Class 3A Antioch sectional championship
No. 3 Carmel Corsairs (25-8) vs. No. 1 North Chicago Warhawks (24-5)When: 7 p.m., tonight
Where: Antioch High School
Carmel's road to the sectional championship: At the Ridgewood regional, Carmel defeated Johnsburg, 55-43 and Vernon Hills, 49-43. In the Antioch sectional semifinal on Wednesday, Carmel defeated Uplift, 55-46.
North Chicago's road to the sectional championship: At the Grayslake Central regional, North Chicago defeated Elmwood Park, 102-39 and Grayslake Central, 71-53. In the Antioch sectional semifinal on Tuesday, North Chicago defeated St. Patrick, 55-45.
Take two: Carmel and North Chicago faced off in the sectional title game at Antioch last year. North Chicago got the win, 63-46.
Carmel's tournament history: Carmel has won two sectionals in school history, in 1985 and 1986. Last year, the Corsairs won their first regional since 1992 and advanced to the sectional championship game.
North Chicago's tournament history: North Chicago has advanced downstate twice in the last four years. The Warhawks placed fourth in 2011 and finished as the state runners-up in 2012. Last year, North Chicago won the sectional championship game against Carmel before losing in the supersectional to Orr, 63-49.
Coaches: Tim Bowen, Carmel; Gerald Coleman, North Chicago
Outlook: In a rematch of last year's sectional championship game, Carmel is looking for some payback. The Corsairs lost to North Chicago by 17 points in that game. "We've had North Chicago (circled) on our schedule all year," Carmel center Jack George said. "We're going to really come after them." The Corsairs went after Uplift on Wednesday with a punishing inside game that involved plenty of post moves in the paint by George (16 points) and strong drives to the basket by Billy Kirby (16 points). North Chicago, meanwhile, likes to play an up-tempo, transition game. "They are fast. They've got some great rebounders and shooters," Carmel coach Tim Bowen said. "And I really like the way they play defense. They get up on you and mix it up a little bit. We've just got to play our type of basketball and our tempo. You've kind of got to slow it down against them and you've got to keep them off of the glass." The 6-foot-10 George is a rebounding presence for Carmel. He had 10 rebounds against Uplift … North Chicago is led by two Division I recruits in Kurt Hall and JayQuan McCloud, who will be playing at Toledo and Murray State next year, respectively. Hall scored 20 points and McCloud added 16 points in Tuesday's win over St. Patrick … It's been a special season for Carmel, which set a school record for wins on Wednesday against Uplift. That was Carmel's 25th win of the season. Carmel also won two tournaments this season, placed second at the Jacobs holiday tournament and ran off its best start in school history (6-0). "We've piled on so many things this year. What a great accomplishment for the boys," Bowen said.
Up next: Friday's winner at Antioch advances to Tuesday's Hoffman Estates supersectional game against the winner of the Westinghouse sectional championship between Orr and Fenwick. Tip-off at Hoffman Estates High School is at 7 p.m.
-- Patricia Babcock McGraw