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Boys Sectional Previews

By Aaron Brown

May 7, 2012




The following previews for each sectional site contain pertinent information about the state playoffs in addition to a variety of truly random facts. Note #1...the team listed as The Favorite is the #1 seed, the teams listed as The Contenders are the #2, #3, and #4 seeds, and the teams seeded #5, #6, and #7 are considered Sleepers. Note #2...This section contains NO predictions.



The Favorite: Loyola

The Contenders: New Trier, Maine South, Glenbrook South

Sleepers: Evanston, Niles West, Maine East

The Play-In: (8) Niles West vs (9) Maine West

Best First-Round Games: (4) Evanston vs (5) Maine East

Sectional Final Time: 1:00pm


The X-Factor: Loyola has gotten the better of New Trier in the sectional finals for the past two years. Can they repeat that feat to make it back to the state tournament, or do the Trevians have the drive to avoid what would actually be their fourth-straight sectional final loss in a row? That's assuming both teams last until Saturday, as there are no guarantees that the top-seeds will hold up against a much-improved field in 2012. Maine South and Glenbrook South have both shown they have the ability to earn high-quality wins this season, so both should have confidence they can knock off the top seeds if they make it to Friday night's semifinal round. To do that, they will have to get past Evanston or Niles West, as both teams will feel they are geared up to snag a couple of wins and make a surprise appearance in Saturday's final game. Maine East and Glenbrook North are no slouches, so it would be wise for both the Ramblers and Trevians not to overlook their quarterfinal opponents on Wednesday evening.


Random Alumni: Blackhawks announcer Pat Foley (Loyola). Actor and NRA President Charlton Heston (New Trier). Hillary Clinton (Maine East & Maine South). Rashard Mendenhall, Pittsburgh Steelers running back (Niles West). Derrick from MTV's Road Rules and just about every Real World/Road Rules Challenge show (Maine East). Chicago mayor Rahm Emanuel (New Trier). Chef and restaurant owner Charlie Trotter (New Trier). Jim Irsay, owner of the NFL Indianapolis Colts (Loyola).


The Favorite: Lockport

The Contenders: Andrew, H-F, Lincoln-Way North

Sleepers: Bradley, Lincoln-Way East, Bremen

The Play-In: (8) Lincoln-Way West vs (9) Lincoln-Way Central

Best First-Round Game: (4) Lincoln-Way North vs (5) Bradley

Sectional Final Time: 12:00pm


The X-Factor: The Lincoln-Way Central Sectional boasts what could be said is the most interesting field, seeding, and potential state tournament-qualifier of the eight sites this week. Top-seeded Lockport has been highly impressive in 2012, but they will need to climb the hurdle that is H-F, as the Vikings beat the Porters on both occasions this year. Andrew has some high-quality wins under their belt this season as well, but the T-Bolts also lost five games in a row during the final two weeks of the season, including losses to fourth-seeded LWN and fifth-seeded Bradley. Both the Phoenix and Boilers will like their chances if they can make it past the first round, while teams like Lincoln-Way East and Bremen both have the potential to pull off an upset and make a challenge for a spot in Saturday's sectional final. Ultimately, a state tournament berth is up-for-grabs beginning on Wednesday in New Lenox.


Random Alumni: WGN anchorman Mark Suppelsa (LWC). Toronto Raptors forward Julian Wright (H-F). WWE wrestler CM Punk (Lockport). 49ers offensive lineman Tony Pashos (Lockport). Pittsburgh Pirates first baseman Garrett Jones (Andrew). NFL defensive back Rodney Harrison (Marian). LA Dodgers pitcher John Ely (H-F). Nolan Harrison (H-F), former NFL DL lineman. Larry Rothschild (H-F) was a pitching coach for the Chicago Cubs and is currently pitching coach for the New York Yankees


The Favorite: Naperville North

The Contenders: Naperville Central, Hinsdale Central, Neuqua Valley

Sleepers: STC East, Metea Valley, Waubonsie Valley

Best First-Round Game: (4) Neuqua Valley vs (5) STC East

The Play-In: (8) STC North vs (9) Hinsdale South

Sectional Final Time: 12:00pm


The X-Factor: Naperville North has been the class of the field in 2012, so they enter the Metea Valley Sectional with the high expectations of a state tournament berth on Wednesday night. Things won't be easy for the Huskies, who play in what could be considered the deepest field of teams in the playoffs this season. Naperville Central has a track record of postseason success, while Hinsdale Central has had an extremely successful campaign that should have them geared up for a deep sectional run. The matchup between Neuqua Valley and St Charles East on Wednesday night should be the closest contest on opening day, with the winning team likely to present the top-seed with something to think about in the semifinal round. The hosts, Waubonsie, and St Charles North should also be taken seriously, as it wouldn't be a huge surprise to see any of the three teams pull of an upset if they get overlooked in the first round.


