By Joe Henricksen

Survival for a few; others not so lucky

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By Joe Henricksen


Ask any coach, even those seeded near the top of a sectional, and they will tell you that first game on Tuesday night is a scary proposition. Typically the higher-seeded team is playing an opponent that has a game under its belt from winning the play-in game on Monday night. Often times it's a higher-seeded team having to beat an opponent for the second or third time this season. And guess which team comes out a little tight?

No one could have expected Downers Grove South to have its hands full against Glenbard North last night in the West Aurora Regional. The Mustangs, the No. 2 seed in the East Aurora Sectional, rolled in with 16 straight victories and played the No. 18 seed, a team it had beaten 78-63 in mid-January. But Downers Grove South was down in the fourth quarter and had to scratch and claw to pull out a 54-51 win.

And how about Glenbard East? The Rams had rolled through the DuPage Valley Conference the past two seasons, going 28-0 in claiming two conference titles. Glenbard East squared off with DVC foe Naperville Central in the regional semis. A month ago Glenbard East beat Naperville Central 84-66; last night Naperville Central led by one with less than a minute to play before Johnny Hill (34 points) led the highly-regarded Rams to a 69-64 win.

Elgin should have known it would have its hands full, even if it was a 9-18 Streamwood team it was facing Tuesday night. The Maroons, the No. 1 seed in the Larkin Regional, were stunned by Streamwood in the regular-season finale, losing 54-52. The two were in another dogfight in the regional semis, but Elgin survived and advanced to the regional final with a 60-58 win.

After capturing the Central Suburban League title last week and winning 13 of its last 14 games, Niles North was soaring into regional play. But 16 minutes into their regional semifinal game, the Vikings were down six to a Lake Park team that closed out the final 13 games of the regular season with a 3-10 record. Despite star Abdel Nader fouling out midway through the fourth quarter, Niles North managed its way to a hard-fought 57-51 win.

There was 16th-seed Shepard giving top-seeded Thornton a run in the Lincoln-Way North Regional. Thornton prevailed and moved on with a 63-58 victory. Warren, who everyone is projecting to reach Peoria, didn't exactly have its way with Highland Park, winning 52-42.

Others weren't so lucky ...

Evanston, which scuffled down the stretch but was the No. 2 seed in the New Trier Sectional, fell victim to Schaumburg. Coach Matt Walsh and his Saxons are back up to their old tricks as a Cinderella story. A year ago Schaumburg reached the sectional final as the No. 13 seed. This year the Saxons are heading to a regional final as a No. 15 seed.

Zion-Benton beat Lake Forest twice during the regular season, winning 52-47 in early January and 67-56 Feb. 9. But unlike Downers Grove South, Glenbard East and Elgin, Zion-Benton wasn't as fortunate. The Zee-Bees, seeded fourth in the Barrington Sectional, are done after falling to No. 13 seed Lake Forest 47-40 in the regional semis Tuesday night.

And downstate, in what was without question the most difficult regional semifinal in the state of Illinois, heavyweights O'Fallon and East St. Louis Sr. collided. O'Fallon, picked by the Hoops Report and many others to advance to Peoria later this month, lost 81-79. O'Fallon has now lost to East St. Louis three times this season -- by a combined total of five points.

Lincoln, another team expected to make a serious run in March and playing the regional on its home floor, fell to Morton 48-39. Although it was very early in the season, Lincoln beat Morton 80-52 in Thanksgiving Tournament play.

Did Normal U-High really score just 15 points in its regional semifinal, losing 50-15 to Washington?

And did Morgan Park really win by 75!

What does all this mean? We get to do it all over again tonight.

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I love Morgan Park. But to beat someone by 75 points shows no class. You have to respect teams. My opinion of their coach dropped like a rock. Win by 20, maybe 25. But call off the dogs after that. No need to embarrass kids who've worked hard all season and may not have the talent you do. What goes around comes around at some point.

Big Fan it's the playoffs there's no calling off the dogs. Evanston a #2 seed didn't have that chance and lost it's first game. I saw it coming two weeks ago when they lost to a 6-16 at the time St Joseph at home. They just never showed any spark down the stretch at the end of the year. Playoffs is not for the weary.

How do you know he didn't call off the dogs?
Maybe the second unit was on as well, what is he going to do, tell them not to shoot the ball!
Upset of the night, Rich South loses in overtime to Corliss!

dont you worry Harlan will show the city against Morgan Park we are ready for primetime. we wont get smoked liked that(75 points). mark my words!

Harlan better be ready or the party is over, and it is on to the Rich South Sectional for the winner!
The Rich South Sectional will be sold-out every night!

Come on Phil, unless they were playing a bad ymca team that were all blind, something was a miss. You can still play defense without pressing, just putting your hands up and learning how to use your feet instead of your hands. It's a good live defensive drill and you don't embarrass anyone. I still say no class on that 75 point victory. Win by 25 or 30 sends a good message if that's the purpose. Like no one knows Morgan Park is good?

Let the kids play they may be seniors and it may be their last game.

Crete won by 42, (107-65) against Eisenhower but the coach began substitutions at around 6:00 in the fourth. Also Morgan Park's star Blakeshear did not play the whole 4th quarter due to a small injury so the coach did call off the dogs.

Taking out Wayne is not calling off the dogs. That's one player. And it also has to do with how you play. Are you going to keep trapping, ball hounding, etc.? put in the 3rd string and stop trying to get steals. I guess I'm having a hard time explaining what class on the basketball court is about.

BigFans thinking is why we have a world of wusses at the moment. Life doesn't stop pounding you when you are down. I think it's a good life lesson for Julian. Too many teams don't step on opponents necks and keep them down. This is the reason our kids have no killer instinct anymore. And yes as a coach I have been on the wrong end of blowouts. I told the opposing coach don't worry about running up the score. Why? Because maybe my kids will listen in practice when I am telling them something. And it will make them motiviated to come out and play better the next time. What a novel concept huh BigFan?

When the ship sinks, the ship sinks, and the score gets out of control, don't worry, you won't see anymore scores like that from now on, now it is really Championship Time, so no need to get new clocks, the scores will reflect why these team's have moved on to Regional Final games!
The winner of the Rich South Sectional will win the Class 3A Championship!

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This page contains a single entry by Joe Henricksen published on March 2, 2011 8:09 AM.

The secret weapons was the previous entry in this blog.

Who will win 4A regional titles? is the next entry in this blog.

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