Time flies ... even in a five-month basketball season.
Eyes on Five is ready to burst full throttle into the playoffs, so this will be our last column of the season. As always, thanks for reading.
In our finale we offer you more conference shuffling, this time in the Metro Suburban Conference.
And, of course, we couldn't say goodbye without more looking ahead at the postseason.
Because of its mix of public and private high schools, the Metro Suburban Conference is among the state's most intriguing leagues.
That level of intrigue is rapidly rising.
Last week's Eyes on Five told you about Glenbard South's inevitable shift in 2018-19 from the MSC to the Upstate Eight Conference. We also told you to look for the MSC's next move.
That move is on the horizon.
The MSC will expand in the wake of Glenbard South's departure and Illiana Christian's move to Indiana in 2018. It's just a matter of which direction it'll head. All signs point to the league adding a much heavier private school influence.
We're hearing that St. Francis, Aurora Christian, Bishop McNamara and all-girls Rosary have been invited to join the MSC. It's now up to those schools to decide if they want to leave the Chicago Catholic League (for Rosary, the Girls Catholic Athletic Conference).
For boys sports, including football, MSC expansion would mean a 14-team league divided into two divisions of seven. In the girls sports there'd be eight teams in one division and seven in another.
Two glaring omissions from the expansion list? Montini and Marmion, who will remain in the CCL.
Draw your own conclusions from that bit of information.
2. The Boys of Winter:
On Thursday the IHSA announced the sectional seeds for the Class 1A and 2A boys basketball playoffs. The pairings follow on Friday.
That means we're talking to you, IC Catholic Prep, Lisle, Timothy Christian and Westmont.
Lisle is the lone area team in the Class 2A Seneca sectional, and the Lions earned the second seed behind Dwight in Subsectional A. They'll head to either Spring Valley Hall or Dwight.
IC Catholic Prep, Timothy Christian and Westmont are in the Guerin sectional, with all three landing in Subsectional A. The top two seeds -- Northridge Prep and IC Catholic Prep -- are both regional hosts.
Timothy Christian, seeded third, and No. 5 Westmont will head to one of those sites.
3. State (playoffs) time:
Some fascinating regional finals loom next week for DuPage County Class 4A girls basketball fans.
How about a St. Charles East and Wheaton Warrenville South regional final for starters? The fourth and fifth seeds of the Glenbard West sectional could go at it at St. Charles East's regional in a game either team would be thrilled to win.
No. 4 Hinsdale Central plays host to a regional and likely will see No. 5 Proviso East in the final, another game featuring two quality teams.
Downers North could meet Montini, the No. 1-ranked team in the state, in the final at Oak Lawn, but only if the Trojans can escape Lyons Twp in the semifinals. The eighth-seeded Lions won their first West Suburban Silver game by 3, but the ninth-seeded Trojans won the second by 18.
Second-seeded Wheaton North will try to keep its fantastic season going at the Batavia regional, where, barring a big upset in the semifinal, either No. 7 Schaumburg or No. 10 Bartlett await in the final.
Naperville Central likely will see cross-town rival Naperville North in a regional semifinal at Joliet Central, assuming the Huskies get past Plainfield South. The Redhawks won both of their DuPage Valley Conference games, by 26 points and 11 points.
In Class 3A No. 3 St. Francis should face a good challenge from No. 2 Sycamore. No. 3 Glenbard South likely will see No. 9 IC Catholic Prep at the ICCP regional final. The Raiders already own two Metro Suburban Blue wins against the Knights, by 32 and 29 points.
4. An impact bench player:
Wheaton North girls basketball coach Dave Eaton is resolute when he says his DuPage Valley Conference champion, Christmas tournament champion Falcons (20-5, 14-1) wouldn't have had the success they've had so far this season without little-used senior Addy Lorentsen.
"No," Eaton said. "I told her, she is the heart and soul of this team."
Lorentsen is usually the eighth or ninth player to see the floor for the Falcons, meaning her playing time is sparse. Yet she has become the kind of selfless leader every successful team needs and every coach craves.
"What she has done for us off the floor has been way more important for us than anything she can do (on the court)," Eaton said. " ... She's figured out how important it is for our second group to get our first group ready to play."
How's this for a self-starter? Because of Lorentsen's leadership, the Falcons often show up early to practice -- an hour or more early. Then there was the time Eaton dropped the practice plan in the gym and left for a couple of minutes. When he returned he found Lorentsen had gotten started without him.
"She is literally running them through swing offense on her own without being prompted by a coach just because she knows how important it is. She's figured out a way to impact the game while she's sitting on the bench. There just aren't kids who can do that," Eaton said.
Lorentsen played just 3.1 seconds in Saturday's DVC-clinching victory at Naperville Central, but she was ready when Eaton called on her with 15.0 seconds to play in the fourth quarter and the Falcons trailing by 1 point. She guarded the Redhawk to whom the inbounds pass was thrown so well that the ball bounced harmlessly out of bounds. Teammate Hannah Swider was fouled seconds later and made the game-winning, conference-title-clinching free throws.
"In my 14 years here she's the best leader I've ever had," Eaton said.
5. Stat time:
Benet girls basketball senior center Katie Jaseckas already has won two Class 4A championships. Now she's making her mark in the school record books.
Jaseckas tied Jordan Wilson's school rebounding record at 667 in a victory at Carmel on Jan. 25, then broke the record with a 12-rebound night against York. She's up to 693 rebounds now.
At 6-foot-1 Jaseckas also has blocked 200 shots this season, leaving her 23 behind Redwings all-time leader Kaitlin McInerney. With just one regular-season game left on the schedule, that might be a tough get. But then again, she has 27 blocks in her last six games.
As for the shot at a third straight state title, the Redwings (24-3) are the top seed at the East Aurora sectional and ranked No. 8 in Class 4A by the AP.
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