2016-'17 Season Coverage
updated: 2/18/2017 8:17 PM

Scouting next week's postseason action in the Fox Valley

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  • Coach Sarah Meadows will lead Geneva into battle Monday against Wheaton Warrenville South at the Class 4A Glenbard West sectional.

      Coach Sarah Meadows will lead Geneva into battle Monday against Wheaton Warrenville South at the Class 4A Glenbard West sectional.
    Brian Hill | Staff Photographer

  • Streamwood and senior Jenejha Williams take on Rockford East Monday in the Class 4A Hampshire sectional.

      Streamwood and senior Jenejha Williams take on Rockford East Monday in the Class 4A Hampshire sectional.
    Rick West | Staff Photographer

  • Dundee-Crown's Allison Michalski shoots over St. Charles North's Anna Davern earlier this season. Michalski and the Chargers face Rockford Boylan Monday in the Class 4A Hampshire sectional.

      Dundee-Crown's Allison Michalski shoots over St. Charles North's Anna Davern earlier this season. Michalski and the Chargers face Rockford Boylan Monday in the Class 4A Hampshire sectional.
    Rick West | Staff Photographer

  • Kaneland's Jenni Weber, left, looks for a way around Morris' Meghan Smith earlier this season. Kaneland meets Rock Falls Tuesday at the Class 3A Kaneland sectional.

      Kaneland's Jenni Weber, left, looks for a way around Morris' Meghan Smith earlier this season. Kaneland meets Rock Falls Tuesday at the Class 3A Kaneland sectional.
    Patrick Kunzer | Staff Photographer

  • St. Edward and senior Madelyn Spagnola take on Illiana Christian Monday in the Class 2A Concordia University supersectional in River Forest.

      St. Edward and senior Madelyn Spagnola take on Illiana Christian Monday in the Class 2A Concordia University supersectional in River Forest.
    Patrick Kunzer | Staff Photographer

  • Harvest Christian's Alyssa Iverson moves the ball against Larkin earlier this season. Harvest faces Heyworth Monday in the Class 1A Pontiac supersectional.

      Harvest Christian's Alyssa Iverson moves the ball against Larkin earlier this season. Harvest faces Heyworth Monday in the Class 1A Pontiac supersectional.
    Patrick Kunzer | Staff Photographer

 
 

Class 4A Glenbard West sectionalPairings: Geneva (24-4) vs. Wheaton Warrenville South (21-8), 6 p.m. Monday.

How they got here: The Vikings defeated Hoffman Estates 64-17 and York 54-30 to win the Hoffman Estates regional. The Tigers defeated Addison Trail 64-29 and St. Charles East 51-45 to win the St. Charles East regional.

Outlook: These programs have a postseason history. Wheaton Warrenville South beat Geneva 54-37 in the 2012 sectional semifinals and again in the 2013 sectional semifinals 62-53. Geneva turned the tables in 2014 with a 55-54 win again in the sectional semifinals on its way to the Class 4A state tournament. Senior center Grace Loberg was a freshman on that team, and she and junior guards Margaret Whitley and Stephanie Hart will lead coach Sarah Meadows' Vikings into battle Monday against a Wheaton Warrenville South team that starts three sophomores. Whitley and Loberg combined for 31 points in Geneva's regional championship win; Tigers forward Jayla Johnson paced the team with 14 points in Thursday's win over St. Charles East. WW South is counting on its defense to have a chance. "All we want is the opportunity to play," Tigers coach Rob Krohnke said. "I've seen crazy things over my years. We are going to show up and play defense. If we give up 60 points, there's no way, it's not going to happen. If we can hold them in the 40s, we are going to have a shot. That's been our game plan no mater who we play. I think we're starting to understand what it takes." In the other semifinal, Wheaton North (23-5) faces Rolling Meadows (22-7).

Advancement: The Glenbard West sectional winner advances to the Addison Trail supersectional to play the Niles West sectional winner on Monday, Feb. 27 at 7 p.m.

Class 4A Hampshire sectionalPairings: Dundee-Crown (18-11) vs. Rockford Boylan (29-1), 6 p.m. Monday; Streamwood (15-13) vs. Rockford East (24-6), 7:30 p.m. Monday.

How they got here: Dundee-Crown won the McHenry regional, beating Prairie Ridge 55-34 and Crystal Lake South 45-22. Boylan won its own regional, beating Auburn 69-29 and Guilford 51-27. Streamwood won the Larkin regional, defeating Elgin 48-29, Cary-Grove 60-52 and South Elgin 59-47. Rockford East won the Harlem regional, beating Belvidere North 62-54 before upsetting Hononegah 50-43 in overtime.

