Class 4A Oswego sectional
Who, When: Semifinals, Bolingbrook (22-5) vs. Romeoville (27-3), 6 p.m., Tuesday, and Neuqua Valley (26-3) vs. Naperville Central (25-6), 7:30 p.m. Tuesday. Final, 7:30 p.m., Thursday.
Advancement: The champion of the Oswego sectional advances to play the champion of the Trinity sectional at Monday's Hinsdale Central supersectional, 7:30 p.m.
Scouting Neuqua-Naperville Central: Two months and four days later, these two meet again -- coincidentally, on the same court. Naperville Central handed Neuqua its first loss, 48-47 in the championship of the Oswego Holiday Tournament. Victoria Trowbridge's last-second free throw was the difference, and Trowbridge's layup with 8.1 seconds left capped the Redhawks' riveting comeback from 15 down to beat Benet last Thursday. How the Redhawks navigate Neuqua's pressure and get Trowbridge touches could be key. "It's a game of contrasting styles," Redhawks coach Andy Nussbaum said. "Their strength is pressure defense, forcing turnovers, and our strength is size. We have to do what we can to diminish our turnovers and they have to do something to take away our inside game." Neuqua played most of the second half of the first Naperville Central game without starters Malia Smith and Allison Hedrick due to injury and foul trouble. The Wildcats, behind Najee Smith's 15 points, were firing on all cylinders in a 62-44 win over Metea Valley last Friday. "It's a matter of executing. They have strengths and we have strengths," said Neuqua coach Mike Williams, after his first sectional title since 2002. "I'm sure both teams are psyched to play this one."
Scouting Bolingbrook-Romeoville: This promises to be quite the District 365U slugfest. Romeoville, in the shadows of Bolingbrook for years, won its first regional title since 1989 last Friday, beating Plainfield East behind 19 points from senior Kiera Currie -- who transferred from Bolingbrook after her freshman year. Currie might be the best player on the floor in this game, but Bolingbrook counters with strength in numbers with Amarah Coleman, Aysia Bugg and Kennedy Cattenhead. Bolingbrook seeks to add to its record eight straight sectional titles.
Class 4A Bartlett sectional
Who, When: Semifinals, Wheaton Warrenville South (27-3) vs. Geneva (19-10), 6 p.m., Tuesday, and Wheaton North (22-7) vs. Schaumburg (16-13), 7:30 p.m., Tuesday. final, 7:30 p.m., Thursday.
Advancement: The champion of the Bartlett sectional advances to play the champion of the Rockford East sectional at Monday's Dundee-Crown supersectional, 7:30 p.m.
Scouting WW South-Geneva: These two are no strangers. WW South beat Geneva in last year's sectional semifinal and also won a December meeting 58-47. The Tigers' DePaul-bound junior guard Meghan Waldron scored 20 points in that game and is coming off a 27-pointer Thursday against York. Diamond Thompson had one of her best games as a Tiger in that December game with 12 points, 10 rebounds and 6 blocks and limited Geneva's Sami Pawlak to 2 points until the final minute. WW South is after its first sectional title since 1997. Geneva seems to be peaking at the right time, a seven-game win streak highlighted by a win at Neuqua. The Vikings beat St. Charles East 63-39 to win their fifth straight regional behind Pawlak's 14 points, 17 rebounds and 6 blocks and Abby Novak's 16 points. "They have four solid weapons, and I feel we're the same way," WW South coach Rob Kroehnke said. "We have to try to keep them out of the lane and limit second shots. As I told the kids, it's still about what we do."
Scouting Wheaton North-Schaumburg: Fresh off winning their first regional since 1997 in dramatic fashion at Elk Grove, the Falcons look to keep it going against upstart Schaumburg. Wheaton North can only hope that Mandy Traversa, she of the season-high 32 points last Thursday, can keep up the hot hand. No. 10 seed Schaumburg upset Proviso West in overtime, then blew out No. 2 Willowbrook 60-39 to win its first regional since 2008. Amanda Kelly scored 19 points and Jada Blackwell 17 in that game for the Saxons. Schaumburg coach Ashley Berggren played in three sectionals as a player for Barrington from 1992-94. Surely the motivation of a potential third game with WW South is there for Wheaton North, which last won a sectional title in 1986.
Class 3A Nazareth sectional
Who, When: Semifinals, Montini (31-1) vs. Westinghouse (11-15), 6 p.m., Tuesday, and Glenbard South (21-7) vs. Nazareth (18-13), 7:30 p.m., Tuesday. Final, 7:30 p.m., Thursday.
Advancement: The champion of the Nazareth sectional advances to play the champion of the Chicago Solorio sectional at Monday's Hinsdale Central supersectional, 6 p.m.
Scouting Montini-Westinghouse: It is no stretch to call this one a David vs. Goliath mismatch. Three-time defending state champ Montini has won eight straight sectional titles and won its last five sectional games by an average margin of victory of 33.4 points. The Broncos waltzed through two regional games, beating Rosary 65-23 behind Rainey Kuykendall's 10 points and Malayna Johnson's 8 points and 6 rebounds. Westinghouse, on the other hand, just won its first regional in a girls sport, upsetting Marshall and Latin in regionals. Akina Weller, a 5-foot-11 sophomore, keyed the win over Latin with 22 points and 15 rebounds and Danah Ford added 11 points. Montini's defense is allowing just 34.3 points a game. "We have to defend and rebound and limit teams to one shot. If we do that we'll be hard to score on," Montini coach Jason Nichols said. "Every team is going to give us their best shot so we can't let our guard down."
Scouting Glenbard South-Nazareth: The Raiders, back in the sectional semifinals for the fourth time in six years, seek to advance to their first sectional final under coach Julie Fonda. Glenbard South is 100 percent healthy for the first time all season and defending well, evidenced by its 43-27 lockdown of Timothy Christian in the regional final. Sydney Bauman gives Glenbard South the height advantage on Nazareth, and girls like Stefi Bazigos, who scored 11 last Thursday, gives the Raiders a speed edge. Nazareth, coached by former Waubonsie Valley coach Kim Connell, beat Aurora Central in a regional final on Kayla Freeman's buzzer-beating 3-pointer. Freeman also hit a game-winner to beat Providence for Nazareth, which lost senior Molly Alberts to a broken leg last week. Glenbard South won at Nazareth 49-45 in a regional final last year. "Hopefully, we get some baskets out of our defense," Fonda said. "We need to control the pace. It doesn't need to be super fast, but we need it to be our game."
-- Joshua Welge