By Joe Henricksen
This is certainly no revelation after what transpired at Chicago State Sunday night, but Homewood-Flossmoor is
now part of the mix of the state's elite teams. Prior to the tip of the H-F - Whitney Young game, a trio of teams were
beginning to separate themselves in the early part of the season, with all three being from the Chicago Public
League -- Whitney Young, Marshall and Farragut. But H-F's impressive win over Whitney Young shows the Vikings
are more than just the best in the south suburbs.
While it's still early December, Homewood-Flossmoor is a bonafide state championship contender in Class 4A,
especially with the revamped four-class system. H-F could feast off what looks to be an uncharacteristic weak
south suburbs in March. Then the wacky four-class tournament road sends the Vikings to the Normal
Supersectional (state quarterfinals) to play what will be the top team from the deep south, likely O'Fallon or East St.
Louis. But forget about three months from now.
H-F has the star player at the most crucial position on the floor, point guard Kevin Dillard, and athletes all over the
floor. You can't say enough about Illinois football recruit Supo Sanni and the start to the basketball season he has
had. He was clearly the difference against Whitney Young with his relentless play on both ends of the floor. He
simply breaks an opponent's heart and will with his own toughness and tenacity. Will this team get enough scoring
in a slow-down, halfcourt game? It might not matter if H-F continues to get that many second-chance scoring
Whitney Young, meanwhile, looked nothing like the team that dismantled Hales a week ago. The Dolphins were a
step slower to the ball, not as aggressive defensively and short on their shots. All of those are signs of a tired
team, which they very well could have been after traveling 14 hours on a bus (7 hours to Kentucky and 7 hours
back) over the weekend, sandwiched around a three-point win late Saturday night in an intense, high-stakes
atmosphere. You gotta believe that took something out of them.
But probably more alarming in this loss was that Whitney Young did a 180 degree turn in the unselfish department.
In the win over Hales there was ball movement and unselfish play. Against H-F there was constant one-on-one
play that resulted in poor shots or turnovers. These were outside observer's worst fears about Whitney Young
when the season began. Luckily it's just December.
You get the feeling that this isn't the last Whitney Young-H-F battle we'll see. The two could meet at the Proviso
West Holiday Tournament later this month as they are in opposite brackets, although H-F has an absolute brutal
road to the title game that could include a matchup with powerful Marshall in the semifinals. And then there is
always Peoria, where these two could collide a third time.