By Joe Henricksen
There have already been a few shockers and big-time scares in the opening week of the Class 4A and Class 3A regionals. Regional final Friday is here and the Hoops Report picks a winner for every regional around the state.
Who are you picking? What are your upset specials?
Rockford Jefferson Regional
Rockford Auburn over Rockford Boylan
Star junior guard Fred Van Fleet & Company get the edge. Auburn beat Boylan twice this year, including a close one in late January.
St. Charles East Regional
South Elgin over Bartlett
These two teams split during the regular season, with Bartlett winning the most recent matchup 52-51. The Storm and Sam Sutter knock off a young, up-and-coming Bartlett team that features sophomore Lance Whitaker and junior sharpshooter Matt Chaltin.
Prairie Ridge Regional
Huntley over McHenry
A 20-plus win team that has 11 straight victories but no one knows about advances to sectional. Huntley knocked off McHenry twice during the regular season but both were by single digits.
Elgin over Dundee-Crown
Young Maroons, led by fast-rising junior Kory Brown, will extend their season and gain valuable March experience.
West Aurora Regional
Downers Grove South over Wheaton-Warrensville South
Did Mustangs already receive their regional scare? A couple of the hottest teams in the Chicago area square off--DGS has won 17 straight and WWS has won 10 straight and 13 of its last 15. How about Illini football recruit Reilly O'Toole? He poured in 31 and Wheaton South drilled 15 three-pointers in rolling past West Aurora.
Naperville North Regional
Benet Academy over Naperville North
Redwings handled the Huskies earlier this year, but North was without big man Matt LaCosse. Still shouldn't matter in this one as Benet rolls to a second straight regional title and 29th straight victory.
East Aurora over Neuqua Valley
Ryan Boatright and the Tomcats have had Neuqua's number, beating their Upstate Eight rival in last year's regional title game and twice during the regular season this year. And an off night for Boatright this past Tuesday could spell disaster for Neuqua in a "Boat" bounce-back game.
Glenbard East Regional
Glenbard East over Glenbard West
Should be back-to-back regional titles for Glenbard East. The Rams withstood a regional semi scare from Naperville Central and now face a Glenbard West team that will need to do all it can to stay in the game. The Hilltoppers, a No. 21 seed, upset Oswego East and Waubonsie Valley to reach the regional final.
Curie over Vocational
This could be a little tighter than people expect, but the Condors move on with their balanced attack.
Brother Rice Regional
Lyons Twp. over Brother Rice
Forget about LT's 86-62 romp over Rice back in December. Brother Rice is much improved and playing at home. LT goes on the road in this one and should expect a real dogfight but will win its second straight regional crown.
Hinsdale South Regional
Simeon over Hinsdale South
Impressive showing by Hinsdale South in lopsided win over Marist, but ... this is Simeon.
St. Rita Regional
Mt. Carmel over St. Rita
These two Catholic League foes met in late January, with Mt. Carmel winning a close one, 77-74. Now St. Rita is hosting the regional and a dangerous No. 12 seed. Tracy Abrams and the Caravan survive.
Oak Park Regional
De La Salle over York
Although York has been hot down the stretch, the loss of Will Sullivan to an injury decimates this team. The Dukes do not match up well with De La Salle--and that was before the Sullivan injury.
Proviso East over Proviso West
Nothing like a title tilt between two rivals in March. This one will have the same winner as the last time these two met but should be much closer than East's 25-point romp over West in early February.
Morton over Farragut
An upset special as No. 6 Morton (18-9) gets the best of a strong Farragut (21-4) team, the No. 3 seed in the York Sectional. Morton guard Jeff Jarosz is playing at a very high level. A fun matchup as Farragut's D.J.Tolliver and Jarosz lock horns in one of the better regional title matchups on Friday.
Whitney Young Regional
Whitney Young over St. Ignatius
In what should be one of the best regional championship games, Young has the size and depth to throw at Ignatius big man Nnanna Egwu. Plus, Derrick Randolph gives Dolphins big edge in the backcourt.
Danville over Normal
In a late January game, Normal edged Danville 61-60. Danville, now 17-5 since a 0-5 start to the season, gets its revenge.
Moline over East Moline United
A couple of rivals from the Quad Cities square off in the Peoria area. Moline has struggled down the stretch of the regular season but did knock off United Township in January.
Belleville West Regional
East St. Louis Sr. over Belleville East
Now that ESL has taken care of O'Fallon, this team is scary going forward and a fashionable pick. But this is a Belleville East team that knocked off East St. Louis 77-65 back in early February.
Alton over Edwardsville
A pair of teams hovering around the .500 mark meets for the third time this season. Alton handled Edwardsville fairly easily both times.
Lockport over Andrew
Andrew upset Stagg in the regional semis and has won six of its last seven, but Lockport and coach Larry Thompson find a way in March.
Plainfield Central Regional
Homewood-Flossmoor over Plainfield Central
In dramatic fashion, Plainfield Central stunned Thornwood at the buzzer in overtime. But the home floor and Derrick Marks won't be enough against a new-look Homewood-Flossmoor. Junior Tim Williams is back and looked terrific for the Vikings Wednesday night.
Lincoln-Way North Regional
Thornton over Lincoln-Way East
The Hoops report wants to call the upset special of the night right here--but doesn't have the guts to do so. Thornton, which struggled with Shepard in regional semis, sneaks out with a win.
Crete-Monee over Bloom
While it's never easy to do, Crete-Monee beats conference foe Bloom for a third time.
Niles Notre Dame over St. Patrick
A mid-season loss to St. Patrick was the start of a somewhat up-and-down second half of the season for Notre Dame. The 1-2 punch of Quinton Chievous and Rodney Pryor, though, find a way to put the Shamrocks away this time.
Maine West Regional
Maine South over Niles West
A lot of people overlooked Niles West after struggling in January, but coach Bob Williams' team has played well since early February, with wins over Waukegan and Glenbrook North. Maine South, though, has been a program that has simply found ways to win over the last three years behind underrated Matt Palucki.
Glenbrook North Regional
Glenbrook North over Niles North
Put this one in the top five category of best regional final games. Niles North, led by Abdel Nader, is red-hot. Interestingly, Nader struggled when Niles North knocked off Glenbrook North 48-44 in January. And in a 74-71 December loss to Glenbrook North, Nader went off for a school record 49 points. So what gives? Will GBN be patient and establish an inside game? Will Nader dominate? Past success, experience and the home court gets Glenbrook North to the sectional in a game that will go down to the wire.
New Trier over Schaumburg
Trevians glad to have missed rival Evanston on the road but can't overlook stubborn Schaumburg, a team that shocked everyone last season in the postseason and hopes to do so again as the No. 15 seed.
Fremd over Lake Forest
Fresh off an upset win over Zion-Benton, No. 13 seed Lake Forest hopes to pull off another one on the road. While it won't be easy for the host school, Zach Monaghan and the Vikings get it done.
Barrington over Deerfield
Deerfield has found a way to win eight of its last nine games and overachieved this season. But a second straight regional title is not in the cards as Barrington wins a game that will be decided in the fourth quarter.
Warren over Hersey
As expected, top-seeded Warren moves on with a win over No. 8 seed Hersey.
Mundelein over Waukegan
How big will schedule strength play in this one? Waukegan, the sectional sleeper, has played as rugged of a slate all season as anyone and will take its best shot as the No. 10 seed with the 1-2 punch of Akeem Springs and Aaron Johnson. Mundelein, however, is due for a big win and will have the home crowd.
All Class 3A regional picks will be up later today.