Scouting Fox boys basketball games

  • Connor Linke blocks a shot for St. Charles North in last Friday's regional championship win over St. Charles East. The North Stars are going for the Class 4A McHenry sectional title this week.

    Connor Linke blocks a shot for St. Charles North in last Friday's regional championship win over St. Charles East. The North Stars are going for the Class 4A McHenry sectional title this week. Sandy Bressner / Shaw Media Illinois

 
 
Updated 3/9/2020 9:53 PM

No. 3 Huntley (27-6) vs. No. 1 Cary-Grove (30-3)

Class 4A McHenry sectional semifinal

                                                                                                                                                                                                                       
 

Game time: 7 p.m. Tuesday.

Road to the sectional: Huntley beat Harlem 65-29 and Rockford Jefferson 65-52. Cary-Grove beat Larkin 48-37 and Jacobs 45-39.

Outlook: Each Fox Valley Conference team won regional titles on its home court to set up a third clash. FVC outright champion Cary-Grove defeated Huntley 63-53 in the league opener in Cary on Dec. 6. Huntley evened the season series with a 54-46 home win on Jan. 28. That victory snapped a 13-game losing streak to the Trojans dating back to 2013. Cary-Grove is led by Lewis-bound senior guard Beau Frericks (20 ppg) and 6-foot-9 Belmont recruit Frank Jakubicek (14.9 ppg). Junior Ryan Weaver averages 8.2 points and 6 rebounds per game.

Huntley counters with the 1-2 punch of seniors Ryan Sroka (15.6 ppg, 6.8 rpg) and Uchenna Egekeze (14.6 ppg, 7.1 rpg). Egekeze's older brother, Amanze, led the Red Raiders to their last sectional appearance in 2014. This is the first sectional game for the Trojans since the 2000-01 team reached a Class AA supersectional. Cary-Grove's 30 wins are a school record. A Huntley win would break the school record of 27 set by the 2000-01 sectional title team.

Advancement: Winner advances to the McHenry sectional final to play the winner between No. 8 Hononegah and No. 2 St. Charles North at 7 p.m. Friday.

No. 8 Hononegah (15-19) vs. No. 2 St. Charles North (23-9)

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Class 4A McHenry sectional semifinal

Game time: 7 p.m. Wednesday.

Road to the sectional: Hononegah beat Rockford Guilford 57-48, DeKalb 78-68 and Rockford East 54-51. St. Charles North beat South Elgin 52-29 and St. Charles East 53-45.

Outlook: A regional champion for the second straight season, St. Charles North aims to advance a step beyond the 2018-19 team. Those North Stars fell to eventual state qualifier Rockford East in a sectional semifinal in Rockford. This edition boasts five durable starters, led by Bradley-bound, 6-foot-9 center Connor Linke. He's good for a double-double most nights. The big guy gets help in the paint from 6-5 senior Thomas Kellen and 6-7 sophomore reserve Ethan Marlowe. Senior guards Luke Scheffers and Christian Czerniak handle the ball well and find open shooters like senior Colin Nelson and sophomore Max Love. Hononegah is the McHenry sectional's Cinderella team. The Indians needed three wins to secure a regional title. That included a regional semifinal upset of DuPage Valley Conference champion DeKalb (23-9), a No. 1 subsectional seed. The Indians beat Rockford East in dramatic fashion in the regional final. Sophomore Owen Hart buried a catch-and-shoot 3-pointer from the corner at the buzzer.

Advancement: Winner advances to the McHenry sectional final to play the winner between No. 1 Cary-Grove and No. 3 Huntley at 7 p.m. Friday.

No. 14 West Aurora (11-19) vs. No. 9 East Aurora (23-10)

Class 4A Lockport sectional semifinal

Game time: 7 p.m. Wednesday.

Road to the sectional: West Aurora beat Waubonsie Valley 47-41 and Plainfield Central 56-51. East Aurora beat Oswego East 62-60 and Bolingbrook 79-72.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                       
 

Outlook: It's an unexpected celebration of Aurora basketball as East meets West with a sectional final berth on the line. Upsets propelled both sides to regional titles. West Aurora pulled the first shocker of the tournament by knocking off No. 3 Waubonsie Valley (27-5). The Blackhawks held the Warriors to 3 fourth-quarter points and senior Kelvin Balfour scored 18. Balfour powered West to the regional title with 26 points and 14 rebounds against Plainfield Central. Senior guard Axel Motola (6-foot-5) averages 8 points and 6 rebounds for the Blackhawks. East Aurora pulled the other shocker of the Lockport sectional by knocking off No. 2 Bolingbrook on Friday. The Tomcats won their first regional in nine years. Junior guard Amarion Savage had 17 points and senior guard Tarone Kirkwood added 15.

