By Marty Maciaszek
All games 7:30 p.m. today and listed in bracket order
Class 4A regional championships
No. 1 Warren (26-3) vs. No. 8 Hersey (16-11): Did Tuesday's struggle with No. 17 Highland Park have an impact on the Blue Devils, who have won 12 in a row with a balanced attack led by 6-7 Darius Paul (11 ppg, 6 rpg)? Hersey has solid wins over Niles North and Fremd in an up-and-down second half and will need big efforts from senior PG Connor Miklasz (13 ppg) and from 6-5 Tom Sutrinaitis (11.5 ppg) and 6-2 Justin Jobski (11.5) on the boards against the taller Devils.
No. 5 Fremd (18-9) vs. No. 13 Lake Forest (13-15): Lake Forest needed a miraculous 3-pointer by Thomas Durrett to beat Lake Zurich in OT on Monday but there was nothing dramatic in a solid defensive effort to upset No. 4 Zion-Benton 47-40 on Tuesday. Underclass-dominated Scouts don't have a big-time scorer like recent years with Matt Vogrich or Mitch Hopfinger. Fremd still hasn't forgotten last year's upsetting early exit with seniors Zach Monaghan (22 ppg), 6-5 Jack Konopka and PG Quinton Brown looking to make amends with program's first regional title since 2003.
No. 2 Mundelein (27-4) vs. No. 10 Waukegan (12-12): Waukegan has faced what coach Ron Ashlaw called a "merciless" schedule in the post-Jereme Richmond era, but it still has a dynamic 1-2 punch of junior 6-3 all-state candidate Akeem Springs (20 ppg, 8 rpg) and senior guard Aaron Johnson. The Bulldogs need another big defensive effort similar to Wednesday's 49-45 win over Prospect against Mundelein's high-powered offense, led by all-state candidates in 6-8 Evansville-bound Ryan Sawvell (19 ppg, 11 rpg) and sophomore Robert Knar (20 ppg, 6 rpg, 5.4 apg). Mustangs can equal the school record for wins by the 1993-94 sectional finalist led by Kyle Kessel and claim their first regional since 2007.
No. 3 Barrington (19-10) vs. No. 11 Deerfield (17-10): Balanced Broncos rebounded from Mid-Suburban League title-game loss with solid second half Tuesday against Libertyville. Boost off the bench from senior Lukas Osmundsen helped classmates Tyler Weathered (12 ppg) and Greg Gerrard and 6-7 junior John Schneider get a shot at second straight regional title and first 20-win season since 2004. Deerfield was hit hard by graduation but its only loss in its last nine games was by 2 points to Niles North. Senior John Carney had a career-high 23 points Wednesday against Buffalo Grove.
New Trier sectional
No. 1 Notre Dame (22-6) vs. No. 8 St. Patrick (15-11): Battle of nearby East Suburban Catholic Conference rivals has Notre Dame looking to avenge a 55-51 loss to St. Patrick on Jan. 14. That sent the Dons into a 6-5 finish to the regular season but they have the dangerous duo of 6-5 Quinton Chievous (21 ppg, 9 rpg) and Rodney Pryor (16.5 ppg, 6 rpg). Shamrocks have been up and down but are formidable with Kortney Darby, Royale Ewing and 6-5 Jacob Williams.
At Glenbrook North
No. 4 Niles North (21-6) vs. No. 5 Glenbrook North (19-8): One of the state's best regional finals with the Central Suburban North co-champs. Niles North won its only regional title in its last 20-win season in 2000 and Glenbrook North looks for its third straight regional title and 14th. CSL champ Niles North 6-6 all-state candidate Abdel Nader (25 ppg, 9 rpg) scored 49 points in a 74-71 loss to the Spartans but the Vikings didn't need that many overall to win the rematch 48-44. Glenbrook North has lost six of its last 11 but has 6-7 sophomore Andrew McAuliffe to contend with inside.
No. 7 New Trier (15-11) vs. No. 15 Schaumburg (16-11): Can Schaumburg continue the postseason magic under second-year coach Matt Walsh with a repeat regional title? Seniors Javon McDonald (16 ppg) and Kurt Kempema and junior Christian Spandiary (10 ppg) were big keys in last year's sectional final run and they got a big boost in Tuesday's upset of No. 2 Evanston as sophomores Kyle Bolger and Jimmy Lundquist combined for 25 points. New Trier coach Scott Fricke said 6-7 junior all-state candidate Connor Boehm (22.5 ppg, 12 rpg) "has been a horse" and he's been helped by the return of standout G Austin Angel, a transfer from Rockford Boylan who missed much of the year from an appendectomy.
At Maine West
No. 3 Maine South (21-9) vs. No. 11 Niles West (17-11): Maine South won by 3 and 8 points over its CSL South rival but Niles West is on a six-game winning streak for second-year coach Bob Williams and Lauris Herth is back from injury to go with long-range threat Ramsan Younatham. Whether standout senior Tony Pierce will be able to play is a question for a team that hasn't had its full lineup together most of the year. Maine South returned versatile 6-7 all-state candidate Matt Palucki (20 ppg, 9 rpg) from last year's 29-win sectional champion but he has help inside from 6-5 Casey Bruce and outside from PG Tony Albano.
Class 3A regional championships
At Gordon Tech
No. 1 North Chicago (13-13) vs. No. 8 Gordon Tech (10-14): NSC Prairie co-champ North Chicago hopes its tough schedule pays off in a fourth straight regional title while Gordon Tech goes for its third straight. Junior all-state candidate Aaron Simpson (23 ppg, 6 rpg, 4 apg) leads the Warhawks; junior G David Andrews had 19 points in Gordon's 64-43 semifinal win over Lake View.
At Vernon Hills
No. 4 Vernon Hills (17-10) vs. No. 5 Grayslake Central (16-12): For NSC Prairie co-champ Vernon Hills and all-state candidate Davaris Daniels (17 ppg, 7 rpg) to win the school's first regional title in its 11-year history it will have to avenge a 56-50 loss two weeks ago to Grayslake Central. The Rams are looking for their third 3A title in four years and got a boost off the bench Wednesday from junior Savonte Williams after center C.J. Stempeck missed his third straight game because of illness.
No. 7 Fenton (10-19) vs. No. 15 Senn (6-13): Fenton and 1,000-point career scorer Dan Montano hope to make history for a program that won its only regional title in 1976. The Bison have held their last three opponents to less than 50 points. Senn overcame a 14-point deficit in the final 5:28 to upset No. 2 Grayslake North 68-66 as Quinnell Johnson had 17 points.
No. 3 Ridgewood (18-9) vs. No. 6 Lakes (9-19): Lakes has battled through injuries and the loss of two promising juniors to moves for a shot at its first regional title behind junior G Tanner Blain, who had 15 points in Wednesday's win over Roosevelt. The Eagles lost their first six and last five regular-season games but in between ended North Chicago's 43-game NSC Prairie winning streak. Ridgewood escaped Elmwood Park 67-66 on Tuesday and is led offensively by the trio of Andy Mazurczak, Pete Mroz and John Caravia.