Outlook: No. 5 Boylan is the heavy favorite to win this sectional but the Titans will be tested by a Dundee-Crown team that is on a 10-game winning streak and that has now won the most games in a season in coach Sarah Miller's four-year tenure. D-C is in its third straight sectional semifinal and is looking to take the next step after losing big to Boylan in 2015 and to Hononegah last year. "It's a different level of play," Miller said. "We want a sectional and the first step is Monday night against Boylan. The bar is higher now and I believe we're capable of playing at that level. The last couple of years we went out there without the confidence we needed. These girls now know what it takes. I'm super proud of where we have come this season and the job isn't done." The Chargers, who are seeking their first sectional title since 2003, are the only team of the four who shared the Fox Valley Conference title -- Hampshire, Cary-Grove and Huntley being the others -- still playing. D-C's late-season run has been fueled by the play of seniors Allison Michalski (10.5 ppg, 5 rpg) and Paige Gieske (10 ppg, 5 rpg, 3 apg) but the Chargers have also gotten steady contributions from the likes of senior Lucy Atherton and juniors Madi Tripp, Anna Kieltyka and Kennedy White, who recently returned from injury, and freshman Katelyn Skibinski. Boylan, winners of four straight regional titles is after its first sectional crown since 2014. The Titans are deep and talented and their only loss this season was to No. 2 Rock Island in the championship game of the DeKalb MLK Tournament. Junior point guard Mackenzie Brown (13.3 ppg, 6.4 rpg, 4 apg, 3 spg) makes Boylan go and she has a balanced attack around her including sophomore Ashley Reyes (9.4 ppg), freshman Peyton Kennedy (8.8 ppg) and senior Sarah Welsh (8.6 ppg). Sophomore guard Frankie Schiro hit four 3-pointers and led the Titans with 12 points in the regional final while Reyes and Brown added 11 each. "They're a super-talented team," Miller said of Boylan. "We have to be able to handle their pressure. We have to be confident we can play at that level and execute for four quarters. We just have to put it all on the floor and go out there with no doubt we can compete with them."

The second semifinal is an intriguing matchup between a Streamwood team that was the No. 5 seed in its sub-sectional and a Rockford East squad that, while a No. 3 seed, had lost twice to No. 2 Hononegah, the last time by 30 points just 10 days before regionals. While Streamwood is in a sectional for the first time since 2014, it's been 28 years since the E-Rabs won a regional. Streamwood got hot at the right time after entering the postseason on a 3-game losing streak and the Sabres are playing their best basketball of the season right now. Leading the Sabres' resurgence has been 6-3 senior Jenejha Williams, who put up a career-high 30 points, pulled down 25 rebounds and blocked 7 shots in the regional final, where the Sabres upset No. 1 seed South Elgin. Williams averages 16 points and 12 rebounds per game as well as 3.5 blocks. "Everything keys on J," said Sabres coach George Rosner, who won his 400th game at Streamwood (435 overall) in the regional final. "Her last two games have been exceptional and if she plays like she has been playing we're going to be a tough team to beat. She's been dominant at both ends." Williams has a supporting cast that has been getting better all season. Junior Maddi Exline (8.3 ppg) and freshman point guard Mandy Mien (9.0 ppg, 4.7 apg, 3.4 spg) are like energizer bunnies. Junior Monica Brown, junior Andrea Bracey and junior Becky Roncone have been steady in their roles as well. Rosner has great respect for Rockford East. "They're a really good team," he said. "They're quick and they have a lot of speed. If they get it going on both ends they're tough to stop. We just have to keep playing defense. We won the regional playing really great, tough defense. We know (East) will press us and trap us but my freshman guard (Mien) has been playing tremendous.

Advancement: The Hampshire sectional winner advances to the Dundee-Crown supersectional to play the Libertyville sectional winner on Monday, Feb. 27 at 7 p.m.

Class 3A Kaneland sectionalPairings: Kaneland (22-6) vs. Rock Falls (19-10), 7 p.m. Tuesday

How they got here: Kaneland defeated IMSA 67-30 and Rosary 51-33 to win the IMSA regional. Rock Falls defeated Dixon 54-36 and Genoa-Kingston 54-40 to win the Sterling regional.

Outlook: The Knights, led by guards Jamie Martens, Jenni Weber and Morgan Weber, get a chance to win the fourth sectional championship -- and first since 1990 -- on their home court. To do so they will have to start by avenging a 54-51 loss to Rock Falls on Jan. 28. In that game, Jenni Weber finished with 23 points to lead all scorers while Morgan Weber added 11. Junior Abbee Sigel paced Rock Falls with 20 points. "We played them earlier but playoff time you can throw that out the window," Kaneland coach Ernie Colombe said. "They are a really good team. We'll have to play real well. We're capable of that. It's on our home court so we're excited about that. They have some tremendous players but we think we have some pretty good players ourselves." Martens, a junior point guard, certainly is one of them. She scored 21 points in Kaneland's regional championship win over Rosary, the latest in a breakout season that keeps getting better and better. In the other semifinal, Stillman Valley, who upset Rockford Lutheran 76-74 in overtime, will play Sycamore.

Advancement: The Kaneland sectional winner advances to the Bureau Valley supersectional to play the winner of the Limestone sectional on Monday, Feb. 27 at 7 p.m.

