Large-school playoff seedings and pairings were released last week, with few surprises.
In Class 4A Bolingbrook is the top seed in the Neuqua Valley sectional followed by Benet, Waubonsie Valley and Neuqua Valley. That sectional, laughably, feeds into a supersectional that includes Whitney Young and Trinity. That's right, three of the state's best teams in one supersectional.
At the 4A Hoffman Estates sectional Bartlett received the No. 1 seed, followed by Geneva and Wheaton Warrenville South. And at the 3A Glenbard South sectional Montini is the No. 1 seed, followed by St. Joseph, Glenbard South and Riverside-Brookfield.
But the seeds and pairings weren't without some controversy.
One area school's coach was furious at being seeded behind a conference school that his team swept head-to-head. Somewhat similarly, St. Joseph is seeded behind Montini despite winning the head-to-head matchup.
Many coaches don't care for the online seeding process the IHSA instituted in recent years.
A common complaint is that some coaches look strictly at won/loss record without probing deeper to examine a team's strength of schedule, or the results of head-to-head matchups.
"I definitely think they need to go back to the face-to-face (seeding meetings)," Glenbard South coach Julie Fonda said. "That's the only way people are going to be held accountable."
Naperville Central coach Andy Nussbaum proposes the IHSA going to a football-like points system in seeding its basketball playoffs.
Teams would be awarded a certain number of points for each of their wins, and also a number of points for each of their opponents' wins, divided by the number of games played.
This would objectively take into account strength of schedule.
"That gives you a number that nobody can argue with," Nussbaum said. "It leans toward your record, but it also factors in the number of wins of your opponents.
"Everybody, at least everybody in the coaching fraternity, just wants a system that is fair."
Metro Suburban in stretch run:
The Metro Suburban Conference race is still up for grabs -- and a round-robin of key games will ultimately decide it.
Conference leader Timothy Christian (16-7, 9-1) visits Glenbard South (14-8, 8-1) tonight, then hosts 2-loss Riverside-Brookfield on Thursday. Next Friday Glenbard South hosts R-B.
Timothy Christian's last conference title came in 2005, when the Trojans were still a member of the Private School League.
Needless to say, they wish to add a Metro Suburban crown to that.
"Our girls are excited -- they know that this is a big week and are looking forward to this week," Trojans coach Ryan DeKoekkoek said. "We know our fate is in our hands. It's nice to control our own destiny."
Glenbard South went through the conference unbeaten last year, its first in the league. A very young Raiders team lost at Timothy Christian 44-32 in this year's conference opener, but that was way back on Dec. 2.
"It's a season ago, essentially," Fonda said. "Us being so young, in my opinion we are a completely different team offensively and we've filled the gaps defensively. We've grown up a little bit, that's the best way to put it."
Glenbard South will be tested by a stingy Timothy Christian defense giving up right around 35 points per game, best in the area. Not only that, Trojans senior Cassidy Block has been on a tear of late, scoring 20.5 points per game over Timothy Christian's last six.
"She's playing at another level right now," DeKoekkoek said. "As a coach it's been fun to watch."
Money from the charity stripe:
Fans at Naperville Central Saturday witnessed a rare site -- an Emma Donahue missed free throw.
The Redhawks senior, shooting well over 80 percent from the line on the year, made her first 27 free throws of January over eight-plus games until a fourth-quarter miss Saturday. Naperville Central beat Glenbard North to improve to 8-1 this month.
"It's amazing for anybody to make that many in a row," Nussbaum said. "Usually you'd think of great free-throw shooting coming from a guard. She just has amazing touch, is very consistent and is very dependable. Emma's free-throw shooting is a major ingredient for our ability to finish games."
The few, the proud, the Mustangs:
Metea Valley's 12-11 record, buoyed by a recent four-game win streak, is a nice improvement in its second varsity season after going 7-22 in the maiden voyage.
That only tells half the story.
The Mustangs, which start just one senior, are doing it while dressing just eight varsity players. When Metea needs to go 5-on-5 during practice, Mustangs coach Kris Kalivas admitted that coaches get in on the action.
"Conditioning is the biggest thing," Kalivas said, "and we haven't necessarily taken it easy on them. At the same time it's helped us transfer to games."
Kalivas thinks it's made the girls closer as a group.
"They know they have a role to fill, they're accepting of that role and are there for each other," Kalivas said. "I think it has helped them bond and they have grown. They've had to overcome obstacles and challenges together."
Pink Out at Metea:
Metea Valley will be hosting its first Pink Out game on Saturday at 6 p.m. against Hinsdale Central. Pink T-shirts will be sold at the door, with proceeds going toward the Making Strides Foundation, an organization dedicated to the fight against breast cancer.
"We did Free Throws for Hope last year," Kalivas said. "It's kind of helping the kids realize that they can make a difference and help others out. A lot of them have been touched by cancer. When it was suggested they were happy to help out."
For more information about the event contact Kris Kalivas at (630) 375-5900, ext. 4330.
Fremd, Meadows going to Montini:
Montini's Christmas Tournament, which is expanding to 16 teams in a bracketed format starting next year, just got two big additions.
Fremd and Rolling Meadows, the top two teams in the Mid Suburban League and currently ranked fifth and eighth, respectively, in the latest Daily Herald Top 20 have committed to next year's event in Lombard.
Montini still has space for one more team.