By Phil Brozynski
Now that the state tournament has arrived, it’s time to play 10 questions (give or take a few).
1. Can the red-hot Redhawks of Naperville Central, arguably the state’s best big tournament team over the last month, survive the toughest sectional in the state and win their second state title in three years? Or will they be knocked off by Naperville North or Downers Grove South or Benet?
2. Has Crystal Lake Central’s weak tournament schedule adequately prepared the Tigers for an assault on the Class 3A title? Or will the perfect season become nothing more than a memory?
3. How far can Kelly Murphy carry Joliet Catholic? Or will injuries to Annemarie Hickey and Brianna Fleener make the Angels susceptible to upset either in the Crete-Monee sectional or at the St. Francis supersectional?
4. Can Immaculate Conception translate its outstanding season outside the brutal Suburban Catholic Conference (18-2 in non-league matches) into its first state title since beating Stewardson-Strasburg in 1984?
5. Will Rebecca Kamp and Chicago Christian avoid the upset bug in the Class 2A tournament, unlike last year when the top-seeded Knights were taken down by Timothy Christian in the regional finals?
6. Will Wheaton Warrenville South take advantage of a clearly easier road to the state finals? Or will the Tigers revisit their late-season tournament struggles?
7. Can St. Francis figure out a way to defeat Rosary? Or will the defending state champions have to watch their own supersectional from the cheap seats?
8. Who will emerge from the Andrew supersectional? Mother McAuley? Marist? Sandburg? Stagg?
9. Will New Trier end its 31-year winless streak in the state finals?
10. Will anybody still be awake by the time the Class 4A tournament finals on November 10 in Bloomington are completed sometime around 11:00 p.m.? And will the Illinois High School Association ever find some new music for the state trophy presentations?