Regional sites: St. Charles North, Crystal Lake Central, Boylan Catholic, Belvidere North
Top seeds: Larkin, Boylan Catholic, Cary-Grove, Huntley
St. Charles North regionalPairings: Monday -- Game 1: No. 4 South Elgin (14-14) vs. No 5 Elgin (10-16), 6 p.m.; Game 2 -- No. 3 St. Charles East (16-11) vs. No. 6 Streamwood (2-17), 8 p.m.; Tuesday -- Game 3: No. 1 Larkin (23-4) vs. Winner Game 1, 7 p.m.; Wednesday -- Game 4: No. 2 St. Charles North (16-9) vs. Winner Game 2, 7 p.m.; Friday -- Championship game: Winner Game 3 vs. Winner Game 4, 7 p.m.
Outlook: Larkin's 9-game winning streak was snapped Friday by Neuqua Valley, but the Royals remain the team to beat in this regional if not the sectional. Larkin is 10-0 against the five teams in this regional, having swept each. The action begins Monday with a play-in game between Elgin and South Elgin, teams that mirror each other's moments of brilliance dotted within otherwise inconsistent play. "Elgin is really similar to us from the standpoint of ups and downs," South Elgin coach Matt Petersen said. "When they bring it and turn on the pressure, I've seen them be really good. They only have (10) wins, but they are a dangerous team." South Elgin enters the playoffs with a bit of momentum after a midseason lull. The Storm have won 3 of their last 4 following a stretch of 7 losses in 8 games. South Elgin averaged 80 points in the 3 recent victories. "They are a very athletic team and can score in bunches," Elgin coach Mike Sitter said. "So can we. The first team to hit triple digits wins." Larkin defeated South Elgin by 27 in December but by only 2 points on Feb. 4. Elgin lost to the rival Royals 71-67 in December and 59-56 in February. "Both of those teams played us close," Larkin coach Deryn Carter said. "I think what has to be an advantage to us is they've both zoned us in the past and they are both guard-oriented. Whether we are preparing for the Storm or the Maroons doesn't really matter. We just have to get our guys in the same mentality offensively and defensively. To be honest, we started doing that two weeks ago." St. Charles East has won 4 straight. Leading scorer Dom Adduci (20 ppg) is expected to play Monday against Streamwood. He sprained an ankle on Feb. 21 against Elgin. The Saints defeated the Sabres twice by an average of 31 points. St. Charles North enters the playoffs on a 2-game slide but should benefit from homecourt advantage. The North Stars split 2 meetings with the rival Saints, winning by 10 and losing by 25.
Crystal Lake Central regionalPairings: Monday -- Game 1: No. 4 Crystal Lake South (15-12) vs. No. 5 Dundee-Crown (8-17), 6 p.m.; Game 2: No. 3 Jacobs (15-13) vs. No. 6 Crystal Lake Central (3-24), 8 p.m.; Tuesday -- No. 1 Cary-Grove (15-12) vs. Winner Game 1, 6 p.m.; No. 2 Prairie Ridge (17-10) vs. Winner Game 2, 8 p.m.; Friday -- Championship game: Winner Game 3 vs. Winner Game 4, 7 p.m.
Outlook: Scouting isn't a problem in this regional considering every participant hails from the Fox Valley Conference (5 from the Valley Division). "A lot of familiarity," Jacobs coach Jimmy Roberts said. "Everybody knows each other extremely well. We're looking forward to it. It's been a long, long, long season and this is the time that's really exciting. This is what you play for." Jacobs is playing well entering the playoffs, having won 4 of 5, a stretch that included road wins against Crystal Lake South, Cary-Grove, Dundee-Crown and Hampshire. The Golden Eagles are led by 6-foot-1 junior guard Chrishawn Orange, who averages 15.8 points, 3.3 rebounds and 2.5 assists. If Jacobs defeats the host Tigers on Monday, it would face a rematch against Prairie Ridge, which split 2 meetings with the Golden Eagles. The most dangerous scorer in this regional is Cary-Grove junior Jason Gregoire, who averages 18.4 points, 5.8 rebounds and 2.2 assists per game. His top-seeded Trojans have gone 5-4 against teams in this regional, but C-G enters the playoffs on the heels of 3 straight losses. Dundee-Crown defeated Crystal Lake South by 7 points on Feb. 11.
