Scouting sectional semifinal boys basketball games
By David Oberhelman and Kevin Schmit
No. 1 Naperville North (26-2) vs. No. 5 Willowbrook (25-5)
Class 4A Glenbard East sectional semifinal
Game time: 6 p.m. Tuesday.
Outlook: So much talent in one game. It starts in the post with 6-foot-7 Chris Johnson, averaging 13 points and 8 rebounds for the Huskies and 6-6 Ethan Schuemer, averaging 16 points and 9 rebounds for Willowbrook. If they cancel each other out, it'll be interesting to see who emerges. It might be 6-6 Tom Welch for the Huskies, who likely will be guarded by Willowbrook defensive stopper Sikander Zifar. It might be Willowbrook perimeter standout Matas Masys, who's knocked down 68 3-pointers. Or Naperville North's Jack Hill, who has 63 3s. Both teams have shown the ability to bury opponents, and both have shown the ability to rally in clutch situations. This game won't lack excitement.
Advancement: The winner advances to play the winner of Tuesday's Glenbard East sectional semifinal between Bartlett and Benet in the sectional final on Friday.
No. 2 Benet (25-4) vs. No. 12 Bartlett (17-12) Class 4A Glenbard East sectional semifinal
Game time: 8 p.m. Tuesday.
Outlook: Can the Hawks beat another high seed? First they beat No. 6 Batavia, then No. 3 WW South. You could say their postseason surge is due to the return from injury of Ben Tompson, who played only 14 regular-season games. But Tomas Vikonis is averaging 13.7 points and knocked down the game-winning 3-pointer in the regional final. And Austin Gates and Ben Fisher average double digits. Benet proved to be the sectional's best defensive team, having allowed 40 or fewer points 13 times. Benet wing David Buh averages about 14 points while 6-foot-8 Colin Crothers is a post force. Keep an eye on Jacob Petrovic, who had 14 points and three 3-pointers in the regional title game.
Advancement: The winner advances to play the winner of Tuesday's Glenbard East sectional semifinal between Naperville North and Willowbrook in the sectional final on Friday.
No. 1 Rockford Boylan (20-10) vs. No. 3 St. Francis (15-15)
Class 3A Woodstock North sectional semifinal
Game time: 7 p.m. Wednesday.
Outlook: This looks evenly matched. Boylan senior guard Ben Ambrose and St. Francis senior forward Andrew Harvey each average 11 points with several teammates within 4 points of that including St. Francis center John Detloff, point guard Matt Cooney and two-guard Mike Cascella, who scored 20 points with four 3s in the 66-51 regional final win over Wheaton Academy. The Spartans' depth, varied skill sets and experience against a tough schedule has them prepared for half-court or up-tempo games, and they are good rebounders across the board. Boylan is dangerous from 3, Ambrose and sophomore guard John Starck hitting 62 and 60, respectively, with sophomore guard Johnny Close at 42.
Advancement: The winner advances to play the winner of Tuesday's Woodstock North sectional semifinal between Burlington Central and Johnsburg in the sectional final on Friday.