the wing.
Benet Academy has been #1 in my poll for weeks. Experienced team that doesn't have a lot of size, but is good at team rebounding. Can spread you out on offense with their three point shooting and attacking you off the bounce. Johns Hopkins commit Brayden Fagbemi is the engine as he can score from three, attack you off the bounce and score at the rim. He also kicks it out to his teammates for open threes off his penetration. His putback in sectional final against Geneva advanced them to Supersectional where they put a 30 piece extra crispy on Auburn (Rockford). Other key players are Brady Kunka (6'3" senior guard), Andy Nash (6'4" guard), Sam Driscoll (6'2" senior guard) and Parker Sulaver (6'6" junior forward) on the interior. Goes maybe 6 deep in the rotation.
North (Downers Grove) (32-3) vs Moline (33-3): first ever trip for the Mustangs, while it's been 19 years for Moline. West Suburban Silver has a representative for the second year in a row. DuPage County had a team win state title last season (Glenbard West) for first time in 108 years. Could they get a second state title in a row? Pack line defense will try to slow down Moline's Iowa commit senior duo of Owen Freeman (6'11") and Brock Harding (6'0").
North (Downers Grove) have a lot of pieces. You can't key on just one guy. Their star is Jack Stanton (6'2" junior guard) who can kill you when he heats up from outside and mid range. Mustangs have won games this year when he doesn't shoot well. They have Owen Thulin (6'0" junior point guard), Max Haack (6'0" senior guard) who can attack you off the bounce, hit threes and make passes to other shooters. They have a good big man rotation of Jake Riemer (6'8" junior forward) and George Wolkow (6'7" senior forward) who compliment each other so well. They will need to stay out of foul trouble in this game. They have two good three point shooters off the bench in Alex Miller (6'3" junior guard) and Finn Kramper (6'5" senior guard). Good mix of juniors and seniors.
Moline has the aforementioned Iowa commits in Harding and Owen Freeman. Harding controls the tempo and he's good at controlling his speed with stop and start moves. More athletic than you would think. Freeman is the most unstoppable force in the state as he can finish in the paint over either shoulder. He takes his time with his moves in the paint, does not get rushed. He can also step out and hit threes. Grant Welch (6'4" senior guard), Trey Taylor (6'5" sophomore guard), and Braeden Freeman (6'6" sophomore wing) will have to hit some outside shots to keep North honest. Jasper Ogburn (6'0" forward) helps Owen Freeman on the glass.