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Class 4A Elgin supersectional
The matchup: Bartlett (30-1) vs. DeKalb (28-4)
When: Monday, 8 p.m., Chesbrough Field House
How they got here: Bartlett defeated Glenbard West 63-25 and Schaumburg 58-40 in the Bartlett regional then downed West Chicago 52-46 and Wheaton Warrenville South 54-51 in overtime to win the Hoffman Estates sectional. DeKalb defeated Jefferson 69-28 and Huntley 55-40 to win the DeKalb regional, then toppled Hononegah 53-50 and Cary-Grove 31-29 to win the McHenry sectional.
Outlook: No. 1 Bartlett has one final obstacle in front of it on the way to what the Hawks hope is their first trip to Redbird Arena and the state finals since the second-place finish of 2005. Meanwhile, DeKalb is in new territory after winning its first regional and sectional since 2006, the year the Barbs lost to Maine South 40-34 in the supersectional.
The teams have common opponents. DeKalb lost to Benet twice; Bartlett beat Benet soundly at Thanksgiving. The Barbs, champs of the Big 12 East, lost to Waubonsie Valley 36-28. Bartlett split with Waubonsie as the two shared the Upstate Eight Valley title. They each also played Huntley, winning by similar margins and scores. Bartlett beat Huntley 54-41 to open the season and DeKalb downed Huntley 55-40 in the regional final. The Barbs did struggle to beat Huntley, though, 37-36 at Christmas. Another common opponent is Glenbard West, which DeKalb struggled to beat 30-26 but Bartlett ran away with 64-25 in the regional opener.
If there's one thing the Barbs can match Bartlett in, at least with two players, it's size. DeKalb sisters Emily and Courtney Bemis are 6-foot-1 and 6-2, respectively, but they don't have gaudy numbers. Emily Bemis, a senior, averages 8 points and 6 rebounds per game, while Courtney, a sophomore, is at 5 ppg and 5 rpg per game.
"They've got some decent-sized players and we'll have to work hard to keep them off the boards," said Bartlett coach Denise Sarna. Rebounding is a strength of their team and it will be a big factor in this game."
The Barbs also trot out 5-8 senior Taylor White, who averages 12 points per game and has 92 3-pointers, and 5-7 junior guard Rachel Torres (5.0 ppg, 4.0 apg, 11.7 rpg). Their fifth starter is 5-4 junior Courtney Patrick (5 ppg, 3 spg).
"They're a good defensive team," said Sarna of a DeKalb bunch that has allowed only 38 points per game this season. "We'll have to protect the ball and make solid passes. They have a nice well-rounded team with a little bit of everything. Hopefully we'll be able to match up with them and take away their offensive threats. We're ready to go."
The Hawks have fashioned their 30-1 season behind solid defense and the 1-2 scoring punch of 6-foot seniors Haley Videckis (Indiana signee, 18.4 ppg, 6.0 rpg, 70 3-pointers) and Kristin Conniff (15.0 ppg, 4.6 rpg, 50 3-pointers), who are approaching a combined 2,500 career points. But one of the keys to the Hawks' success has been their 7-deep balance with senior starters Lisa Palmer (8.1 ppg, 6.2 rpg), Katie Gutzwiller (6.2 ppg, 3.6 rpg) and Janessa Baker (5.6 ppg, 3.9 apg) all playing important roles, as well as senior reserves Ashley Johnson (5.5 ppg) and Nicole Gobbo (2.0 apg).
"They're good," deadpanned DeKalb coach Ben Bates of Bartlett. "They play fast, they're long, they're active and they're disciplined. They've been in these big games before and the Upstate Eight has battle-tested them. They get after it and I'm sure they'll look to trap us and forces us into some bad passes."
Bates says it took until well after Christmas for his team to get 100 percent healthy.
"We've faced a lot of adversity with a lot of injuries this year," he said. "Our motto has just been to survive and advance. We've got a very unselfish team. Any one of eight kids can lead us in scoring on a given night. We don't miss a beat when one of our kids has an off night."
While Bates knows that on paper his team is an underdog, he's taking the politically correct approach with his words.
"We're both 4-0 right now," he said. "Nothing else matters. We want to compete at a high level and have a chance to win in the fourth quarter. If the officials let us play it could favor us. We're a very physical hard-nosed team. But we'll have to stop their transition game. Haley and Kristin can shoot the heck out of it so we'll have to make them work every possession."
Advancement: The winner plays the Hinsdale Central supersectional winner, either Bolingbrook or Whitney Young, in the 6:30 p.m. state semifinal on Friday at Redbird Arena.