The Class 3A and 4A boys basketball postseason begins next week. Teams in the area are hoping to reach Carver Arena in Peoria for the state finals March 20-22.
Regional: Addison Trail
Seed: No. 16
First game: 6 p.m. Monday vs. No. 17 North Lawndale Charter
Outlook: The Blazers enter the postseason having lost three in a row and five of their last six games. That slump doesn't mean they should be overlooked.
AT has quality wins over Morton, Hinsdale South and Stagg. All three of those wins came at home.
Guard play has been key for the Blazers. Senior point guard James Pupillo is a very good ballhandler that is capable of big scoring nights. Fellow senior guards Ronald Duling and Joe Kurucar are also key to the team.
First opponent North Lawndale Charter went 4-6 in the Public League Red West, the same division as powerhouses Whitney Young and Orr. The winner gets top sectional seed York in the March 7 regional final.
Seed: No. 21
First game: 8 p.m. Monday vs. No. 12 Bartlett
Outlook: After winning the DuPage Valley Conference for the third time in four years last season, the Rams went just 1-13 in the DVC this year.
Senior guard Jaron Hall gives the Rams a quality scoring guard, but the rest of the team is very young and inexperienced. Young players like freshman Mike Finley and sophomore Patrick Peterkin have shown flashes of their potential, but will have to put it together if the Rams are to make a playoff run.
East opens up on the road at Bartlett, which finished 4-8 in the Upstate Eight Valley. The winner of that game takes on No. 5 seed Conant, which the Rams beat for a regional title last year.
Seed: No. 5 in regional
First game: 7 p.m. Monday vs. No. 4 Genoa-Kingston
Outlook: The Broncos are the No. 5 seed out of five teams at the Genoa-Kingston regional.
Montini, which was fourth in the Suburban Christian Gold, is led by senior forward Matt Brachmann. Brachmann is a double-double machine and a tough physical force inside. His younger brother, Kevin, has emerged as a player to watch and has given the Broncos some quality minutes late in the season.
If the Broncos can top Genoa-Kingston, they will then face top regional seed Sycamore.
Regional: Timothy Christian
Sectional: Glenbard South
Seed: No. 13
First game: 7 p.m. Monday vs. No. 23 Instituto Health Sciences Charter
Outlook: Losing Khali Valrie in the middle of the season has really hurt the Trojans at the guard position, but senior forward Connor VanderBrug makes them a dangerous opponent for any team.
VanderBrug is averaging 21.5 points and 8.6 rebounds per game. He does everything for the Trojans both because he is good enough and out of necessity. The senior forward is 6-foot-6 with 3-point shooting range and good ballhandling skills.
The Trojans should be able to get past the regional quarterfinal and would see No. 7 Clemente in a semifinal. Clemente went undefeated in the Chicago Public League's Blue West, a third-tier conference in the CPL's system.
Regional: Elk Grove
Seed: No. 23
First game: 8 p.m. Monday vs. No. 10 Wheaton North
Outlook: The Warriors went winless in the West Suburban Gold and enter the postseason with just two wins.
Regional semifinal opponent Wheaton North is a balanced offensive team led by senior guards Andrew Slivinski and Matt Biegalski. Getting past the Falcons would require an upset, but guards Chris Poole, Ed Mickevicius and Will Unseth can get hot from the outside. Junior Kyle Rushing has also emerged late in the season.
Regional: Addison Trail
Seed: No. 1
First game: 7 p.m. Tuesday vs. No. 16 Addison Trail or No. 17 North Lawndale Charter
Outlook: It's not a good time of year to have the first slump of the season. The Dukes enter the postseason on a three-game losing streak, after losing just two games all season before that.
The losses did come to quality teams: Hinsdale Central, Oak Park-River Forest and Morton. York's senior laden squad is built for a quick turnaround, but they will have a target on their backs as the top seed in the sectional. Proviso East, OPRF and Morton are the next three seeds, in order, after the Dukes.
York could see Lyons Township in a regional final, which would be the fourth meeting between the teams this season. The Dukes won all three games during the regular season.