Random Alumni: Saints' head coach Sean Payton (Naperville Central). Tennessee Titans running back Chris Brown (Naperville North). Former White Sox owner Bill Veeck (Hinsdale Central). Cleveland Cavaliers guard Anthony Parker (Naperville Central). Bob Dudley, current CEO of BP (Hinsdale Central). WNBA player Candace Parker (Naperville Central). Former Phillies' and NFL Films announcer Harry Kalas (Naperville Central). Tennessee Titans wide receiver Justin McCareins (Naperville North). MLB players Jerry Hairston, Jr. and Scott Hairston (Naperville North).


The Favorite: Stevenson

The Contenders: McHenry, Libertyville, Wheeling

Sleepers: Buffalo Grove, Lake Forest

Best First-Round Game: (4) Wheeling vs (5) Buffalo Grove; (3) Libertyville) vs (6) Lake Forest)

The Play-Ins: (8) Mundelein vs (9) Highland Park; (7) Palatine vs (10) Vernon Hills

Sectional Final Time: 1:00pm


The X-Factor: The field at the Palatine Sectional has been mixed around (formerly the Vernon Hills Sectional in 2011) after some major turnover from the previous season. The top-seeded Patriots are on a roll and will fancy their chances of getting to the state tournament, but they will face several roadblocks in their quest to play at their home pool next weekend. McHenry has to be considered their main threat, as the Warriors know how to get things done in the postseason and are expected to ratchet up the intensity beginning on Wednesday in the quarterfinal round. It's anybody's guess how the next four seeds will play out, as Libertyville, Wheeling, Buffalo Grove, and Lake Forest have been taking turns winning games against each other during the regular season and should make for anintriguing quarterfinal round. Wheeling will hope to avenge their recent loss to Buffalo Grove, which allowed the Bison to overtake the Wildcats for the MSL East's top spot. Meanwhile, both Palatine and Mundelein are in rebuilding mode, but should be considered dangerous after both teams earned preliminary-round wins on Monday night.


Random Alumni: NFL head coach Rex Ryan (Stevenson). Geek Squad founder Robert Stephens (Wheeling). Detroit Red Wings' defensemen Brett Lebda (Buffalo Grove). NASCAR Truck series driver Ted Musgrave (Stevenson). Chicago Tribune columnist Phil Rosenthal (Lake Forest). William Goldman, the author of The Princess Bride (Highland Park). Former White Sox first baseman Frank Thomas (Libertyville). Baltimore Ravens safety Tom Zbikowski (Buffalo Grove). America's Next Top Model winner McKey Sullivan (Lake Forest). Houston Texans wide receiver Kevin Walter (Libertyville).


The Favorite: Fremd

The Contenders: Schaumburg, Conant, Hoffman

Sleepers: Hersey, Elk Grove

The Play-Ins: (8) Prospect vs (9) Meadows; (7) Barrington vs (10) St Viator

Best First-Round Game: (4) Hoffman vs (5) Hersey

Sectional Final Time: 1:00pm


The X-Factor: Some might say that the Schaumburg Sectional is wide-open. Fremd would say that it isn't, considering they swept the rest of the field throughout the regular season. The pressure will be on this week, however, as the Vikings look to continue their exceptional run of form in 2012. Their main challengers are Schaumburg, who gets to play in their home pool and has a history of stepping their game up when it matters most, and Conant, who beat the Saxons recently and would like nothing more than a chance to get back to the sectional finals like they did last year at Barrington. The matchup between Hoffman and Hersey is an interesting one, because both could present a tricky semifinal contest for Fremd on Friday. Otherwise, Elk Grove, Barrington, and Prospect will try to come up with something special to pull off an opening-round upset on Wednesday.


Random Alumni: Jonathan Spector, a US National Team and West Ham United soccer player (St Viator). Kristen Cavallari of The Hills (Barrington). Co-host of The View, Sherri Shepherd (Hoffman Estates). Former MLB star Dave Kingman (Prospect). Nightline co-anchor Terry Moran (Barrington). Colorado Avalanche goalie Craig Anderson (Barrington). YouTube co-founder Steve Chen (Hersey). Top Chef All-Stars competitor Dale Levitski (Prospect).


