SYCAMORE (19-10) vs. ST. FRANCIS (20-7)
Where: Freeport High School, 701 W Moseley St, Freeport
When: 7:30 p.m. today
How they got here: Sycamore def. Rochelle, 66-46, in Burlington Central Regional semifinals; def. Hampshire, 51,44, in regional final. St. Francis def. Kaneland, 43-32, in IMSA Regional semifinal; def. Aurora Central Catholic, 46-43, in regional final.
Scouting St. Francis: After a surprise run to a 3A sectional final last season, veteran St. Francis coach Bob Ward and the defensive-minded Spartans are at it again. St. Francis is led by versatile guard Tim Zettinger and sharpshooter Andrew Kimball. The Spartans last week held their two opponents to an average of less than 38 points a game.
Outlook: Sycamore won its first regional championship since 2004 with an upset victory over Hampshire. Sycamore has been excellent at executing in the half court, often exploiting mismatches in the post with Devin Mottet, Ben Niemann and Scott Nelson. The Spartans have cut down their turnovers and will have to be equally efficient against a stingy St. Francis defense. Sycamore has played its best two games of the season in the playoffs, so it’s fair to expect a similar effort out of the Spartans tonight. It should be a low-scoring, slow-pace game.
– Ross Jacobson, firstname.lastname@example.org