Three's a crowd at Westmont.
Lisle, Immaculate Conception and Timothy Christian all are at the Class 2A Westmont boys basketball regional, part of the Lisle sectional that begins play Monday.
No. 1 seed Immaculate Conception (22-3) on Tuesday nearly beat Elgin, a No. 1 seed in Class 4A. IC coach Darren Howard seeks his third regional title and what would be IC's first boys sectional championship.
"Though I think this is our best chance ever at a really deep run in the playoffs, we're going to have to beat some very talented teams to do that," Howard said.
Before entertaining the thought of a sectional final against the likes of Providence-St. Mel, much less a Joliet Central supersectional berth against a Herscher or Seton, the challenge begins in Westmont.
Walther Lutheran (13-10) is the second seed and opens against No. 7 Christ the King. No. 3 Timothy Christian (13-13) faces No. 6 Lisle in a Tuesday quarterfinal, the winner probably facing Walther in a Wednesday semifinal.
IC gets the winner between No. 4 Westmont (15-12) and No. 5 Douglass, which was 9-2 at the time of the seeding.
"I think Immaculate Conception is a little bit better. They've had such a good season, they're the favorite for sure," said Timothy Christian coach Jack LeGrand, whose Trojans lost 67-53 to IC back on Nov. 29.
"Then after that I think anybody could beat anybody, which is pretty exciting going in."
IC beat Westmont 71-64 in the championship of the IC/Westmont holiday tournament and has a 67-47 win over Walther Lutheran to its credit. The Knights, who won the Suburban Christian Conference Gold Division for their first conference title since 1967, end the regular season Friday against Walther.
Lisle (11-17) took a 60-48 loss to IC on Jan. 11. The Lions have losses to Timothy and Walther as well but beat Westmont 40-33.
Lions coach Mark LaScala believes this is the strongest regional in the sectional complex. One bit of evidence he presents is Westmont's 62-49 win Saturday over Latin, a No. 1 seed at the Holy Trinity regional. Another is Westmont's win over 23-1 Herscher, another No. 1 seed, at the Interstate Eight Conference tournament in January.
"I think that's a pretty good indication for how deep the regional is," LaScala said. "For somebody to come in off a conference tournament and beat Herscher and be the No. 4 seed is a pretty good indication."
Last week the IHSA announced the seeds and pairings for the Class 3A and 4A playoffs.
In the 4A East Aurora sectional, featuring 11 DuPage County teams, top-four seeds Metea Valley and Downers Grove South each host regionals. Top-seeded Plainfield East heads to Oswego, and No. 4 West Aurora is bound for Neuqua Valley.
While No. 2 Downers South and No. 3 Metea Valley enjoy a huge advantage by playing at home in the regional, neither team is taking it for granted.
"In this area you're always going to have this sectional, and it's always going to be a challenge," said Metea Valley coach Bob Vozza. "If you're looking ahead, you're in trouble."
At the Class 4A Schaumburg sectional, which also feeds into the Hinsdale Central supersectional, unbeaten and top-seeded Proviso East hosts a regional. Second-seeded Oak Park heads to Lyons Twp., No. 3 Schaumburg is at Glenbard West and No. 4 York plays in the Lake Park regional.
Glenbard South gets the honor of hosting a 3A sectional, but the Raiders have to survive the Nazareth regional, anchored by No. 3 Farragut, to play at home. Top-seeded Orr is at Wheaton Academy, while No. 2 Marshall and No. 4 Riverside-Brookfield both host regionals.
Spreading the wealth:
From the outside it may look like Naperville North -- with no superstars -- is a surprise contender for the DuPage Valley Conference title. A Friday win over West Aurora, however, nets the Huskies at least a share of the crown.
How did they get to this point? With absolutely amazing balance.
Seven players have led the Huskies in scoring: Mike Keane, David Sinickas, Matt Stacho, Chris Mullen, Max Lewis, Anthony Rehayem and Derek Westman.
No one player averages double-figure scoring.
"It just shows what can happen when you have balance," said Naperville North coach Jeff Powers. "I think a lot of people thought there'd be parity in the DVC, but I don't think people thought we'd be part of that parity."
Beyond the DVC the Huskies make for an interesting fourth seed at the East Aurora sectional. Not that Naperville North is looking that far ahead, though.
"The most important game is Friday, and that's the attitude we've had all season," Powers said.
Last week Glenbard West senior Michael Mache became the program's all-time leading scorer, vaulting past current Northwestern standout John Shurna. Mache, a 6-foot-6 four-year varsity player, stands at 1,278 points heading into the weekend. That's 44 points more than Shurna's mark of 1,234 points.
Mired in a streak of eight losses in nine games, Glenbard East needed a spark. The Rams responded with last week's signature win at West Aurora, a game that knocked the Blackhawks out of a tie for first place in the DuPage Valley Conference.
"We're definitely on the right track," said Rams coach Scott Miller. "We're starting to get it a little bit."
Glenbard East, even with a follow-up loss to Naperville North, has bounced back thanks in part to a key move. Miller shifted junior Tahron Harvey to the point guard spot the last four games, and he's responded well.
Harvey, who had no previous point guard experience at the high school level, has averaged 13 points and 7 assists against only 1.3 turnovers. A bigger player at 6-foot-1, Harvey brings a physical presence to the position.
Combined with the return of senior guard Pat Walsh from a concussion, the Rams hope they'll continue to surge into the playoffs.
"It's really helped us solidify our lineup," Miller said.