By Joe Henricksen

Plenty of intrigue in Class 3A Final Four

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By Joe Henricksen

Although top-ranked and previously unbeaten Decatur Eisenhower fell in the Class 3A sectional, the 3A Final Four offers a little bit of everything this weekend in Peoria.

First, there is the two-time defending state champ Simeon. Will the Wolverines become just the third program in state history to capture three straight state championships? And with a completely different team than the previous two?

There is also the potential matchup of two Chicago Public League teams -- and probably the two best teams in the state -- meeting for a state championship. This is the first time in history a Public League team has advanced to the Elite Eight for a third straight year -- and both Simeon and Marshall have done it this year. Thus, history would be made with two city schools squaring off for a state title.

There is the Chicago vs. Downstate intrigue, with Simeon and Marshall out of the city meeting central Illinois teams Champaign Central and Washington, respectively. You can't get a more interesting matchup than Marshall vs. Washington. Their styles are actually similar in that they both flourish in transition, yet do so in different ways. Those familiar with both Marshall and Washington can't wait to see how the two different systems play against one another. And, specifically, how shooting sensation Matt Roth of Washington will handle Marshall's relentless perimeter pressure defense.

In Class 4A the storyline is about the arrival of Zion-Benton and Richards as state powers. Zion-Benton has been lurking for years, with three trips to the Sweet 16 and an average of 25 wins a season since 1993. This is coach Don Kloth's most talented team, which is why this program is arguably the favorite to win the Class 4A title. Richards, which when it comes to basketball is recognized as Dwyane Wade's high school, is also making its first trip to the State Finals.

Lockport just won't go away. The Porters are in the midst of an amazing three-year run, which has included a Sweet 16 berth two years ago, an Elite Eight berth last season and an out-of-nowhere return trip to Peoria this season. And Evanston, a proud and tradition-rich program, will bring home its first state trophy since finishing fourth in 2003 but has visions of winning its first state basketball title since 1968.

What is too bad is that the four representatives in Class 4A won't get a shot at playing what most people believe are the state's top two remaining teams -- Marshall and Simeon. That's what four-class basketball brings, an unclear state champion.

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4 Comments

I agree Joe,

We truly do not know who the best teams are. Maybe the IHSA will allow after-tourney games to find out. Afterall, that would bring in more revenue and more publicity. Let the four teams that win each class play eachother the week after 3A/4A in Peoria.
Imagine if the 1A team one that 4-team tournament! Talk about a Hoosiers-style upset!

The question becomes, will the arrogant IHSA listen to good ideas from anyone but their 'inner circle of trust'?

D. WADE IS A CLASSY PERSON, HIS SCHOOL HAS UNIFORMS
WITH THEIR NAMES ON THE BACK, THE COURT IS NAMED AFTER
HIM, HE COMES BACK AND HAS BASKETBALL CLINICS AT THE
SCHOOL.
WOULDN'T IT BE GREAT IF ALL OF OUR NBA PLAYERS
FROM THE CITY AND SUBURBS WOULD DO THE SAME THING FOR
THEIR ALMA MATERS!
THE KEY WORD IN THE ABOVE PARAGRAPH IS (ALL)!
GOOD LUCK TO ALL THE TEAMS IN PEORIA!

MARSHALL HAS A BETTER CHANCE THAN SIMEON TO PARTICIPATE
IN THE CHAMPIONSHIP GAME.
EVEN THOUGH MARSHALL MAY HAVE HAD A COACHING CHANGE,
THEIR TEAM DOESN'T WANT JUST ANY TROPHY THIS UPCOMING
WEEKEND, THEY WANT THE ONE THAT IS GIVING OUT WHEN THE
TOURNEY ENDS.
UNLESS SIMEON WITH PRACTICALLY A NEW TEAM, CAN START
PUTTING UP SOME POINTS, THEY'RE GOING TO GET SNAKE BIT
DOWNSTATE, IT'S TOUGH TO THREE-PEAT, WITH NO ROSE, NO
FLOWERS, BASICALLY THIS TEAM HAS BEEN PUT TOGETHER LIKE
A JIGSAW PUZZLE, SO FAR SO GOOD, BUT I DIDN'T LIKE WHAT
I SAW AGAINST T.F. NORTH IN THE SUPER-SECTIONAL GAME.
IN CONCLUSION ROBERT SMITH AND COURTNEY HARGRAVES SHOULD BE COMMENDED FOR THEIR LEADERSHIP AND POISE,
THEY DEFINITELY CAN COACH AND IRONICALLY THEY BOTH
PLAYED FOR THE SCHOOLS WHERE THEY COACH!

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This page contains a single entry by Joe Henricksen published on March 12, 2008 9:18 AM.

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