The Favorite: Sandburg

The Contenders: Brother Rice, Stagg, St Rita

Sleepers: Lindblom, Morgan Park, Shepard

The Play-In: (8) Mt Carmel vs (9) Argo

Best First-Round Game: (4) St Rita vs (5) Lindblom

Sectional Final Time: 12:00pm


The X-Factor: The Stagg Sectional was presented with a swerve when Sandburg was added to the field after the assignments were announced. That proved to be significant, as the Eagles claimed the top spot and whave quickly prepared for potential matchups with either Lindblom, Mt Carmel, or St Rita in the first two rounds. Meanwhile, Brother Rice has turned things up a notch recently, so they should feel confident heading into the postseason, especially after beating the Eagles a few weeks ago at their own tournament. Stagg should not be taken lightly as the three-seed, as they could throw a scare into the Crusaders if they are overlooked (if the Chargers can get past Morgan Park in the quarterfinal round).


Random Alumni: White Sox announcer Ed Farmer (St Rita). NBA star Dwayne Wade (Richards). John Kass, Tribune columnist (Richards). Channel 7 news anchor Cheryl Burton (Lindblom). Blackhawks' announcer Eddie Olczyk (Brother Rice). NY Giants offensive lineman David Diehl (Brother Rice). Northwestern University football coach Pat Fitzgerald (Sandburg). NFL quarterback Donovan McNabb (Mt Carmel). Former NHL player Chris Chelios (Mt Carmel). Jerry Sanders, founder and CEO of Advanced Micro Devices. Eileen Jackson Southern, professor of Renaissance and African-American music; the first African-American woman to become a tenured full professor at Harvard University. Dick Portillo (Argo) is a restaurateur and founder of the Portillo Restaurant Group, the most notable business of which is Portillo's


The Favorite: Latin

The Contenders: St Ignatius, DeLaSalle, Lane Von Stueben

Sleepers: Northside, Young, Von Steuben

The Play-In: (8) Payton-Jones vs (9) Juarez

Best First-Round Game: (4) Lane vs (5) Northside

Sectional Final Time: 1:00pm


The X-Factor: The tables have turned at the UIC Sectional, as Latin takes over the top spot from St Ignatius, who qualified for state from here for the last three years. They'll have their work cut out for them if they wish to overtake the Romans, who boast the talented trio of Eddie Wickes, Jacob Himmel, and James Ruggiero. Neither team should overlook their opening round games with Von Steuben and Juarez, respectively, while the likes of DeLaSalle, Lane, Northside, and Whitney Young will also look to push for an appearance in the sectional finals on Saturday?


Random Alumni: Michelle Obama (Young). ESPN show host and journalist Michael Wilbon (St Ignatius). Former First Lady Nancy Reagan (Latin). John Tobias, the creator of Mortal Kombat (Young). Steve Wilkos, the bodyguard from The Jerry Springer Show (Lane). Former Blackhawks' owner Bill Wirtz (Latin). Mayor Richard M. Daley (DeLaSalle).  Emily McAsey (MM) - State Representative.


The Favorite: Fenwick

The Contenders: Lyons, Curie, Oak Park

Sleepers: York, St Patrick

The Play-In: (8) Foreman vs (9) R-B; (7) Morton vs (10) Clark

Best First-Round Game: (3) Curie vs (6) St Patrick

Sectional Final Time: 12:00pm


The X-Factor: It's a shame that the top two teams in the state enter the playoffs with the likelihood that they will play in the sectional finals instead of at the state tournament. Nevertheless, both the Friars and Lions cannot overlook several opening round challengers at the York Sectional, including a highly-dangerous Curie team and the best possible fourth-seed in sectionals (Oak Park). The field is quite deep as well, with both York and St Patrick eyeing opening-round upsets after taking their bumps during the regular season. Assuming there are no surprises in the quarterfinals, Eduardo Chavez and the Condors could shake things up on Friday night against #1 Lyons, while the Huskies will be looking for revenge after their most recent loss to the defending champs. Regardless of who survives what could easily be described as "the best sectional ever", all eyes should be on the pool in Elmhurst for Saturday's sectional final game at noon.


Random Alumni: Illinois Governor Pat Quinn (Fenwick). Former governor Rod Blagojevich (Foreman). Ray Kroc, the founder of McDonald's (Oak Park). Poet and novelist Carl Sandburg (York). Arthur Nielsen, the
founder of TV's Nielsen Ratings (Morton). Author and Nobel Prize recipient Ernest Hemingway (Oak Park). Lawyer Peter Francis Geraci, from the random TV commercials (Foreman). Milwaukee Bucks forward Corey Maggette (Fenwick). University of Illinois AD Ron Guenther (York). State senator Dan Cronin (Fenwick). St Louis Rams defensive end Victor Adeyanju (Curie).





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