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Prep thoughts: Marist hot; H-F stays tough

Here are a few prep hoops thoughts as the playoffs heat up.

1. Marist is on a roll: Marist has to be considered the hottest team in the state coming off wins over previously-ranked No. 2 Curie in a regional championship last week and No. 6 Bogan in a sectional semifinal on Wednesday. The RedHawks defeated Curie with a buzzer beater and then came back from a 10-point deficit to upset Bogan. L.J. McIntosh had 26 points in Wednesday’s win. Marist was ranked at one point earlier this season, but had been up and down for the most part. It’s definitely up now.

2. Can Marist now make a run at Simeon?: The question now is whether Marist can roll its surprise run into one large surprise victory and upset top-ranked Simeon on Friday. Simeon was losing to Whitney Young after one half on Tuesday, but was dominant in the last two quarters and pulled away for the win. In talking to one East Suburban Catholic Conference coach, he felt Marist has a chance, but it needs certain factors to go its way. The coach said, “Three keys for Marist to win will be tempo, taking care of the ball and team rebounding, not just Nic Weishar. Simeon will have a difficult time matching up with Marist, especially guarding the Northwestern/Princeton style offense which relies on movement of the ball, cuts and reads. Simeon will have one day to prepare for this unique offense. Their length could make up for having to chase smaller guys, but if Marist knocks down some shots early from the perimeter, this could really open things up. If they don't or turn it over, transition buckets for Simeon are inevitable.”

3. It wasn’t pretty, but Homewood-Flossmoor advanced: As one reporter told me about Homewood-Flossmoor’s 36-22 win over Andrew on Wednesday, “It was the worst sectional game I’ve ever seen.” While Homewood-Flossmoor won’t be getting any artistic points, the Vikings did move on and have a chance to win their first sectional title since 2006. Homewood-Flossmoor is a senior-laded team that hasn’t exactly lived up to expectations over the last four years. This would be a chance for those players to make it up.

4. Lyons raises money for scholarship: Lyons raised $23,000 for the Kelli Joy O'Laughlin memorial scholarship during its Feb. 17 blackout game against Hinsdale Central.