Scouting DuPage County Class 3A and Class 4A sectionals

Updated 2/23/2019 2:14 PM
  • York's Nicholas Kosich grabs Benet's Colin Crothers Tuesday in a boys basketball game in Lisle.

      York's Nicholas Kosich grabs Benet's Colin Crothers Tuesday in a boys basketball game in Lisle. John Starks | Staff Photographer

Class 4A Bartlett sectional

Top four seeds: Geneva, Benet, Downers Grove South, Lyons Twp.

Regional hosts: DeKalb, Downers Grove South, Glenbard West, Metea Valley.

Players to watch: Josh Berry, Lyons Twp.; Trey Boston, Downers Grove North; Colin Crothers, Benet; Cam Dougherty, Naperville Central; Billy Durkin, Hinsdale South; Justin Eagins, Downers Grove South; Ethan Helwig, Metea Valley; Sema'j Henderson, Downers Grove North; Wes Hooker, Downers Grove South; Jeff Kratz, Wheaton Warrenville South; Mitch Mascari, Geneva; Matas Masys, Willowbrook; Jack McDonald, Geneva; Nolan Niego, Lyons Twp.; Deng Reng, Wheaton North; Jacob Schauer, Wheaton North; Luke Sgarbossa, Lake Park; Everett Stubblefield III, Willowbrook; Evan Taylor, Glenbard West; Kendrick Tchoua, Benet; Tom Welch, Naperville North.

Outlook: Geneva (28-1), whose only loss is to Lake Park (21-10), is a clear No. 1 seed with a dynamite backcourt of McDonald and Mascari. Several other teams, however, look capable of grabbing the sectional championship. Second-seeded Benet (23-7), a 20-game winner for a 10th straight season, is paired with the No. 7 Lancers at DeKalb. With a towering duo of 6-foot-7 Tchoua and Crothers, who average a combined 29 points and 15 rebounds, the Redwings are surging and eyeing another sectional crown. Downers Grove South (22-7) overcame a 1-4 start to claim a share of the West Suburban Gold title. A possible cross-town regional final awaits against Downers Grove North (20-11). Both sides feature explosive backcourts. Lyons Twp. is another team that surged late in the season, but the Lions are in the most balanced regional at Glenbard West. The Hilltoppers (19-9) boast an elite player in Southern Illinois-bound Evan Taylor, averaging 21.5 points and 10.5 rebounds. Also at Glenbard West is dangerous 11th seed Naperville North (17-11), a surprise DuPage Valley Conference champion. Loyola-bound Tom Welch, who averages 20.6 points and 8.2 rebounds, has been dealing with a dislocated finger and back issues. Geneva, meanwhile, doesn't have a walk to the sectional semifinals. The Vikings likely will face the winner of the Wheaton cross-town game at Metea Valley. The Wheatons split during DuKane Conference play.

Class 4A East Aurora sectional

Top four seeds: Bolingbrook, Waubonsie Valley, Oswego East, West Aurora.

Regional hosts: Andrew, Bolingbrook, Joliet West, Oswego.

Players to watch: Traevon Brown, West Aurora; Darius Burford, Bolingbrook; Eric Cannon, Waubonsie Valley; Tyler Cochrane, Bolingbrook; RayJ Dennis, Oswego East; Dylan Engler, Oswego; Nate Ferguson, Lemont; Jamere Hall, Joliet West; Trent Hudak, Minooka; Jake Karli, Lockport; John Poulakidas, Neuqua Valley; Diamond Presniakovas, Plainfield South; Sam Schultz, Oswego East; Christian Shumate, Plainfield East; Marcus Skeete, Waubonsie Valley; Carter Thurman, Plainfield North; Marquis Walker, West Aurora; Destin Whitaker, Romeoville; Kendrick Williams, Joliet Central; Jules Williamson, East Aurora; Joseph Yesufu, Bolingbrook.

Waubonsie Valley's Eric Cannon is fouled by King's Jaylin Bedell in the semifinal game of the Hinkle Holiday Classic boys basketball tournament in Algonquin Friday.
  Waubonsie Valley's Eric Cannon is fouled by King's Jaylin Bedell in the semifinal game of the Hinkle Holiday Classic boys basketball tournament in Algonquin Friday. - John Starks | Staff Photographer

Outlook: Only three times has Waubonsie Valley (25-4) won more games than this season. West Aurora (26-5) set its regular-season victories mark. Oswego East -- which Waubonsie beat in one of its best efforts -- boasts Boise State commit Dennis, a Montini transfer. Yet Bolingbrook (19-7) drew the No. 1 seed among the sectional's 22 teams due to strength of schedule. The Raiders, who placed third in Class 4A in 2015 and 2017, are led by Drake commit Yesufu and Northern Illinois-bound Cochrane, four-year varsity players and the program's winningest duo. Bolingbrook has beaten Homewood-Flossmoor, Evanston, Springfield Southeast and Florida power Hawthorne with losses to Morgan Park, Simeon and top out-of-state teams. No. 5 seed Oswego, No. 6 Romeoville and No. 7 Lockport all are in other regionals. All 10 Southwest Prairie Conference teams are in this sectional; six have records above .500 and even some lower seeds could score upsets. Waubonsie Valley and Neuqua Valley ended the regular season lacking key players due to injury -- Waubonsie's Cannon and Neuqua's Poulakidas. Waubonsie Valley, playing at Andrew, allows an average of 42 points and is 7-1 against sectional opponents. No. 14 seed Neuqua Valley (13-17) won four of its last five games. It seeks immediate revenge on Joliet West, which beat the Wildcats in their 2018 playoff opener.

