Scouting the Class 3A and Class 4A postseason / Northwest and Lake County

  • Fremd's Bryce Hopkins (24) blocks Libertyville's Brian Wilterdink from making his shot at the Wheeling Wildcat Hardwood Classic in December. Hopkins and the Vikings are the No. 2 seed behind Stevenson in the Class 4A Waukegan sectional.

      Fremd's Bryce Hopkins (24) blocks Libertyville's Brian Wilterdink from making his shot at the Wheeling Wildcat Hardwood Classic in December. Hopkins and the Vikings are the No. 2 seed behind Stevenson in the Class 4A Waukegan sectional. Mark Welsh | Staff Photographer

  • Rolling Meadows sophomore Max Christie, right, has returned from injury and makes the Mustangs a dark horse worth watching in the Class 4A Niles North sectional.

      Rolling Meadows sophomore Max Christie, right, has returned from injury and makes the Mustangs a dark horse worth watching in the Class 4A Niles North sectional. Mark Welsh | Staff Photographer

  • Back from injury, St. Viator's Treyvon Calvin helps solidify the Lions' chances in the Class 3A Grayslake Central sectional, where they are the top seed.

      Back from injury, St. Viator's Treyvon Calvin helps solidify the Lions' chances in the Class 3A Grayslake Central sectional, where they are the top seed. John Starks | Staff Photographer

 
 

Class 4A Waukegan sectionalWhen: March 5, 6, 8

Participating teams: Regional champions from Lake Forest, Barrington Grayslake North and Wheeling

Regional schedule: Regionals start Monday with play-in games and continue Tuesday and Wednesday with regional semifinals and conclude on Friday with regional championships.

Top four seeds/regional assignments: No. 1 Stevenson at Lake Forest, No. 2 Fremd at Barrington, No. 3 Waukegan at Grayslake North, No. 4 Mundelein at Wheeling

The favorites: Top-seeded Stevenson hit a snag to end the regular season, dropping back-to-back games to Benet and Lake Forest. The Lake Forest loss denied Stevenson the outright North Suburban Conference championship. The Patriots (23-5, 12-2) finished in a tie for first place with Waukegan, also a top four seed in the sectional. Luke Chieng, Stevenson's only senior starter, and Matthew Ambrose, who sat part of the season with a broken hand, are both big threats from 3-point range. Fresh off its Mid-Suburban League championship, No. 2 Fremd is on a roll. The Vikings (20-4, 9-1) have won eight straight games and 18 of their last 20. Senior Bryce Hopkins was recently named the MSL West Player of the Year and hit a game-winning 3-pointer to lift Fremd to the MSL championship over Prospect in double overtime. No. 3 Waukegan (25-5, 12-2) boasts a senior-oriented team that features a core of players who have been starting for the program since they were freshmen. Leading that group is senior forward Bryant Brown, who is receiving Division I interest. No. 4 Mundelein had a losing record in the North Suburban Conference (6-8) but is on the verge of a 20-win season (19-11) with big wins over Fremd, Deerfield and Glenbrook North. At 6-foot-8, sophomore forward Scottie Ebube is a load inside for the Mustangs.

The dark horses: No. 6 Prospect is just 14-14 on the season but took on a brutally tough schedule and went 9-1 in the Mid-Suburban League East to win the division. No. 12 Grant won the Northern Lake County Conference title outright with an 11-3 record in league play. The Bulldogs are 18-12 overall.

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Other Northwest teams: No. 6 Prospect at Grayslake North, No. 7 Barrington at Barrington, No. 9 Hersey at Lake Forest, No. 10 Buffalo Grove at Barrington, No. 16 Palatine at Barrington, No. 20 Wheeling at Wheeling

Winner gets: The winner of the Waukegan sectional advances to the Sears Centre supersectional to face the winner of the Niles North sectional. Last year, Evanston defeated Lake Zurich in the Sears Centre supersectional, 78-52.

Class 4A Niles North sectionalWhen: March 5, 6, 8

Participating teams: Regional champions from Rolling Meadows, Conant, Glenbrook North and Evanston

Regional schedule: Regionals start Monday with play-in games and continue Tuesday and Wednesday with regional semifinals and conclude on Friday with regional championships.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                       
 

Top four seeds/regional assignments: No. 1 Evanston at Evanston, No. 2 New Trier at Glenbrook North, No. 3 Maine South at Rolling Meadows, No. 4 Niles North at Conant

