Class 3A Hampshire sectional semifinal
7 p.m. Tuesday
Kaneland (18-9) vs. Rockford Lutheran (27-3)
Outlook: Kaneland, which beat Marmion 62-60 to win its second regional title in three seasons, will have its hands full. Rockford Lutheran, the No. 1 seed at the Freeport regional, has the best record of any team in the Hampshire complex. The Crusaders are the only squad among Hampshire semifinalists Kaneland, Sycamore and Marian Central to be ranked by the Associated Press at the end of the regular season, No. 8. Coach Tom Guse's crew features crafty 6-foot-3 senior guard Thomas Kopelman, who according to the Rockford Register Star's Matt Trowbridge is the program's all-time leading scorer with more than 2,000 points. He scored a game-high 24 points in Rockford Lutheran's 71-67 overtime victory over Belvidere at the Freeport regional final, 6-5 junior Nate Wieting adding 17 points and 10 rebounds, the Star reported. Kaneland coach Brian Johnson also listed sophomore guard James Robinson, junior guard Joseph Kellen and senior guard Kendall Lawson as other Crusaders to watch out for. Third in Class 2A in 2012, Rockford Lutheran has won three straight regional titles and seeks a fourth sectional. "You never know what's going to happen, but they're definitely one of the better teams in the state in 3A," said Johnson, who hopes to lead the Knights to their first sectional final since 1988. "Hopefully we can come in and be really competitive and put ourselves in a good position." In this first meeting, Johnson thinks the Knights may pose matchup trouble for Rockford Lutheran in the form of 6-3 seniors Tyler Carlson and John Pruett, 6-3 sophomore Ryan David, 3-shooters Connor Fedderly and Dylan Vaca, and rugged 6-footer Cole Carlson. Tyler Carlson scored 30 points, 12 of 12 from the foul line, in Kaneland's dramatic regional final win. That was won on a 19-foot jumper by four-year starting point guard Drew David, who like this whole squad is as tough as they come with no quit. The Knights have succeeded against a top scorer, beating Glenbard South 81-70 despite 30 points from Glenbard South guard Chaun Rickette. Pruett and Ty Carlson each average more than 7 rebounds. "I think it's going to be big to try to keep them off the offensive glass, to contain their shooters and take care of the basketball on the offensive end of the floor," Johnson said.
Advancement: The winner advances to play the winner of Wednesday's Hampshire sectional semifinal between Marian Central and Sycamore in the sectional final, 7 p.m. Friday.
-- Compiled by Dave Oberhelman