By Joe Henricksen
The City/Suburban Hoops Report provides a brief summary--and pick--for every Class 4A regional championship game across the state.
LYONS TWP. SECTIONAL
Oak Park Regional
Morgan Park over Bogan
Surprising Bogan beat Morgan Park during the regular season. In what should be one of the better regional title games, Hoops Report is taking MP in the rematch. Wayne Blackshear to the rescue! And the two freshmen guards, Billy Garrett, Jr. and Markee Williams, are a little more seasoned than two months ago.
Lyons Twp. over Julian
Hoops Report senses an upset here but doesn't have the guts to pick it. The magical run for LT continues, though it won't be easy against the speed and athleticism of Julian's Walter Lemon and Phillip Greene, along with the inside strength of Jamari Traylor.
Mount Carmel Regional
Mount Carmel over Hyde Park
Fabyon Harris and Hyde Park have enough to put a scare into No. 2 seed Mt. Carmel, but the Caravan are at home and have more overall talent.
Simeon over Argo
Vocational's road woes continued into March as they were upset by Argo Wednesday night as Morris Woods came up huge for the Argonauts. Will Argo be able to upset a Red-South power twice in one week? Coach Robert Smith's club pushes through with another regional title.
NEUQUA VALLEY SECTIONAL
Plainfield East Regional
Neuqua Valley over East Aurora
The good news is Dwayne Evans is on the floor of Neuqua after missing a game with an injury. Evans led them in scoring in the regional opener. The bad news is East Aurora is a scary No. 7 seed. But the Tomcats, who received 40 points from star junior Ryan Boatright Wednesday night, just have not been able to put together any consistency.
Glenbard East over Wheaton South
The Rams move on to the sectional behind a vaunted perimeter attack that should be able to contain Wheaton South's perimeter shooting. With the win Glenbard East breaks the school record for most wins with 26.
Waubonsie Valley Regional
Oswego East over West Aurora
Has a rugged schedule prepared West Aurora, the No. 13 seed, for an upset or two in regional play? The Blackhawks upset No. 4 seed Naperville North in the opener. West Aurora will throw everything and the kitchen sink at Oswego East's Jay Harris, but the Hoops Report believes Oswego East wins its first regional in school history and equals the program's most wins in a season.
Benet Academy over Downers Grove South
Another big-time upset alert. DGS is solid, played well down the stretch and could give Benet some problems with some of its young, athletic players. But Benet prevails for first regional title since 2005 behind the inside-outside punch of guard David Sobolewski and 6-10 Frank Kaminsky, who scored 39 in regional opener.
Lockport over Romeoville
The No. 17 seed Romeoville Spartans stunned Sandburg in the regional semis. While Lockport won't exactly breathe easily, it's comforting because Lockport lost to Sandburg twice in the regular season and won't have to face them a third time. The Porters were solid down the stretch, winning their last five games in the regular season.
Joliet over Bloom
Joliet's defense has been tough and freshman Morris Dunnigan has provided a little jolt to the Steelmen offense. That combination will be enough to get a regional title game victory on the road in the final year the two Joliet schools are combined athletically.
Homewood-Flossmoor over Plainfield South
Plainfield South, led by Ed Presniakovas, is the underdog, while a young H-F team is getting better and better. H-F won 11 of its final 12 heading into March and should be a major player going forward in a winnable sectional.
Lincoln-Way East Regional
Thornton over T.F. South
T.F. South has become a bit of a sleeper of late, with a mild upset over Plainfield Central in the regional opener. T.F. South beat T.F. North in late January, pounded Bremen by 20 late in the year and played Peoria Central tough in a loss. Thornton's overall speed and quickness gets the Wildcats an eighth straight regional championship.
Normal over Normal West
Great local flavor in this one. Normal West is the No. 1 seed but Normal has been playing well, beating Normal West late in the season. Normal's three losses in the last 45 days have come to state-ranked teams in O'Fallon, Champaign Centennial and Neuqua Valley. Normal gets the edge.
East Moline United Regional
Quincy over East Moline United
East Moline won a thriller in its regional opener over Moline, moving on to the title game with a 26-21 victory. Quincy beat East Moline twice in the regular season. However, the last one went down to the wire in a three-point victory. Zach Forbes and Quincy, though, make it three-for-three against their Western Big Six conference foe.
O'Fallon over Belleville West
Belleville West survived a 49-48 win over East St. Louis Sr. to get yet another shot at the top team in southern Illinois. This is not the matchup O'Fallon was hoping for as this will be the fourth time these two teams will play this season. Belleville West handed O'Fallon one of its two losses on the season. O'Fallon won the other two matchups (58-55 and 76-67). Roosevelt Jones will prove to be too much and O'Fallon gets the game at home.
