Daily Chronicle sports editor Ross Jacobson and sports reporter Steve Nitz spend their days covering the area’s sports scene. Occasionally, they give their viewpoints on those local sports. In this installment of their Take 2 column, they discuss Class 1A and 2A boys basketball regional play.
Jacobson: Steve, all of our girls basketball teams have been eliminated from the playoffs, but the boys get their turn starting this week with regional play in Class 1A and 2A.
I’ll briefly recap the most recent developments for our local teams. Hinckley-Big Rock just lost its first game of 2013, DeKalb has won three of its last four games on the road, and the Northern Illinois Big 12 Conference East title is still up for grabs going into the final week.
I think I know the answer to this question already, but I’ll ask it anyway. What is the one area team you think is most likely to make a deep run in the postseason?
Nitz: That’s a pretty easy answer for me – H-BR. They’ve been the area’s best team all season. Should H-BR get past Mooseheart in the Westminster Christian Regional final, I think the Royals have a great shot of playing in the super-sectional at the Northern Illinois Convocation Center. But getting past the Ramblers won’t be easy, although you were there when H-BR got a 58-51 come-from-behind victory over Mooseheart on Dec. 5.
Ross, how big of a run can the Royals make?
Jacobson: I agree with you on H-BR. The Royals have been the most consistent team in the area all year and were ranked in the top 10 of the AP Class 1A poll for most of the year. With the way this team plays offensively, sharing the ball and getting steady contributions from up and down the roster, along with a renewed emphasis on the defensive end, I think it’s likely H-BR could go to state.
If you remember back in November, we put H-BR on the cover of our basketball preview section and asked that very question: Can the Royals get to state? The seniors on this team led H-BR to a third-place finish in soccer and I think they could make another trip downstate in basketball. But outside of the Royals who is your next best bet to get out of the regional round?
Nitz: I’m going to go with one of the area’s other Class 1A schools – Indian Creek. The Timberwolves are seeded third out in Erie (it’s unfortunate Indian Creek has to make an hour and 15 minute trip for a regional, but that’s what the IHSA chose with the switch to four classes), but Indian Creek should get past LaMoille in the quarterfinals.
I think the Timberwolves’ semifinal matchup against the hosts is certainly winnable, as is a possible championship matchup against Little Ten foe Paw Paw. The Bulldogs got a close, 51-47 win over Indian Creek on Feb. 8.
Do you agree with me on Indian Creek or do you see one of the area’s other teams making a strong run?
Jacobson: Indian Creek is certainly a possibility to win a regional title, but my eyes turn to Class 3A with Sycamore. They’re the No. 2 seed in the Burlington Central Regional and face Rochelle in the semifinals.
To me, that regional is wide open. Hampshire is the No. 1 seed, but any of the five teams, including Genoa-Kingston, in the regional have the potential to advance to the second week.