Class 2A Concordia University supersectionalSt. Edward (26-5) vs. Illiana Christian (23-8), 7 p.m. Monday

How they got here: St. Edward defeated Chicago Academy 85-29 and Guerin 59-29 to win the Guerin regional then downed Chicago Clark 79-20 and Chicago Latin 63-42 to win the Guerin sectional. Illiana beat Corliss 83-24 and Chicago Christian 77-35 to win the Chicago Christian regional then defeated Chicago U-High 60-28 and Peotone 54-42 to win the Lisle sectional.

Outlook: This Elite Eight matchup features the same two Metro Suburban Conference teams that met in the Lisle Christmas tournament final with St. Edward coming away a 70-67 winner behind 26 points from tournament MVP Maddie Spagnola. But that was then and this is now and Green Wave coach Michelle Dawson says both teams are vastly different than they were on Dec. 30. "We're not the same team as we were then and neither are they," said Dawson, whose team won its first regional title since 2011 and is now poised to take its first trip to Redbird Arena since 2007, when the format was still two classes. Illiana's last trip downstate was in 2004. This game features two all-state candidates who have proved they can score at will -- Spagnola (21.2 ppg) and Illiana senior guard Gabby Kreykes (23.9 ppg), who dropped 37 points on St. Edward in the game at Lisle. "Gabby is a very talented player," Dawson said. "Nobody will shut her down. We're just hoping to limit her as much as possible." Kreykes had 26 points in Illiana's sectional final win while senior guard Eden Schipper (7.7 ppg) added 12. The Vikings also get 7.9 ppg from senior Deborah Smith and 7.3 from senior forward Hope VanProyen. Illiana is about done with IHSA athletics. The school, currently located in Lansing, will be moving to St. John, Ind., in the fall of 2018. Meanwhile, St. Edward has its share of weapons to support Spagnola, and the Green Wave have turned up the defense as well, allowing no more than 42 points in their last eight games. Senior Katelyn Castoro scores 10.5 ppg and junior guard Yssa Sto. Domingo is at 8.7. "It's a good matchup for both teams," said Dawson, whose team has won 8 straight and 13 of 14. "We have similar styles and both teams are athletic with knowledgeable players. We're excited about the level we're playing right now. We're really focused on shutting down the other team's best players and forcing turnovers. Our help rotation and movement has really improved." On a side note, if St. Edward and Teutopolis each win Monday they will face each other in a state semifinal next Friday in Normal. That would bring out some fond memories on both sides of classic battles between the Green Wave and the Lady Shoes from the mid-1980s when they faced each other for the state championship in both 1985 and 1988, splitting those two games.

Advancement: The Concordia supersectional winner advances to the Class 2A Final Four at Redbird Arena and will play the Parkland College supersectional winner (Bloomington Central Catholic vs. Teutopolis) at 7:15 p.m. on Friday, Feb. 24.

Class 1A Pontiac supersectionalHarvest Christian (28-3) vs. Heyworth (27-3)

How they got here: Harvest Christian defeated Westminster Christian 75-28 and Elgin Academy 70-12 to win the Harvest Christian regional, and Chicago Hope 58-25 and Walther Christian 58-47 to win the Harvest Christian sectional. Heyworth defeated Calvary Christian 76-26 and Mt. Pulaski 53-32 to win the Mt. Pulaski regional, and Danville Schlarman 48-47 Decatur St. Teresa 50-45 to win the Lexington section.

Outlook: Two teams seeking their first trip to the state tournament meet Monday in Pontiac. The Lions enter on a 24-game winning streak. Junior guard Alyssa Iverson leads the Lions with a 19-point scoring average. She had 23 in Harvest's sectional championship win, and also played in the 2015 supersectional as a freshman when Harvest lost 74-64 to Iroquois West. Junior Isamar Garcia provided a spark for Harvest on Thursday with 15 points off the bench, including a pair of 3-pointers in the fourth quarter as the Lions won their first competitive game of the postseason. Heyworth also had a hard-fought game in the sectional finals, rallying from a 3-point deficit late in the fourth quarter with an 8-0 run to defeat Decatur St. Teresa 50-45. The Hornets feature a balanced offense. Three players scored in double figures Thursday, led by senior Somer Marlett's 16 points. "They beat a couple really good teams to advance so we need to get healthy fast," Harvest coach Rich DeTamble said. "We have had a few starters battling flu symptoms and hopefully it has run its course. It has really helped being a deep team." No matter what the Hornets bring, DeTamble is confident his team will be prepared. "Our kids have been playing so well adjusting to what they see on the court," DeTamble said. "During our win streak, opposing teams have thrown every type of defense against us and the girls have responded." DeTamble also points to experience with three players who have been in an Elite Eight game and six in last year's Sweet 16 loss. "When you get this deep in the tournament most teams have talented players," DeTamble said. "The difference becomes which team can adjust with court awareness. Having experience really helps. They practice with a purpose."

Advancement: The Pontiac supersectional winner advances to the Class 1A Final Four at Redbird Arena and will play the winner of the Illinois Valley College supersectional (Galena vs. Annawan) at 11:15 a.m. on Friday, Feb. 27.

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