Belvidere North regionalPairings: Monday -- Game 1: No. 4 DeKalb (12-17) vs. No. 5 Belvidere North (9-20), 7 p.m.; Tuesday -- Game 2: No. 1 Huntley (19-7) vs. Winner Game 1, 6 p.m.; Game 3: No. 2 Rockford Jefferson (17-12) vs. No. 3 Rockford East (13-13), 8 p.m.; Friday -- Championship game: Winner Game 2 vs. Winner Game 3, 7 p.m.
Outlook: It's good to be the No. 1 seed aside from one aspect: not knowing which team to prepare for in the playoff opener. Top seed Huntley won't know if its Tuesday opponent is DeKalb or Belvidere North until that play-in game concludes Monday night. Belvidere North defeated DeKalb 54-43 on Feb. 18 and enters the playoffs invigorated by an upset at 16-win Hononegah on Friday. "It'll be interesting because it's on their home floor so I'm sure they'll be fired up if that's who we play," Huntley coach Marty Manning said of the Blue Thunder. The regional field includes the same five teams as a year ago, including Rockford East, which defeated Huntley last season 53-43 in a regional semifinal. If seeds hold, those teams would square off again, this time for a regional title. Huntley is led by four-year letterman Amanze Egekeze. The 6-foot-8 forward entered Friday's 55-45 win at Grayslake Central averaging 18.2 points, 7.7 rebounds and 1.5 assists to go with 66 blocked shots and 26 steals. He gets support from Zach Gorney (10.9 ppg, 4 rpg) and Riley Wicks (7.3 ppg).
Rockford Boylan Catholic regionalPairings: Monday -- Game 1: No. 4 Rockford Guilford (7-19) vs. No. 5 Machesney Park Harlem (9-21), 7 p.m.; Tuesday -- Game 2: No. 1 Boylan Catholic (19-7) vs. Winner Game 1, 7 p.m.; Wednesday -- Game 3: No. 2 Rockford Auburn (24-5) vs. No. 3 Rockton Hononegah (16-12), 7 p.m.; Friday -- Championship game: Winner Game 2 vs. Winner Game 3, 7 p.m.
Outlook: Auburn established itself as the team to beat on Friday by blowing out visiting Boylan 78-48. Hononegah finished in third place behind those NIC-10 front-runners, but the Indians closed the regular season on a sour note Friday with a 53-37 loss to Belvidere North.
Advancement: The Boylan regional winner will face the Belvidere North regional winner in an Elgin sectional semifinal on Tuesday, March 11 at 7 p.m. The St. Charles North winner will face the Crystal Lake Central winner in the second semifinal on Wednesday, March 12 at 7 p.m. The winners play for the sectional championship on Friday, March 14 at 7 p.m.
Regional sites: Addison Trail, Morton, Leyden, Elk Grove
Top seeds: York, Morton, Oak Park-River Forest, Proviso East
Morton regionalPairings: Monday -- Game 1: No. 13 Glenbard West (13-13) vs. No. 20 Proviso West (12-12), 6 p.m.; Game 2: No. 12 Bartlett (14-14) vs. No. 21 Glenbard East (5-21), 8 p.m.; Tuesday -- Game 3: Morton (19-5) vs. Winner Game 1, 6 p.m.; Game 4: No. 5 Conant (21-5) vs. Winner Game 2, 8 p.m.; Friday -- Championship game: Winner Game 3 vs. Winner Game 4, 7 p.m.
Outlook: Bartlett has been competitive with every team they've faced lately but the results haven't been there. The Hawks enter the playoffs having lost 4 straight games and 7 of 8. "Certainly, the slide we've been on here in the second half of the year is not conducive to good postseason basketball," Bartlett coach Jim Wolfsmith said. "But, hey, everybody is 0-0 right now. If we get a good game in and get that vibe back, you never know what happens." Junior guard Ryan DiCanio (6-foot-2) is averaging 16 points per game in his last 4 outings. The Hawks will face future Upstate Eight Conference opponent Glenbard East, which finished last in the eight-team DuPage Valley Conference. Bartlett remains nevertheless. "Glenbard East is really athletic and they get after it on defense," Wolfsmith said. "They are really well coached. I guarantee they'll have the same kind of game plan that Elgin did (in the Maroons' 55-53 win on Thursday); zone, attack, trap and try to take our shooters out of their comfort zone with their athleticism and size. We have our work cut out for us." Bartlett would draw Conant in a regional semifinal. The Cougars have won 14 of 15.
