Here are five things to watch for in Wednesday’s boys basketball playoffs:
1. The headliner:On Tuesday, East Aurora vs. Benet was the marquee game. On Wednesday, it’s No. 8 Homewood-Flossmoor vs. No. 9 Crete-Monee in the Thornwood sectional semifinals. They met in January, and Crete-Monee pulled out a 67-62 win behind 25 points by DePaul recruit Jamee Crockett. Homewood-Flossmoor has returned junior forward Tim Williams since then and is picking up steam. Both teams have multiple Division I players and are state title contenders. The winner plays Thornton in the sectional championship on Friday.
2. Class 3A showdown:Hillcrest is the defending Class 3A champs, and Morgan Park is favored by many to be this year’s Class 3A winner. After Wednesday, only one will remain in the hunt. Hillcrest is led by Julius Brown, one of the top point guards in the area. Morgan Park is powered by McDonald’s All-American guard Wayne Blackshear. Both teams have had their ups and downs this season, but both have been steady lately.
3. Next up for the Boat Show:East Aurora’s Ryan Boatright and Co. shocked the state by knocking off previously-unbeaten No. 1 Benet on Tuesday. Which team will face the hot-handed Tomcats in the East Aurora sectional championship will be decided between Downers Grove South and Glenbard East on Wednesday. Both teams have stellar backcourts and have been ranked the entire season. Downers Grove South will be favored, but it wouldn’t be a surprise if Glenbard East emerged victorious.
4. City vs. suburban: Curie and Lyons has each lost only two games all season. Curie lost to Niles West at the Pontiac holiday tournament and fell to Brooks by three points in the Public League tournament. Lyons lost by one point to Dowers Grove South in December and lost to Riverside-Brookfield in early December. This has the all makings of a tight battle at the Argo sectional. The winner plays No. 2 Simeon.
5. We meet again:Niles West coach Bob Williams will face his former team Schaumburg in the New Trier sectional semifinals. Williams coached 18 seasons at Schaumburg, had a 347-155 record and won one state championship. He resigned from Schaumburg due to differences with the administration in 2009 and was hired at Niles West before last season. Niles West is 18-11 this season, and Schaumburg has gone 17-11.