With the announcement last week of the various seedings and pairings across the state for the boys basketball tournaments, Peoria teams now have a clear picture of the start of their journey.
At Metamora, the Richwoods Knights are seeded second while Notre Dame is fourth. The Knights, after their season finale this Friday at rival Central, will face IVC next week in the regional. Top seed Metamora will face the winner of the Notre Dame-Streator game. The two survivors will meet next Friday for the regional title.
At the Manual regional, the host Rams are seeded second behind Limestone and will play the winner of the Washington-Central game. Central is a six seed. Limestone will play the winner of the Morton-East Peoria game. This regional final is also next Friday and the winner as well as the Metamora winner will advance to the sectional at Bradley University the following week.
Moving the attention north, this past weekend saw three memorable games played with a combined total of six overtimes required to determine the winners. Curie downed Whitney Young in the Public League title game, but needed four overtimes to do it. Defending 4A runner up Stevenson went two overtimes in defeating Lake Forest and was led by Jalen Brunson's 56 points in an amazing performance. For an encore, DeLaSalle beat Mt. Carmel Saturday in the Catholic League title game, this one requiring just one overtime.
Alas, all of this outstanding play by these teams is now being overshadowed by rules infractions on the part of some highly ranked teams which have or may knock them out of the state tournament. Three city teams are out. (www.ihsa.org) Bogan, Hyde Park and Uplift were all ruled ineligible for the tourney because they played in either too many tournaments or tournament games during the season. Bogan and Hyde Park were seeded one and two in the Chicago Vocational sectional. Uplift was seeded second in the Antioch sectional.
On the heels of that announcement, it has come to light that none other than the Curie Condors are under investigation for using ineligible players in Fridays game against Young. (www.highschoolcubenews.com) The issue was known prior to tip off, but Curie was told by the CPL to proceed with the game, leading Coach Mike Oliver to speculate that the main interest of the Public League was the gate and concession receipts from the overflow crowd. They await their fate from both the CPL and the IHSA.
Last week, the Homewood-Flossmoor 4A girls team was informed two hours before their regional final that they were also out of the tournament for various infractions.
All of this raises a multitude of obvious issues, the most important being what these schools and these coaches are doing with respect to the young people that play for them. It also makes one wonder about just what is going on when the overseeing organizations, namely the IHSA and the Chicago Public Schools, are waiting until the last moments to make these rulings when most of these infractions have been known and obvious for quite some time.
In any event, it is hoped none of this will detract from the upcoming efforts of athletes all over the state who look forward to competing in these tournaments in a fair and sportsmanlike fashion while abiding by the rules as set forth.