Advancement: Winner advances to the Lockport sectional final to play the winner between No. 1 Joliet West and No. 5 Neuqua Valley at 7 p.m. Friday.

No. 1 Lake Park (24-8) vs. No. 6 Geneva (19-12)

Class 4A Addison Trail sectional semifinal

Game time: 7 p.m. Tuesday.

Road to the sectional: Lake Park beat Glenbard North 39-35 and Hinsdale Central 55-43. Geneva beat Metea Valley 46-32 and Wheaton Warrenville South 50-35.

Outlook: Geneva's riding a five-game winning streak that started with a 48-39 win over the Lancers to sweep their DuKane Conference series. The Vikings also beat Lake Park 46-41 in January. Geneva will lean on the outside shooting of Nate Valentine and the inside game of Josh Preston to take a step closer to the program's second straight sectional title. Lake Park, regional champs for a second straight year, received a combined 33 points from Luke Sgarbossa and Trevor Montiel on Friday. The key to victory? The 22 points from the rest of the starting lineup.

Advancement: Winner advances to the sectional final to play Wednesday's winner between No. 2 Glenbard East (22-9) and No. 3 Naperville Central (22-10) at 7 p.m. Friday.

-- Kevin Schmit

No. 2 Hampshire (21-11) vs. No. 1 Boylan Catholic (26-7)

Class 3A Rockford Boylan Catholic sectional semifinal

Game time: 7 p.m. Wednesday.

Road to the sectional: Hampshire beat Sandwich 47-41 and Plano 61-47. Boylan Catholic beat Prairie Ridge 66-32 and Woodstock North 65-50.

Outlook: Hampshire makes its first sectional appearance since 2015. The Whip-Purs outscored regional host Plano by 26 points in the second half to erase an 8-point halftime deficit. Sophomore Keynan Davis scored 10 third-quarter points against the Plano zone defense to spark the comeback. He finished with 15 points. Likewise, senior Nick Erickson (7 assists) scored 12 of his 14 points in the second half. Senior Collin Woods led the way with 16. Boylan drops from Class 4A to 3A this season. The Titans have won four regional titles in five seasons. Champions of the NIC-10 Conference two games clear of Rockford Jefferson, Boylan is led by three seasoned veterans: 6-foot-4, 215-pound senior forward Anthony Brown, 6-3 senior guard Johnny Close and 5-10 senior guard John Starck. Brown scored 24 points against Woodstock North. Close added 19.

Advancement: Winner advances to the Boylan Catholic sectional final to play the winner between No. 5 St. Francis and No. 2 Wauconda at 7 p.m. Friday.

Aurora Christian (24-6) vs. Indian Creek (35-0)

Class 1A NIU supersectional

Game time: 6 p.m. Tuesday.

Road to the supersectional: Aurora Christian beat Chicago Tilden 73-50, Mooseheart 73-48, Chicago Uplift 82-73 in overtime and Chicago Hope Academy 84-67. Indian Creek beat Durand 87-52, Rockford Christian Life 65-56, Lena-Winslow 58-51 and Dakota 57-51.

Outlook: Aurora Christian makes its second supersectional appearance in five years, its first under fourth-year coach Dan Beebe. The Eagles seek their third state berth. They finished fourth in Class A in 1990 and second in 1995. Aurora Christian is led by senior Taaj Davis, who has been remarkable throughout the playoffs. He scored 21 of his team-high 30 points in the second-half of a comeback victory over Uplift in a sectional semifinal. The 6-foot-1 guard poured in 26 points in the title game. Sophomore Danny New scored 42 points combined in two sectional games. Senior guard Karsen Olsen and sophomore forward Daniel Walker are double-digit scoring threats, and sophomore Jabari Sisco does the hard work in the lane. The NIU Convocation Center should be a charged environment. Excited Indian Creek fans gobbled up that school's entire 1,400 presale-ticket allotment for the program's first supersectional appearance on Saturday and Monday, according to the IC athletic department's Twitter account. The Timberwolves overcame a 5-point halftime deficit against Dakota to win the River Ridge sectional 57-51. Junior guard Drew Gaston led the way with 19 points against Dakota. Junior guard Cameron Russell contributed 14 points. Senior Cooper Larsen (6-foot-4) is a double-double threat.

Advancement: Winner advances to a Class 1A semifinal at Carver Arena in Peoria to play the winner between Madison and Athens at 11 a.m. Friday.

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