Rolling Meadows, Barrington set to meet in MSL title game again
The Mid-Suburban League boys basketball championship will be set to repeat.
Rolling Meadows and Barrington, who played in last spring's championship game, have earned their ticket to next Wednesday's title game at Barrington. With wins last week, each team clinched their divisions.
Meadows beat Prospect last week to go 9-0 in the East. The Mustangs (24-4), who beat Prospect twice this season, will be looking to sweep the division for the second year in a row with a win over Wheeling on Friday.
Barrington's division win is a bit more complicated.
The Broncos (21-4), who are 7-2 in division play, can clinch the division title outright win a win a win over Palatine on Friday. With a loss to the Pirates, the teams will share the division title, but Barrington will advance to the MSL tile game based on more division wins by greater than 7 points.
"We are excited to be back in this game," Barrington coach Bryan Tucker said. "We don't put much stock in last year as we prepare for this game, since both teams have a completely different makeup this year compared to last year. I am happy for our seniors, knowing all of the work that they have put into this season, who get another opportunity to play in this game."
Rolling Meadows won last spring's game 49-41. The game was played in a near-empty Rolling Meadows gym due to the COVID-19.
Meadows starts just one senior in Orlando Thomas, who started in the spring game, along with junior Cameron Christie, who scored 22 points in that game. Foster Ogbonna, who also saw some time in that game, along with newcomers Mark Nikolich-Wilson and freshman Ian Miletic round out the starters for the Mustangs.
"It is a different site this year," Rolling Meadows coach Kevin Katovich said. "We are obviously very proud of our guys for getting there. We still have a few games left, but we feel lucky and proud to represent the East and hopefully put on a good show for everyone."
Barrington has nearly its entire squad back from its last appearance in the MSL championship game.
The Broncos start five seniors. Will Grudzinski, Nate Boldt, Daniel Hong, Evan Jno-Baptiste and Nick Bordenet all played last season and have been the key to Barrington' success this year.
The game will feature great matchups inside and outside of the paint.
Grudzinski, who is 6-foot-6 and the 6-8 Boldt, will get to battle the 6-7 Nikolich-Wilson and the 6-4 Ogbonna. Meanwhile, it will be two of the best backcourts in the area with Thomas and Christie for Rolling Meadows working against Hong and Jno-Baptiste.
"Rolling Meadows is an extremely talented and well-coached team, something that we have to go against every night in the league," Tucker said. "The West is exceptionally talented and deep this year and every game has been a battle."
Hoffman Estates' success:
One of the great success stories of this season is the resurgence of Hoffman Estates basketball.
The Hawks have a great mix of old and new players led by Mike and Nick Vuckovic, Darien Irvin, DJ Wallace and Yashua Pettis-Taylor.
The Hawks are currently 21-5 heading to Friday's game with Schaumburg. All of Hoffman's five losses have come to MSL teams. It has four losses in the MSL West and lost before Christmas to Prospect.
Hoffman, which hosts a Class 4A regional, is 16-0 against non-MSL teams. With three more wins, the 2021-2022 Hoffman team would become the second winningest team in school history. The 2003-2004 team won 30 games and went downstate.
The boys' state basketball tournament returns this year after being canceled the past two years due to the pandemic.
The sectional seeds were announced by the Illinois High School Association Thursday afternoon.
In the Class 4A sectional at Glenbrook South, the host Titans are the top seed, followed by New Trier, Rolling Meadows and Glenbrook North in the top four. New Trier, Evanston, Hoffman Estates and Maine South are regional hosts.
In the Class 4A sectional at Barrington, the host Broncos earned the top seed, with Libertyville, Stevenson and Palatine rounding out the top four. Libertyville, Mundelein, Buffalo Grove and Hersey are regional hosts.
The winners at GBS and Barrington meet in the Rolling Meadows supersectional, which will be played at the Forest View Educational Center in Arlington Heights.
In Class 3A, St. Viator is in the North Chicago sectional and is the No. 9 seed.
Pairings and game dates will be announced by the IHSA on Friday.
Bailey reaches 600 wins:
Northwest suburban resident and St. Patrick head coach Mike Bailey won his 600th career game when his Shamrocks beat Marist 63-53 last Saturday. Bailey, who has been at the helm of St. Pat's program since 1994, needs just 59 wins to surpass the legendary Max Kurland as the winningest coach in school history.
Cyrus Turner fundraiser:
There is a Go Fund Me page to support the visitation and burial of former Hersey basketball star Cyrus Turner, who passed away suddenly on January 31 at the age of 46. Turner was all-conference and all-area in 1993 when he helped led the Huskies to a 21-6 record.
The page is https://gofund.me/30b63292.