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Hinsdale Central, South could clash again in playoffs

Published: Sunday, March 2, 2014 9:30 a.m. CDT
(Erica Benson - ebenson@shawmedia.com )
Hinsdale South's Stefan Kaplarevic passes the ball during a Feb. 11 game against Morton. The Hornets face Downers Grove North in their first playoff game Monday.
(Bill Ackerman - backerman@shawmedia.com )
York's Stanley Roberts fends off Hinsdale Central's Grant Lillard in a Feb. 18 game in Hinsdale. The Red Devils, champions of the West Suburban Silver for the second straight year, head into the playoffs riding an eight-game winning streak.

The Class 3A and 4A boys basketball playoffs tip off next week, and while teams from the area will head different directions at the start of the postseason, the end goal is the same — to reach Carver Arena in Peoria for the state finals March 21 and 22.

Hinsdale Central

Class: 4A

Regional: Naperville Central

Sectional: East Aurora

Seed: No. 4

First game: 7 p.m. Tuesday vs. No. 13 Hinsdale South or No. 20 Downers Grove North

Outlook: After claiming their second straight West Suburban Silver conference title, the Red Devils head into the playoffs with plenty of momentum.

Last year’s conference title didn’t translate into playoff success as Central lost its playoff opener, but there will be no surprises in the first playoff game this year. Central faced, and lost to, Hinsdale South in the first game of the season, falling 65-63 in overtime. The Red Devils comfortably defeated Downers Grove North twice in WSS play.

Six-foot-7 junior forward Matt Rafferty presents matchup problems for opponents. Not only is he a tough post player, but he has range to stretch the floor. The 6-7 Ian Bunting add more size in the paint. Chase Hamilton is a reliable scorer, Jordan Bradshaw a solid point guard, and Grant Lillard a tenacious defender.

If the Red Devils can win their first postseason game, they would advance to the March 7 regional title game, where No. 5 Naperville Central would likely be waiting.

Hinsdale South

Class: 4A

Regional: Naperville Central

Sectional: East Aurora

Seed: No. 13

First game: 6 p.m. Monday vs. No. 20 Downers Grove North

Outlook: Wins have been harder to come by for Hinsdale South since 2014 started, but the Hornets are more than ready for the postseason.

Of the eight losses they’ve suffered in 2014, two have come against West Suburban Gold conference champion Proviso East (one in multiple overtimes), two were against a dangerous and athletic Morton team, and another came on the road at Quincy, which is traditionally one of the toughest places to play for opposing teams.

“We’ve played some of the best teams in the state,” South head coach Brett Moore. “It seems like we’ve played Morton and Proviso East about every other day. We’ve had some tough games, but we’ve gotten better and better as the season has gone on.”

A 63-55 win against Addison Trail on Friday upped South’s record to 15-11 as they finished off the WSG season with a win.

In 6-foot-9 sophomore center Barret Benson, South has one of the top post players in the area. Six-foot-5 forward Tyler Zampa complements Benson in the paint. Guard Larry Motuzis is a versatile playmaker who scored 15 points and grabbed nine rebounds against AT.

Downers Grove South

Class: 4A

Regional: Plainfield East

Sectional: East Aurora

Seed: No. 14

First game: 6 p.m. Monday vs. No. 19 Batavia

Outlook: South is not blessed with an abundance of size, so the secret to the Mustangs’ success is no secret. Anyone that has seen them play knows their strength is the outside shot, and since the calendar flipped to 2014, South has been on fire from long range.

Danny Spinuzza, Paul Engo III, Wes Dahle, Kovas Rugienius, Mantas Augustinavicius and Matt Zinnecker can all bury the 3-pointer, but teams that over-commit to defending the perimeter pay the price because all those players, plus Darryl Howard, Javon Turner and DeAndre Washington, are all capable of slashing to the hoop and finishing at the rim.

If the Mustangs can move past Batavia, they would face Bolingbrook in a regional semifinal at 7 p.m. Tuesday.

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