Despite losing an overtime game at Lakes last weekend, North Chicago is still the team to beat in the Class 3A Antioch sectional.
The Warhawks, who have been state-ranked all season, were awarded the No.1 seed on Thursday when the seedings were announced by the IHSA.
Lakes, meanwhile, got the No. 2 seed. But the Eagles arent too disappointed because they believe they gained something in their victory over North Chicago that might even trump a top seed.
That win was such a confidence builder for us, Lakes coach Chris Snyder said. Weve been in close games like that with them before and theyve usually ended up pulling away and winning by 15 or 20 points.
North Chicago had some runs again this time, too. But our guys held. That makes us feel really good. Weve got a lot to shoot for now. Were looking for a division championship, a conference championship and then good things in tournament.
Last year, Lakes lost to North Chicago in the sectional championship game at Grayslake Central. The Eagles also lost two regular season games to North Chicago. In fact, they hadnt beaten North Chicago in three years.
We dont want to get too far ahead of ourselves, Snyder said. Well try to do what weve done all year, take it one by one. But, than again, that win (over North Chicago) really shows us the potential of whats there and whats possible for us this year. Its exciting.
The possibilities could extend far beyond this season.
The game, which was broadcast by Comcast, drew a large, loud crowd, including the members of the Lakes fifth through eighth grade feeder programs.
This is one of those (signature) wins for our program, Lakes senior forward Justin Bergeron said. We had Junior Eagles Night tonight and we had so many people in the community here. This is a game those younger guys are going to remember for a long time, too.
As expected, Stevenson got the No. 1 seed in the Waukegan sectional, which includes all 14 of Lake Countys Class 4A schools.
The 23-team field, which was announced Thursday, also includes McHenry and eight schools from northwest Cook County.
This is the first time over the course of head coach Pat Ambroses 14-year career at Stevenson that the Patriots have earned the top slot.
The remaining top four teams at Waukegan are No. 2 Zion-Benton, No. 3 St. Viator and No. 4 Lake Forest. Mundelein and Warren got the fifth and sixth seeds respectively.
In the Class 3A sectional at Antioch, after North Chicago and Lakes, Ridgewood and Gordon Tech are the third and fourth seeds, respectively. Carmel is the No. 6 seed.
The boys Class 3A and 4A state tournament tips off regional play on Feb. 25.