Warren's Mitch Munda celebrates the Blue Devils' sectional final victory over Mundelein with fans at Barrington on Friday.
George Leclaire | Staff Photographer
Class 4A NIU (DeKalb) supersectional
Warren (26-3) vs. Rockford Auburn (30-2)
When: 8 p.m. today
Where: Convocation Center on the campus of Northern Illinois University, DeKalb
Tickets: available 7 a.m. to noon today in the athletic office at Warren's Almond Road campus
Head coaches: Warren: Chuck Ramsey (19th season, 403-141); Rockford Auburn: Bryan Ott (13th season)
Warren probable starting lineup: F Darius Paul (6-8 Sr.), G Mitch Munda (6-4 Sr.), C Nathan Boothe (6-9 Sr.), G JoVaughn Gaines (6-4 Sr.), G Jameris Smith (5-10 Sr.)
Rockford Auburnprobable starting lineup: PG Fred Van Vleet (6-0 Sr.), G Elijiah Smith (5-9 Sr.), G LaMark Foote (5-11 Sr.), G Javauntae Hicks (6-0 Sr.), SF Tramel Rideout (6-0 Jr.)
Road to the supersectional: Warren def. Hersey (65-50) and Stevenson (51-47) in the Stevenson regional, def. Lake Forest (51-35) and Mundelein (87-52) in the Barrington sectional; Rockford Auburn def. Machesney Park Harlem (66-46) and Rockton Hononegah (56-40) in the Rockford Auburn regional; def. Huntley (62-48) and Elgin (67-56) in the Dundee-Crown sectional.
Outlook: Defending state runner-upWarren will be facing a team that makes up for its lack of height with athleticism that rivals that of Proviso East, which is the last team to beat the Blue Devils (73-66 in the McDonald's City-Suburban Showdown on Feb. 18)."They're quick," Warren coach Chuck Ramsey said of the Knights. "They got a tremendous point guard that makes everything happen." Auburn senior point guard Fred Van Vleet is a Wichita State recruit who stands only 6 feet but was the principal reason why the Knights earned their second sectional championship in as many years. Against Elgin in the Dundee-Crown sectional final, Van Vleet scored 32 points, including a pair of long 3-pointers in the fourth quarter, to keep the Maroons at bay. Javauntae Hicks, a 6-foot senior, added 11 points and 10 rebounds for the Knights. ... Against Mundelein in the Barrington sectional final, Warren spotted the Mustangs a 3-0 lead, but then scored 18 unanswered points and dominated the rest of the way. Western Michigan-bound Darius Paul paced the Blue Devils with a career-best-tying 30 points and 19 rebounds. JoVaughn Gaines added a season-high 19 points, 8 steals and 8 rebounds. Mitch Munda (13 points) also scored in double digits, while holding Division-I prospect Sean O'Brien to 5 points. "That's the best we've played this year," Ramsey said. Warren will feature four starters - Nathan Boothe (6-9), Paul (6-8), Munda (6-4) and Gaines (6-4) - taller than any Auburn starter. The Knights start three 6-footers, a 5-11 guard and a 5-9 guard. They'll be trying to avoid defeat at NIU's Convocation Center in the supersectional for the second straight year after falling last season to Glenbard East 63-51. "We got to be able to handle the ball against pressure, finish our shots, get stops and guard this great point guard (Van Vleet)," Ramsey said. "It's a tremendous team we're playing."
Advancement: winner plays in the state semifinals, 6:30 p.m. Friday at Peoria's Civic Center, against the winner of the Hinsdale Central supersectional between West Aurora and Proviso East.
- Joe Aguilar