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In order for St. Viator to make it farther than it did last season, the Lions will have to do two things against Zion Benton: rebound and contain Milik Yarbrough.
When No. 3 seed St. Viator (20-8) meets No. 2 seed Zion-Benton (25-5) at 7:30 p.m. tonight in the Class 4A Waukegan sectional semifinal, the Lions will be aiming to reach their second sectional final in school history.
But they won't do it without keeping the 6-foot-6 Yarbrough and others like 6-foot-9 Chris Moragne and 6-foot-2 Trenton Curry off the glass.
"If we want our season to move on, it's going to come down to the job we do on the glass," said St. Viator coach Mike Howland. "Sometimes, their best offense is putting a shot up and going to get it. They have a bunch of guys that work hard down there to rebound the basketball, so we have to do a good job of boxing out."
The Lions have plenty of able-bodied big men such as senior Hugh Masterson and junior Tom Martin. Junior star Ore Arogundade will also have to be active on the glass, as he has been all season in averaging 7.1 rebounds.
Yarbrough, who along with Arogundade was recently announced as a finalist for Illinois Mr. Basketball award, averages 22.8 points, 9.8 rebounds and 3.2 assists.
Howland said 6-foot-1 senior Kevin Hammarlund, who has routinely matched up with the opponent's top scorer, will start on Yarbrough but that the Lions plan on giving the Zee-Bees' star junior plenty of different looks.
"He's going to score -- we know that," Howland said. "We just want to make him work for it."
The best way for St. Viator to reach Friday's sectional final against No. 1 Stevenson, a 78-68 winner over No. 5 Mundelein on Wednesday, is for the Lions to continue an up-tempo attack that netted 31 fourth quarter points in the Lions' 65-53 victory over Warren in last Friday's regional final.
And that means Arogundade (19.3 ppg) attacking the basket and opening things up for Patrick Martin (9.7 ppg, 47 3's) and Hammarlund (9.7 ppg) on the outside.
"We believe we can't slow down against anybody," Howland said. "Like in the Warren game, when we get out in transition, we're really good."
Howland is hopeful that starting point guard Mark Falotico (10.5 ppg) will return to the lineup after sustaining a concussion in a loss to Mundelein on Feb. 17. The sophomore began practicing again on Monday but regardless of his status, senior Mayo Arogundade will get his fourth consecutive start.
Finally healthy after a groin injury nagged him for most of the season, Mayo Arogundade has been invaluable to the Lions. Last season he replaced an injured D.J. Morris in the starting lineup during the regional, and he performed admirably on the defensive end against Warren.
"He really gets us going on the defensive end," Howland said. "He's doing a great job of distributing the ball and getting everyone shots. With more minutes, his leadership level has gone to another level, as well. It's been fun to see it pay off for him in the end."
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