Goss: Backcourt key for Bolingbrook vs. Oswego
By Dick Goss email@example.com February 28, 2013 9:56PM
Bolingbrook's Ben Moore. | Larry Kane~For Sun-Times Media
Updated: April 2, 2013 6:29AM
And then there were five.
Yes, only a handful of Class 3A and 4A boys basketball teams are standing to represent the Joliet area with regional finals on tap Friday night.
In Class 3A, Morris will take on Coal City at Herscher while Providence tackles Plano at Lincoln-Way West. The 4A match-ups are Bolingbrook against Oswego at Batavia and Joliet West against T.F. North at Lockport. All games tip off at 7:30 p.m.
Let’s begin with 4A.
Bolingbrook (20-7), the
No. 8 seed in the deep Bolingbrook Sectional, is coming off a 71-63 semifinal victory over Lemont. The Raiders can make things happen around the basket with 6-foot-8 Ben Moore and 6-6 Kenny Williams. Oswego does not have much size, but the top-seeded Panthers (28-2) are among the best teams in the state on the perimeter.
Inconsistent guard play has been Bolingbrook’s shortcoming. When the backcourt, led by sophomore Prentiss Nixon, plays well, the Raiders can duel anyone.
That seems to be the ticket against Oswego. If Bolingbrook’s guards can take care of the ball and put Moore and Williams in position to do damage, the upset could happen. In fact, I have a feeling it will, in a tight one.
As a friend told me earlier this season, if Oswego had a true big man the Panthers would be a threat to win state. Even without one, they are awfully good.
The regional champion would play West Aurora or Hinsdale Central in a sectional semifinal, with Benet facing Neuqua Valley or Waubonsie Valley in the other semifinal.
Joliet West (18-7) is the No. 4 seed in the Thornton Sectional. The Tigers dispatched Rich Central 67-42 in the semifinals at Lockport. The main reason was the outstanding defensive effort turned in by 6-7 Andre Hardy.
T.F. North (20-7 and the No. 5 seed) is a different animal, however. With 6-8 Marquis Todd and 6-6 Nicholas Wood around the basket, West will not match the Meteors’ size regardless of whether Hardy is able to hold his own.
The hope for the Tigers is the ability to hit enough outside shots to loosen up the Meteors. Guard Morris Dunnigan is as good as it gets taking the ball to the basket, but even he may have difficulty if Todd and Wood are sitting back waiting for him.
Joliet Central gave T.F. North a good run in the semifinals, trailing by three points with less than two minutes remaining before falling 48-38. The Steelmen did not finish at the basket nor shoot free throws particularly well, so realistically, they could have won.
West, meanwhile, beat Central twice this season. I think the Tigers will find a way to get past North, but unless they get hot from long range, it will not be easy. Look for something in the neighborhood of a five-point game.
The potential sectional semifinal match-ups are No. 1 Marian Catholic against Joliet West and No. 2 Bloom against upstart Sandburg, which stunned Homewood-Flossmoor 71-68 in the regional semfinals.
Now for 3A.
No attempt here to put the whammy on Providence, but the seeds in the Lincoln-Way West Regional were reversed. Providence (14-13), which beat Joliet Catholic 60-43 in the semifinals, should have been No. 1 and Plano (21-9) No. 2, not vice versa. The reason is the difference in competition the two have played.
Of course, it really doesn’t matter now. The top two seeds are in the title game, and any disagreement will be settled on the court. The combination of guard Kevin Kozan and forward Miles Boykin will power the Celtics to victory and a berth in next week’s Rich South Sectional.
In a column Sunday we noted the Herscher Regional was unusual in that all five teams sported winning records. My pick was Morris (16-11), and with due respect to Coal City (18-12), I don’t see any reason to change that now. By the way, the Redskins entered the regional as the No. 3 seed and the Coalers were No. 4.
Morris advanced when Austin Patterson hit a three-pointer from the top of the key as time expired to beat Prairie Central 50-47. Coal City knocked off Pontiac 50-42 behind Nick Peters’ 17 points and Lane Cowherd’s 16.
The regional winner will advance to the Rich South Sectional, where Rich East is the probable semifinal foe.
Providence’s sectional semifinal opponent, meanwhile, could well be Hillcrest. Until proven wrong, I’m staying with the Celtics to survive not only the regional, but also the sectional and earn a berth in the supersectional at Joliet Central.
We need someone to keep the fires burning. This season is nearing the finish line too quickly.