Class 4A Proviso West sectional

Top four seeds: Curie, Whitney Young, York, Lincoln Park.

Regional hosts: Fenwick, Morton, Whitney Young, York.

Players to watch: Tyler Beard, Young; DaJuan Gordon, Curie; Ismail Habib, Lincoln Park; Trevon Hamilton, Curie; James Hobson, Proviso East; Bryce Hopkins, Fenwick; Ocean Johnson, Leyden; Nick Kosich, York; Julio Montes, Lincoln Park; Anthony Roberts, Oak Park-River Forest; Chase Robinson, Oak Park-River Forest; Devin Spencer, Proviso East; D.J. Steward, Young; Zach Vaia, Riverside-Brookfield; Sam Walsh, York.

Outlook: Can anyone in the state, let alone the sectional, beat city champion Curie (29-1)? And can anyone at Proviso West other than Curie beat Young (22-7)? This was definitely the wrong season for York (27-4) -- which broke the program record for wins in a season -- to be sent east away from most of its West Suburban Conference foes at the Bartlett sectional. Luckily for the Dukes, they're playing host to a regional. Campbell Gymnasium has been kind to York to the tune of a 14-1 home record. That one loss came to Oak Park-River Forest (17-9) and, unfortunately for the third-seeded Dukes, the sixth-seeded Huskies likely await in the regional final. That's if York gets past the Prosser-Fenton winner and Oak Park beats Leyden in the semifinals. To survive a brutal sectional -- let's not forget the potential of teams like Lincoln Park, Proviso East, Riverside-Brookfield and Fenwick -- York must shoot well from the perimeter with Nick Kosich, Erik Cohn, Nate Shockey and John Milling. That quartet has knocked down 188 3-pointers. Keep talented 6-foot-5 forward Sam Walsh out of foul trouble and ramp up that ball-press defense, and the Dukes just might have a shot at its first sectional championship since 1982.

Class 3A Marengo sectional

Top four seeds: Glenbard South, Johnsburg, Burlington Central, Woodstock North.

Regional hosts: Genoa-Kingston, Johnsburg, Illinois Math and Science Academy, Wheaton Academy.

Players to watch: Marcus Bult, Wheaton Academy; Mike Cascella, St. Francis; Kevin Enright, Glenbard South; Kai Evans, Montini; Cole Hardtke, Glenbard South; Jeff Jankowski, Richmond-Burton; Patrick Mayfield, Burlington Central; Grant McConkey, Sycamore; Nate Nesler, Genoa-Kingston; Eric Nystrom, Rockford Lutheran; Jon Reid, Marmion; Ryan Schaffter, Woodstock North; Zach Tobler, Belvidere; Zach Toussaint, Johnsburg; Nick Wascher, Marengo; Zach White, Woodstock North.

Glenbard South's Kevin Enright during varsity boys basketball at Glenbard East on Friday night.
  Glenbard South's Kevin Enright during varsity boys basketball at Glenbard East on Friday night. - Patrick Kunzer | Staff Photographer

Outlook: No. 2 seed Burlington Central (23-8) broke through last season to win a regional title for the first time in 10 years and beat Johnsburg to reach the sectional final. Fielding 6-foot-5 senior guard Mayfield, who averages 27 points, the Rockets could do something similar -- but so could several others. For a start, the Wheaton Academy regional host. The Warriors (18-8) enter the playoffs on a 3-3 stretch but get good inside-outside play and have a definite home advantage. At East Aurora's holiday tournament Wheaton Academy began by beating Class 4A Neuqua Valley but lost two days later to 9-win Marmion. Naturally, Marmion is Wheaton Academy's playoff opener. That regional feeds into the one at Johnsburg offering No. 5 seed Richmond-Burton and Jankowski, who just had a 42-point game. Led by all-state guard Zach Toussaint, who averages 24 points and is McHenry County's all-time leading scorer, No. 1 seed Johnsburg (18-12) lost 72-71 recently to Burlington Central in a Kishwaukee River Conference thriller. Another Kishwaukee team is No. 2 seed Woodstock North, in a fierce regional with No. 3 Marengo and host No. 6 Genoa-Kingston. At sectionals one of those teams should face the IMSA regional champion. In its Upstate Eight Conference debut the sectional's other No. 1 seed, Glenbard South (21-6), finished third at 14-4 and played 25 of 27 games against Class 4A teams. The poised and balanced Raiders have fared well in this complex, winning regionals in 2016 and 2017. Should Glenbard South advance past Kaneland or IMSA the road remains treacherous. Awaiting will be the winner of a brawl between No. 4 seed St. Francis and No. 5 Montini, a redux of St. Francis' 62-55 victory on Jan. 26. St. Francis (10-21) plays a solid schedule and returns some experience from its 2018 regional champion. Like Marmion, Montini (11-19) is Chicago Catholic League-tested. As coaches have noted, anything can happen here.

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