Indian Creek to face Eastland in Class 1A sectional final
Indian Creek (22-8) vs. Lanark Eastland (25-4)
What: Class 1A River Ridge Sectional final
Where: River Ridge High School, 4141 Illinois 84, Hanover
When: 7 p.m. Friday
How they got here: Indian Creek defeated Annawan, 60-51, in regional semifinals and Paw Paw, 61-38, in regional finals. The Timberwolves beat River Ridge, 59-45, Tuesday in sectional semifinals.
Eastland defeated Forreston, 66-49, in regional quarterfinals and Milledgeville, 51-42, in regional semifinals. The Cougars beat Aquin, 66-61, in the regional final and topped Dakota, 54-50, in the sectional semifinals.
What's on the line: Indian Creek hasn't won a sectional in any team sport since Waterman and Shabbona merged in the early 1990s. Shabbona's boys basketball team previously won a sectional title in 1972.
Eastland scouting report: Eastland has been a power out of the Northwest Upstate Illini Conference West over the past decade, including earning fourth-place trophies in 2010 and 2013. Coach Tony Dunlap is in his 20th season with a record of 410-171. Dunlap's teams have a reputation of being fundamentally sound and not afraid of being physical.
Senior guard Dalton Shaner runs the show on offense for Eastland. Shaner scored 39 points in the sectional semifinal against Dakota, including 24 after half. He also had 30 points in a regional championship win over Aquin, including the game-winning 3-pointer with 3.4 seconds left.
Analysis: After an inconsistent first half of the season, Indian Creek is playing its best basketball at the right time, winning its past nine games.
The keys once again will be the play of Garrison Govig and Garrett Post inside. If they put up their normal numbers and get some contributions on the perimeter from Noah Holm and Stephen Muetze, Indian Creek could find itself playing for a trip to state Tuesday at Northern Illinois University.
– Ross Jacobson, email@example.com