The proverbial local prep basketball oven has been preheating and warming steadily over the past three months as teams gear up for what will hopefully be strong finishes to the season. Temperatures now appear to be at full strength as competition is turning dramatic. In other words, it's tournament time !
The girls large school tournaments commenced this week with regional action in Class 3A and 4A. The Richwoods Lady Knights, led by University of Wisconsin bound Brenna Detra and ranked eighth in Class 4A, won their opener last night over Moline and will face East Moline on Thursday for the Richwoods Regional title. Edwardsville is ranked number one overall in Class 4A. In Class 3A locally, Morton, behind University of Illinois bound Sarah Livingston, will face Normal U-High for the Bloomington Central Catholic Regional title.
The 3A and 4A boys tournaments will commence in two weeks. Richwoods is the second seed at the East Moline Class 4A Regional behind top seeded Rock Island. The winner of that Regional will advance to the Sectional at Pekin. In Class 3A, Manual is the third seed at the East Peoria Regional behind Washington and Limestone. At Chillicothe, Notre Dame holds the second seed behind Metamora while Central has the third spot. These two Regionals will both feed into the Peoria Sectional at Bradley's Renaissance Center.
The Chicago Public League playoffs at Chicago State University Wednesday night feature a scintillating doubleheader with four of the five top ranked teams in the State playing. In game one, Simeon faces Morgan Park and Orr squares off against Whitney Young in the nightcap. Morgan Park is ranked first in Class 3A by the AP and Orr is ranked second. The Class 4A AP rankings have Simeon first and Young third. While the CPL playoffs are no longer part of the IHSA tournament system, one would be hard pressed to find a better set of games and teams possessing this much talent anywhere in the land.
On another note, Richwoods football star Mikail Davis this week signed a letter of intent to continue his career at St. Francis College in Joliet. The Knights had several players sign with colleges on last week's national signing day. Kendrick Foster confirmed his commitment to the University of Illinois. Tyler Brown will be an Illinois State Redbird. Avery Stewart and Zach Jackson will head to NAIA power William Penn. The aforementioned Brenna Detra is headed to Wisconsin on a track scholarship, but one wouldn't be surprised to see her on the hardwood as well. Logan Tuley-Tillman cemented his decison to become a Michigan Wolverine and Central's Josh Augusta will be wearing the black and gold of Missouri. Congratulations to all.