The favorites: Top-seeded Evanston is on a mission to finish some unfinished business from last year. After winning the Sears Centre supersectional, the Wildkits lost their semifinal in the state finals against Whitney Young and then won the third-place game over Larkin. Evanston is looking to not only return to the state finals, but to take the next step in Peoria. The hungry Wildkits, with plenty of players back from last year, won the brutal Central Suburban League South with a 9-1 record and are 26-4 overall. They are led by senior guard Lance Jones, who will be playing at Southern Illinois next year. No. 2 New Trier finished just behind Evanston in the Central Suburban South at 7-3 in the division. The Trevians are 22-6 overall and boast plenty of height in 6-foot-9 Ciaran Brayboy, 6-8 Spencer Boehm and 6-5 point guard Sam Silverstein. No. 3 Maine South went just 5-5 in the Central Suburban South but has won nine straight games, including a big win over Notre Dame. Fillip Bulatovic and Essam Hamwi lead the Hawks (22-9) in scoring. No. 4 Niles North is hoping to get back home to its own sectional. The Vikings also finished 5-5 in the Central Suburban South but reached the 20-win mark with a 20-9 overall record. Niles North finds its most success with its full court pressure defense where the goal is to force at least 20 turnovers per game. Veteran guard Aquan Smart sets the tone.

The dark horses: No. 7 Schaumburg contended for the MSL West title but fell short to division champion Fremd in overtime of the MSL West title game. No. 11 Rolling Meadows could get on a roll now that one of the best sophomores in the state is back in the fold. Max Christie sat out part of the season with a deep thigh bruise but is now back in action.

Other Northwest teams: No. 7 Schaumburg at Glenbrook North, No. 10 Maine West at Evanston, No. 11 Rolling Meadows at Rolling Meadows, No. 12 Conant at Conant, No. 14 Hoffman Estates at Rolling Meadows, No. 17 Elk Grove at Evanston

                                                                                                                                                                                                                       
 

Winner gets: The winner of the Niles North sectional advances to the Sears Centre supersectional to face the winner of the Waukegan sectional. Last year, Evanston defeated Lake Zurich in the Sears Centre supersectional, 78-52.

Class 4A Proviso West sectionalWhen: March 5, 6, 8

Participating teams: Regional champions from Fenwick, York, Whitney Young and Morton

Regional schedule: Regionals start Monday with play-in games and continue Tuesday and Wednesday with regional semifinals and conclude on Friday with regional championships.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                       
 

Top four seeds/regional assignments: No. 1 Curie at Fenwick, No. 2 Whitney Young at Whitney Young, No. 3 York at York, No. 4 Lincoln Park at Morton

Northwest team: No. 11 Leyden at York

Winner gets: The winner of the Proviso West sectional advances to the Northwestern University supersectional to face the winner of the Eisenhower sectional.

Class 3A Grayslake Central sectionalWhen: March 5 and 8

Participating teams: Regional champions from Ridgewood, Carmel, St. Patrick and St. Viator

Regional schedule: Regionals start Monday with play-in games and continue Tuesday and Wednesday with regional semifinals and conclude on Friday with regional championships.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                       
 

Top four seeds/regional assignments: No. 1 St. Viator at St. Viator, No. 2 DePaul College Prep at Ridgewood, No. 3 Carmel at Carmel, No. 4 St. Patrick at St. Patrick

The favorites: Three of the top four seeds are playing in their own gyms for the regionals, starting with top seed St. Viator. The Lions have won nine of their last 11 games and are starting to find their groove again with the return of star point guard Trey Calvin, a Wright State recruit who missed about a month with a broken hand. Another Division I star, senior guard Jeremiah Hernandez, who signed with Kent State, gives St. Viator one of the best backcourts in the sectional. No. 2 DePaul College Prep won the Catholic League Blue with a 12-3 record, finishing ahead of 20-win teams St. Laurence and Brother Rice as well as 19-win Loyola. DePaul, which was formerly Gordon Tech, finished the regular season 20-9 overall and is coached by former Gordon Tech star Tommy Kleinschmidt. The Rams are led by 6-foot-4 senior Perry Cowan, who has signed with Brown University. No. 3 Carmel had just earned its 20th win (20-11) before getting edged in its regular-season finale by East Suburban Catholic Conference foe Notre Dame, 71-69. The Corsairs are anchored by a group of seniors who have grown up on the varsity together since they were freshmen or sophomores, starting with senior forward Johnny Roeser, who has started since his freshman year. He's joined by senior forwards Jalen Snell, Lukas Galdoni and Damone Williams Gray. Sophomore Kimahri Wilson, who started last year as a freshman, gives the Corsairs a dynamic scorer at the point guard spot. No. 4 St. Patrick finished the season with an 18-10 record in the rugged East Suburban Catholic Conference. Joe Fanning, a 6-foot-6, 320-pound forward who is a standout offensive lineman for the football team, is a load inside for St. Patrick.

The dark horses: No. 5 Grayslake Central is just 14-13 but was in the race at the end for the Northern Lake County Conference title. No. 9 North Chicago won the supersectional last year and is always a handful.

Winner gets: The winner of the Grayslake Central sectional advances to the Sears Centre supersectional to face the winner of the North Lawndale sectional. Last year, North Chicago defeated Rockford Boylan in the Sears Centre supersectional, 69-55.

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