Eight teams now remain in each of the Class 3A and 4A boys state tournaments pending the outcome of Tuesday's Super Sectional/Elite Eight games. While it hardly seems possible, all will need to turn things up yet another notch should they hope to get to the finals next weekend in Peoria.
The Class 3A games have Wheaton St. Francis vs. Limestone at Dekalb and Morgan Park vs. Hillcrest at Joliet Central. Those winners will play in next Friday's first semi-final in Peoria. The other semi will feature the winners of North Chicago vs. Chicago Orr at Hoffman Estates and Cahokia vs. Chatham Glenwood at Springfield.
In Class 4A, Aurora West and Proviso East square off at Hinsdale Central while Simeon plays New Trier at Chicago State. Those winners advance to Friday night's semi in Peoria. Friday's second semi will have the winners of Chicago Heights Marian vs. Edwardsville at Normal facing the winners of Rockford Boylan vs. Lincolnshire Stevenson at DeKalb.
These games present several interesting scenarios. Of local interest, the Limestone Rockets were somewhat unheralded in the Mid Illini conference as Washington garnered most of the headlines, but don't tell the boys from Bartonville that they don't belong. Led by Kendall Davis, Terence Shelby, David Anderson, Keenan Hobson and Hank Mathews, these Rockets seem to be jelling at the right time and could wind up with hardware next weekend. Another 3A possibility is an all Chicago Public League title game with Orr and Morgan Park, led by Billy Garrett, Jr. North Chicago finished second last year and is looking for the title trophy as well this time around.
In 4A, the obvious main story line is Simeon's quest for a record tying fourth straight state championship. The Proviso-Aurora winner will certainly provide a stern test in the semi, however, should the Wolverines get past New Trier on Tuesday. In the bottom part of the bracket, Edwardsville is a team that could surprise the pundits.
All in all, and no matter who wins or loses, an exciting week of prep action lies ahead to be sure.