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.
First game: 8 p.m. Tuesday vs. No. 11 West Chicago or No. 22 Prosser
Outlook: Coming off a strong summer campaign, the Panthers haven’t skipped a beat this winter and have been among the top teams in the area throughout the season. But despite closing in on 20 victories and being at the top of the DuPage Valley Conference standings, Glenbard North was given only a No 6 seed at the Bartlett sectional. The squad could see a familiar foe in former conference opponent West Chicago to open the postseason with the winner advancing to take on No. 3 Oak Park in the regional final.
Chip Flanigan has done it all for the Panthers, averaging 20.2 points, 8.0 rebounds, 4.9 assists, 3.0 steals and 2.3 blocks per game. Jeremiah Fleming is at 14.5 points per contest to go along with a team-high 76 3-pointers. Kendall Holbert (10.1 points) and Justin Jackson (9.5 points, 5.8 rebounds, 5.8 assists) have also been major contributors.
Seed: No. 11
First game: 8 p.m. Monday, March 3 vs. No. 22 Prosser
Outlook: What a turnaround it has been this winter for West Chicago, which entered the last week of the regular season with 15 wins. If the Wildcats can upend Prosser, a matchup with former DuPage Valley Conference foe Glenbard North would happen in the semis.
John Konchar has put up outstanding all-around stats this winter, averaging 27.9 points per game to go along with 13.9 rebounds. Mikey Bibbs is averaging 14.4 points as the team’s No. 2 scorer and Mitch Henke is at 7.1 points per game. Ryan Orr (5.9 points) and Marco Lomibao (5.3 points) also contribute.
Seed: No. 13
First game: 6 p.m. Monday vs. No. 20 Proviso West
Outlook: An inexperienced team coming into the season, Glenbard West has competed well throughout the winter. The Hilltoppers faced Proviso West twice during the regular season and split the games. The winner takes on No. 4 Morton in the regional semis.
Senior Corey Davis tops the team in scoring with his 13.7 points per game average. Sophomore Justin Pierce is next at 10.9 points per contest while senior Will Reedy has also stepped up his game (8.5 points per game).
Seed:No. 2 in regional
First game: 7 p.m. Wednesday vs. No. 3 Burlington Central
Outlook: Wheaton Academy has found its stride as of late, having won eight of nine contests to improve to 17-8 under first-year head coach Pete Froedden. If the Warriors defeat Burlington Central, a matchup against No. 1 seed Sycamore could happen in the regional final.
Wheaton Academy is led by the inside-outside punch of Gordon Behr and Josh Ruggles, who are averaging 13.0 and 14.2 points per game, respectively.
Seed: No. 10
First game: 8 p.m. Monday vs. No. 23 Willowbrook
Outlook: Despite a rash of injuries to main contributors, the Falcons still found themselves with a record of 13-11 heading into the final week of the regular season. With a victory against Willowbrook, Wheaton North would see No. 2 Proviso East in the semis.
Leading the way for the Falcons has been Andrew Slivinski, who averages 12.6 points per game. Also helping out with the scoring load has been Matt Biegalski (10.2 points), Jake Heggeland (10.1 points) and Nick Jordan (8.2 points).