Scouting girls basketball sectionals / Northwest
What: Palatine Class 4A sectional
When: Monday (semifinals) at 6 p.m. and 8:10 p.m.; Thursday (championship) at 7:30 p.m.
Semifinals: 6 p.m.: No. 4 Stevenson (23-7) vs. No. 8 Zion-Benton (20-8); 8:10 p.m.: No. 6 Warren (21-8) vs. No. 14 Wheeling (13-18)
Stevenson vs. Zion-Benton: This one features two Hall of Fame coaches. Stevenson's Tom Dineen won a Class AA state title with Buffalo Grove in 2000 while Zion's Tanya Johnson claimed Class AA state crowns with Loyola in 1997 and 1998. Dineen's Patriots were 52-34 winners over host school Lake Zurich in the regional final. The victory gave Dineen his 26th regional title but first in his three years at Stevenson. The Patriots' Olivia Whalen, Kari Moffat, Katie Batman and Alex Elzinga have been with Dineen all three of his years in Lincolnshire. Whalen scored 17 of her career-high 21 points in the first half against Lake Zurich. Zion-Benton was second in the Class 4A state tourney to Bolingbrook a year ago. Illinois State-bound Octavia Crump is coming off a career-26 points (and 14 rebounds) in the Zee-Bees' 66-49 win over top-seeded Fremd in the Hersey regional final.
Warren vs. Wheeling: Two of the hottest teams in the area face off in the nightcap. Wheeling coach Julissa Hernandez' Wildcats have gone 12-4 since starting the season 1-14 and they have won seven of their last eight games. The Wildcats are one of the few, if not only, teams to win a girls basketball regional as a play-in entry. They have defeated No. 19 Round Lake (50-14), No. 3. Libertyville (56-51) and No. 7 Prospect (58-32). Seniors Kellie Kuzmanic and Leah Malsom (20 points against Prospect) have helped lead the way while freshman point guard Deanna Kuzmanic plays a key role directing the offense. The Wildcats are making their ninth appearance in a sectional, and first since 2009 when they finished third in the state finals. They finished 5-5 and tied with Hersey for third place in the Mid-Suburban East. Wheeling is the only team from the MSL (12 teams) still playing in the state tourney. Warren, which defeated Wheeling 49-35 in its own Christmas tournament, is 16-2 in its last 18 games. The Blue Devils upset No. 2 Rolling Meadows 50-39 in their own regional final. A balanced offensive attack, strong inside play led by senior center Jessica Prince, and some hot outside shooting helped the Blue Devils to their sixth regional crown under coach John Stancykiewicz and 18th in school history. It was Warren's first regional title since Miss Basketball Sarah Boothe was a senior four years ago in 2008. Warren senior guard Alexis Leneau scored a game-high 19 points, including 3 3-pointers.
Advancement: Stevenson supersectional vs. the winner of the New Trier sectional on Tuesday, Feb. 27 at 7:30 p.m.
Area 4A sectionals
Where: Hoffman Estates High School
When: Monday (semifinals) and Thursday (championship)
Semifinals: No. 1 Bartlett (28-1) vs. No. 5 West Chicago (16-12), 6 p.m.; No. 3 Wheaton-Warrenville South (27-3) vs. No. 2 Geneva (24-5), 8:10 p.m.
Advancement: Elgin supersectional vs. champion of the McHenry sectional on Tuesday, Feb. 27, 8:10 p.m.
Area 3A sectionals
Where: St. Viator High School
When: Tuesday (semifinals) and Thursday (championship)
Semifinals: No. 1 Grayslake Central (25-5) vs. No. 4 Grayslake North (20-8), 6 p.m.; No. 2 Vernon Hills (23-5) vs. No. 3 Carmel (18-12)
Advancement: Elgin supersectional vs. champion of the Sycamore sectional on Tuesday, Feb. 6 p.m.