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Time for UEC, FVC to make crossovers more meaningful
By John Radtke | Daily Herald Columnist

Cary-Grove and sophomore Katie Barker, right, will host Grayslake North tonight in the unofficial Fox Valley Conference championship game.


John Starks | Staff Photographer

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Published: 2/7/2013 9:06 PM

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A sports writer I once worked with had a column called Some Things I Think I Think.

Today is my version of Some Things I Think I Think, all related to the girls basketball season that will enter the state tournament series for Class 3A and Class 4A teams beginning Monday.

•As the regular season winds down, we’re left wondering, again, why the Upstate Eight and Fox Valley conferences don’t make more out of their end-of-season crossover games, especially those between the division champions.

I’ve never been a big advocate of every conference doing the same thing — variety is the spice of life and it’s what makes each conference unique. But the UEC and FVC could certainly take a page from the Mid-Suburban League and the North Suburban Conference, among others, on this one.

Why the UEC and FVC have chosen not to anoint games like tonight’s Geneva at Neuqua Valley and Grayslake North at Cary-Grove games official championship contests remains beyond understanding. If anyone thinks for one minute the girls and coaches of those four teams won’t be treating tonight’s games like championship games, they’re wrong.

Keep the divisional championships, keep the trophies that come with them, but treat the games between divisional champs as conference championship games. The MSL does this one right. The league invites the all-conference players from every school to the championship game and recognizes those players at halftime. The stands are packed and there’s something on the line — conference supremacy.

It’s time the UEC and FVC follow that lead, or abolish the crossover system and let everyone schedule an additional nonconference game.

•On to the postseason. We’ll preview the entire Class 3A and 4A tournament as it pertains to Fox Valley schools in Sunday’s Daily Herald but for now ... the most significant change to the area postseason is St. Edward playing in Class 3A. Even though the Green Wave has had a subpar season with just two wins, and they’re seeded No. 18 in the Vernon Hills sectional complex, they have a decent chance of winning a regional game Monday night in Lake Villa at the Lakes regional against No. 15 Chicago Senn. But a win would create a regional semifinal challenge against defending state runner-up Vernon Hills, and that’s a tall task for anyone let alone a team with two wins.

•Speaking of Class 3A, will anyone beat Montini? Not likely, although Quincy Notre Dame, which knocked off class 4A state-ranked Rolling Meadows last weekend and is undefeated on the season, looms as a potential roadblock for the Broncos in the state semifinals.

•And still more from Class 3A. Burlington Central hosts a regional next week and the Rockets need one more win to set a new school record for wins in a season. Yes, the regional is on their floor and yes BC is the No. 1 seed, but this regional is a doozy. Kaneland, which beat Central earlier in the season, Sycamore and even Hampshire all have to believe they can come away with the title, as does No. 2 seed Plano, a team that has flown under the radar to a 19-6 season.

•Intermission time. Which brings us to laud once again the change in the 3-point showdown system. Thank goodness the second game on doubleheader nights won’t be starting at 8:15 or 8:30 because of an overtime first game and three sudden-death shootouts in the 3-point contest.

•On to Class 4A. While every coach can say they’re in a tough regional if they want to, Huntley coach Steve Raethz can say it emphatically. When was the last time a 21-5 team drew a No. 3 seed? The Red Raiders have to open against No. 2 DeKalb, then likely see No. 1 seed Belvidere North if they beat DeKalb. Why do I bring this up? Because, I believe it’s time for the IHSA to stop this silliness of predetermined regionals. Schools like Huntley, Streamwood, South Elgin, Cary-Grove, etc., get penalized because they’re lumped into sectionals with Rockford schools, which means under current IHSA guidelines, the regionals are predetermined. If they were placed in the Bartlett sectional complex, for example, they would go through a fairer seeding process and there’s no way Huntley, DeKalb and Belvidere North would all be in the same regional.

•We won’t leave today without bringing up Class 1A. Westminster Christian will meet Christian Liberty tonight for the Harvest Christian regional title after Harvest Christian’s administration showed it had some brains Thursday night and postponed the game a day. The winner tonight moves on to the Westminster sectional next week and even though I know this will never happen, Harvest Christian and Westminster Christian should just alternate being regional and sectional hosts every year. They have outstanding facilities for Class 1A schools, and their administrations are top-notch.

And those are just Some Things I Think I Think.