No. 3 Lakes (20-10) vs. No. 1 North Chicago (19-5)
What: Class 3A sectional championship
When: 7:30 p.m.
Where: Grayslake Central High School
Lakes probable starters: G Jay-Jay Elvir, G Tanner Blain, G/F Direll Clark, G/F Justin Bergeron, C Justin Schneider.
North Chicago probable starters: G Aaron Simpson, F Tyrone Linder, F Kurt Hall, F Javarius Amos-Mays, F Marzhon Bryant.
Lakes' road to the sectional final: In the Carmel regional, defeated Chicago Lake View (65-23) and Carmel (43-35); in the Grayslake Central sectional semifinal on Wednesday, defeated Ridgewood (75-60).
North Chicago's road to the sectional final: In the Fenton regional, defeated Fenton (87-41) and Elmwood Park (71-54); in the Grayslake Central sectional semifinal on Tuesday, defeated Grayslake Central (77-62).
Outlook: Lakes is hoping that the third time will be the charm against North Chicago. The North Suburban Conference Prairie Division foes faced off twice this season and Lakes lost both games but did force overtime in one, a 90-86 loss on Dec. 16. The other game was also high-scoring, with North Chicago running away with a 90-75 victory on Feb. 3. "Our guys are going in with the idea that, 'Hey, we can run with these guys,'" Lakes coach Chris Snyder said. "After our last game with them, we talked about hopefully getting one more crack at them and now we're going to get it. It should be an exciting game and the gym (at Grayslake Central) should be rocking. We're excited about just being in this position, one of the 16 teams left in 3A. But our guys aren't satisfied with just that. They want to take it one step further."-The Eagles know that will be much more doable if they can get another three-point barrage out of senior guard Tanner Blain. Blain hit 6-of-7 three-pointers en route to a game-high 20 points in Wednesday's win over Ridgewood. The Eagles also showed depth and versatility by getting double-figures out of three other players. Jay-Jay Elvir and Direll Clark each finished with 14 points and scored most of their points on mid-range jumpers and drives to the lane. Forward Justin Bergeron was a monster on the boards and in the paint and powered his way for 10 points. Justin Schneider, Lakes' 6-foot-9 center, can also be a load inside-For North Chicago, guard Aaron Simpson has carried much of the scoring load this season. The Illinois State signee averaged around 31 points per game during the regular season, a clip that, at times, led the entire state of Illinois. But during the post-season, Simpson has made a point of involving others in the offense, which has helped to make the high-flying, up-tempo Warkhawks even more difficult to defend. In North Chicago's semifinal win over Grayslake Central on Tuesday, Simpson scored 23 points but three other players reached double-figures, including JaVairius Amos-Mays (14 points), Kurt Hall (11 points) and Marzhon Bryant (10 points)-Both of these teams can get up and down the floor quickly and score in bunches. The key will be how well Lakes can handle North Chicago's famed and relentless pressure defense. When Ridgewood began pressing Lakes late in Wednesday's semifinal, Lakes wasn't razor sharp. The Eagles rolled up 10 turnovers in the fourth-quarter alone. That would be a back-breaker against the Warhawks-The hunger for a win tonight is insatiable on both sides. Lakes had never won a regional title before this season and is now intent on winning its first sectional title and setting the standard for all Lakes teams of the future. Meanwhile, North Chicago is driven by an intense desire to return downstate. Last year, the Warhawks placed fourth in Class 3A after losing to Centralia in the semifinal and to Brooks in the third-place game. "We weren't happy about how things went for us down there last year," Simpson said. "We've spent this entire year working so that we could get back and finish the way we know we can."
Next: Winner advances to Tuesday's Hoffman Estates supersectional and will face the winner of the Glenbard South sectional, which will be either Wheaton St. Francis or Chicago Marshall.
Grayslake Central High School
Lakes Community High School
Conference: Fox Valley Fox
- Boys basketball: Lake County all-area team
- Boys basketball/Fox Valley all-area team
- Boylan knocks out Crystal Lake Central
- Crystal Lake Central v. Boylan Catholic: Live stream of game
- Carter hopes Larkin can extend playoff run
Conference: North Suburban Prairie
- North Chicago stops Carmel
- Images: Carmel vs. North Chicago
- Another upset special for Barr, Carmel
- Boys basketball: Lake County all-area team
- Carmel v. North Chicago: Live stream of game