Advancement: The Addison Trail regional winner will face the Morton regional winner in a Bartlett sectional semifinal on Tuesday, March 11 at 7 p.m. The Elk Grove Village regional winner will face the Leyden regional winner in the second semifinal on Wednesday, March 12 at 7 p.m. The winners play for the sectional championship on Friday, March 14 at 7 p.m.
Regional sites: Kaneland, Freeport, Woodstock, Genoa-Kingston
Top seeds: Kaneland, Rockford Lutheran, Marengo, Sycamore
Woodstock regionalPairings: Monday -- Game 1: No. No. 4 Woodstock (13-14) vs. No. 5 Woodstock North (6-21), 6 p.m.; Game 2: No. 3 Marian Central (17-15) s. No. 6 Harvard (11-18), 8 p.m.; Tuesday -- No. 1 Marengo (19-10) vs. Winner Game 1, 6 p.m.; Game 4: No. 2 Hampshire (13-14) vs. Winner Game 2, 8 p.m.; Friday -- Championship game: Winner Game 3 vs. Winner Game 4, 7 p.m.
Outlook: If seeds hold, Hampshire will play some familiar faces in the title game. Top seed Marengo is coached by Will Benson and assisted by Ben Whitehouse. Both are former assistants to Hampshire coach Bob Barnett. "Marengo is playing real well," Barnett said. "I can't remember the last time Marengo had that many wins. They have three bigs, a good guard and my old assistant coach (Whitehouse), who knows everything we do. But I think there are four teams who could win it." The Whip-Purs will play the winner of Marian Central and Harvard in a regional semifinal. They faced neither during the season. "Marian Central has (sophomore Adam Pischke). He popped for 41 points in a game recently," Barnett said. "And (junior guard Wyatt Lindell) is a good shooter. They have good size. We'll have to play well." Led by senior guard Ryan Cork (15.8 ppg, 6 apg), Hampshire has won 10 of 16 since a 3-8 start. "
Genoa-Kingston regionalPairings: Monday -- Game 1: No. No. 4 Genoa-Kingston (14-9) vs. No. 5 Montini (10-15), 7 p.m.; Tuesday -- Game 2: No. 1 Sycamore (20-7) vs. Winner Game 1, 7 p.m.; Wednesday -- No. 2 Wheaton Academy (19-8) vs. No. 3 Burlington Central (18-8), 7 p.m.; Friday -- Championship game: Winner Game 2 vs. Winner Game 3, 7 p.m.
Outlook: Burlington Central's preassigned regional draw is a tough one. This regional features three teams with 18 or more wins, including Central's semifinal opponent, Wheaton Academy, which won the Blue Division of the Suburban Christian Conference with a 10-0 record. "We have four teams in our regional with over 70 combined wins," Central coach Brett Porto said. "Some regionals would have trouble getting to 70 wins with six teams. Whoever puts 2 good games together is the team that's going to walk out of there. We're excited. This is what we play for." If the Rockets are able to advance to the title game, they would likely face Sycamore. The teams split 2 meetings during the regular season, though the Spartans handled Central 64-49 on Rocket Hill on Jan. 21. Senior guard Reed Hunnicutt Friday's regular-season finale leading the Rockets with 12 points, 5.7 rebounds and 2.1 assists per game to go with his 53 steals. Senior center Duncan Ozburn (6-foot-9) averages 8.6 points, 7.2 rebounds to go with 89 blocked shots.
Advancement: The Kaneland regional winner will face the Freeport regional winner in a Bartlett sectional semifinal on Tuesday, March 11 at 7 p.m. The Woodstock regional winner will face the Genoa-Kingston regional winner in the second semifinal on Wednesday, March 12 at 7 p.m. The winners play for the sectional championship on Friday, March 14 at 7 p.m.