Class 3A Glenbard South sectional final
No. 8 St. Francis (20-7) vs. No. 2 Marshall (23-7)
When: 7:30 p.m. Friday.
Outlook: Surprising St. Francis and its Blue Crew student section will be all riled up for the opportunity to beat a third straight Chicago Public League power. First beating regional host Wheaton Academy, then the top sectional seed in Orr. On Tuesday the Spartans used 26 points and 11 rebounds by 6-6 Ryan Coyle - "a warrior," coach Bob Ward called him - to defeat No. 5 Crane 64-51. Marshall overcame a 12-point third-quarter deficit to rally past No. 6 St. Joseph on Wednesday 58-52. Forward Korbin McClain led Marshall with 18 points, while 6-4, Florida International-bound guard Milton Doyle scored 16 points. Thus sets up a meeting between the Spartans, who come off their fifth regional title, and the Commandos, who have three state titles under their belt, including in 2008 when Marshall beat St. Francis 71-58 in the Class 3A Riverside-Brookfield sectional final. Brian McMahon was St. Francis' warrior that season, and Coyle - who may still feel lingering affects from a high-ankle sprain in the 39-36 win over Orr - is this year's, but the Spartans will again need all hands on deck. The 6-7 Zach Roswold helping Coyle clear the boards will be essential, as well as 6-3 Brian Spahn, who scored 12 points against Crane. Defensive whiz Nick Donati, Tim Zettinger and Jason Pisarski all helped the Spartans hold Orr to 10 second-half points. Every player must contribute, and this would be a good time for Andrew Kimball to deposit a couple 3-pointers. Just throwing it out there - Aurora Central Catholic, which split two games against St. Francis, lost 80-54 to Marshall. Fundamentally sound and extremely well-coached in the veteran Ward's renaissance as a head coach, St. Francis of course won't be favored to advance to the Hoffman Estates supersectional against either Lakes or North Chicago at the Grayslake Central sectional. But that appears to be just how the Spartans like it.
Class 4A East Aurora sectional final
No. 4 West Aurora (24-5) vs. No. 3 Metea Valley (25-4)
When: 7:30 p.m. Friday.
Outlook: What a study in contrasts. The legendary West Aurora Blackhawks are headed by 1990 Illinois Basketball Coaches Association inductee Gordie Kerkman, who in 36 seasons as a head coach has amassed 734 victories and 21 regional titles. Metea Valley is a two-year varsity program that just won its first regional under second-year head coach Bob Vozza - though 11 years at Neuqua Valley, eight as Todd Sutton's top assistant, is a great way to learn. It could be seen as a David vs. Goliath matchup. "I don't know who's David and who's Goliath," Kerkman said. "They've got a better record." There are many similarities as well. West Aurora on Tuesday topped the sectional's No. 1 seed, Plainfield East, 58-53 in overtime; Metea knocked off No. 2 seed Downers Grove South on Wednesday 60-51. Both teams used second-half comebacks. Friday's combatants each offer the respective captains of their Daily Herald All-Area teams, the Mustangs' Kenny Obendorf in DuPage County and West Aurora's Juwan Starks in the Tri-Cities. Each senior averages a little more than 17 points and makes better than 45 percent of his 3-point shots from his wing guard-forward position but is also able to slash to the hoop. Both teams have All-Area guards who led their teams in scoring in the sectional semis, Ryan Solomon (who should defend Starks, Vozza said) at Metea's off-guard spot and West Aurora's Jontrel Walker at the point. Then there are the complementary players such as Metea's steady forward Milan Bojanic, a 10-point scorer; and West Aurora's Spencer Thomas, who hit Plainfield East with 12 points and 11 rebounds off the bench. (His brother Chandler, who helped create a 41-25 rebounding edge over Plainfield East, will probably defend Obendorf, Kerkman said.) Metea offers impact players LaShawn Cargo and Raysean Parker off its bench. The post offers an interesting collision of Metea's 6-2 Sean Davis against West Aurora's 6-6 Josh McAuley. Either team could see an advantage, given McAuley's height and defense and Davis' athleticism and bulk. Of importance is the health of Blackhawks starting guard Jayquan Lee, who suffered a back injury Tuesday and is questionable. Metea Valley held Downers South to 34.5 percent shooting, and shot selection concerned Kerkman after the Blackhawks made about the same percentage against Plainfield East. "I think it comes down to defense again," Vozza said. "It's sectional time, and it's a matter of getting stops."
Wheaton St. Francis
Conference: Suburban Christian Blue
- Ferguson making move back to Wheaton College
- Ruggles reigns from arc
- Looking back at the best of the season
- St. Francis seniors showed they were a class above
- St. Francis finishes one run short