Edwardsville over Collinsville
With talented Will Triggs and two regular-season wins over Collinsville already in the books, Edwardsville is the prohibitive favorite.
PROVISO EAST SECTIONAL
Oak Park over Proviso West
Oak Park has been one of those well-kept secrets. The Huskies have talent and depth, which will be enough to get them by a Proviso West team they split with during the regular season.
De La Salle over Farragut
Farragut pulled a surprise over Proviso East behind D.J. Tolliver. There weren't many teams playing better than De La Salle heading into March. However, does a near stunning upset loss to Morton on Wednesday raise concerns? Lets say the scare is out of the way as the Meteors prevail and move on to a showdown with Foreman next week.
St. Ignatius Regional
Foreman over St. Ignatius
This is Foreman's time. The speed and quickness on the perimeter will give St. Ignatius fits, even if the game is in a tough environment for Foreman. Many are projecting a potential landmine for Foreman in this one. Hoops Report thinks Hornets roll.
Whitney Young Regional
Whitney Young over Lincoln Park
The defending Class 4A champs take the first step in defending its 4A crown with a win over Lincoln Park.
NILES WEST SECTIONAL
Glenbrook South Regional
New Trier over Prospect
Both these teams survived grueling overtime wins to get here. The Latulip brothers, Joe and Mike, combined for 53 points in a win over Niles North to get to the regional final. Prospect struggled down the stretch while New Trier has played solid basketball for two months. The Trevians' size will be the difference as coach Scott Fricke gets his first regional title as the New Trier head coach.
Maine South Regional
Niles Notre Dame over Maine South
This will be a good one. A year ago Notre Dame knocked Maine South out of the state tournament and advanced to a sectional final. Here is another upset alert as the Hoops Report is taking the No. 6 seed Dons over Maine South in what will be a down-to-the-wire finish.
Addison Trail Regional
Glenbrook North over Lake Park
Hoops Report would be surprised if this one was close in the end. Glenbrook North has too much talent and size for a Lake Park team that went 1-5 in the final three weeks of the season.
Loyola Academy Regional
Loyola Academy over Mather
Here is a battle between the No. 12 and No. 13 seeds as Loyola and Mather took out Evanston and Von Steuben, respectively. Loyola Academy coach Tom Livatino is poised to win a regional in his first year as head coach in Wilmette. A date with top-seed Glenbrook North awaits with a win Friday night.
ROCKFORD BOYLAN SECTIONAL
Rockford Boylan over Rockton Hononegah
The best regional title game in this sectional is a Rockford area war, with the winner being favored to win next week's sectional. Sophomore Austin Angel leads a balanced Boylan scoring attack, which includes four players in double figures. And Boylan has two wins over Hononegah (by 7 and 4 points) in the regular season.
South Elgin over Bartlett
Expect a tight one in the Upstate Eight Conference rematch. South Elgin edged Bartlett 66-62 in the final regular season game of the year. Look for the perimeter scoring of South Elgin to get it done again in a close one.
Barrington over Streamwood
After putting some pieces together in the last two weeks of the regular season, with wins over Schaumburg, Libertvyille and Buffalo Grove, Barrington looks as if it will win a weak regional on its home floor.
Crystal Lake South Regional
Rockford Jefferson over Crystal Lake South
Will the home floor fuel Crystal Lake South to a mild upset over 20-plus win Rockford Jefferson? Using one common opponent as a reference, Crystal Lake South beat Harlem by one point earlier this year, while Rockford Jefferson beat Harlem by 26.
Deerfield over Libertyville
Deerfield received its early scare in the opener. This senior-dominated team is primed and ready, while the home fans will provide a boost. Duje & Company march on.
Stevenson over Hersey
Over the course of the season in the North Suburban Conference, Stevenson proved to be the best, most consistent defensive team. That will be enough to get by Hersey and claim a third regional title in five years for the Patriots.
Buffalo Grove Regional
Waukegan over Buffalo Grove
The Hoops Report doesn't believe there will be much suspense in this regional title tilt. Waukegan rolls into the Dog Pound for sectional play next week.
Schaumburg over Hoffman Estates
One of these Cinderella teams is moving on to a sectional. Schaumburg, the No. 13 seed, upset third-seeded Fremd, while Hoffman Estates surprised No. 6 seed Zion-Benton. Schaumburg knocked off Hoffman Estates twice in the regular season and has the home floor. Hoops Report thinks Schaumburg makes it a clean sweep.