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Scouting the Fox Valley postseason
By John Radtke | Daily Herald Staff

Burlington Central’s Camille Delacruz and Alison Colby swarm Crystal Lake South’s Carina Madoni during a Christmas tournament game.


Laura Stoecker | Staff Photographer

Streamwood’s Hannah McGlone (44) reaches for a rebound against St. Charles East.


Laura Stoecker | Staff Photographer

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Published: 2/9/2013 7:54 PM

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Class 4A Rockford East sectional

Streamwood regional

Pairings: Monday — Game 1) Jacobs (3-22) vs. Dundee-Crown (3-23), 6 p.m.; Game 2) Elgin (8-19) vs. Larkin (3-24), 7:30 p.m. Tuesday — Game 3) Streamwood (19-8) vs. winner game 1, 6 p.m.; Game 4) South Elgin (16-11) vs. winner game 2, 7:30 p.m. Thursday — Championship, 7:30 p.m.

Outlook: If seeds hold, a Streamwood vs. South Elgin championship game would be a rematch of the title game last year at South Elgin, which the Storm won 66-50. Jacobs and Dundee-Crown kick off the regional, with both coming off wins in there Fox Valley Conference crossover games Friday night. Jacobs owns wins of 45-40 and 43-35 over the Chargers this season. The Golden Eagles have been led by the scoring of Victoria Tamburrino (6.8 ppg), Payton Berg (6.6) and Jenny Barnec (6.1) while D-C’s top scorers have been Lauren Lococo, Jillian Weichmann and Emily Michalski. A fourth Elgin-Larkin game of the season follows that. The Maroons, led by Kristin Tayag and Maggie Powers, are 2-1 against the Royals this season, losing the first meeting 53-47 and winning the last two 49-37 and 44-35.

“I think we’re the better team but if Larkin plays well and we struggle offensively it can go either way,” said Elgin coach Dr. Nick Bumbales. Larkin is led by the scoring of Quixmia Washington.

But barring upsets, it’ll come down to a Streamwood-South Elgin title game and they are two teams that have gone in different directions the past couple weeks. South Elgin, the No. 2 seed, has won 4 of its last 5 with the only loss to Upstate Eight Valley champ Neuqua Valley. The Storm has been bolstered by the return from injury of junior point guard Savanah Uveges and the continued improved play of freshman guard Nadia Yang, along with the defense of senior Kara Rodriguez and junior Kennede Miller and the 3-point shooting of senior Nell Wentling, who hit 8 3-pointers in a come-from-behind overtime win against Batavia Thursday.

“We’re playing well right now,” said South Elgin coach Tim Prendergast. “Savanah’s really starting to get her legs under her and she’s getting her rhythm more all the time. I feel like we’re playing our best basketball right now and that’s what you want. If we do get to play Streamwood, it should be a good game again. I feel like we’ve got some depth and we can utilize our speed.”

Streamwood, meanwhile, comes into the regional having lost 4 of its last 6 games. The Sabres had the UEC River title in site but faltered against Geneva and Batavia and then lost their crossover game to Bartlett 58-39 after beating the Hawks 43-36 earlier in the season.

“It’s been a combination of things,” said Streamwood coach George Rosner. “It’s offense, it’s defense, it’s a lot of different things. We just need to play better as a team. There’s no major fix needed, we just have to get back to playing tough defense, get our running game going again and make some shots. We’re trying to get back to doing the things well that we’ve done all season and not make some of the silly mistakes we’ve made lately.”

Chicago State-bound Jessica Cerda leads the Sabres in scoring at 14.6 ppg, with senior Deja Moore at 12.5 and junior Hannah McGlone at 11.1 ppg and 10.7 rpg.

Streamwood is seeking its first regional title since 1988.

Advancement: The Streamwood regional winner plays the CL South regional winner at 7:30 p.m. Monday, Feb. 18 in a Rockford East sectional semifinal.

CL South regional

Pairings: Monday — Game 1) McHenry (13-16) vs. CL Central (11-13), 6 p.m.; Game 2) Prairie Ridge (15-9) vs. Grant (10-17), 7:30 p.m. Wednesday — Game 3) Cary-Grove (21-6) vs. winner game 1, 6 p.m.; Game 4) CL South (22-6) vs. winner game 2, 7:30 p.m.; Friday — Championship, 7:30 p.m.

Outlook: Convention wisdom would have top-seeded Cary-Grove playing No. 2 CL South in the Friday title game, which would be a rematch of the defensive affair won by the Trojans 28-27 in last year’s title game. C-G and South have split their meetings this season, the Gators winning 45-43 at Gator Alley and the Trojans returning the favor 48-36 at C-G. Cary-Grove is after its fourth straight regional title while South’s last regional crown was 2009. South and Cary-Grove have beaten every other team in this regional this season.

“It’s going to be tough,” said Cary-Grove coach Rod Saffert. “You’re playing people for a third time and that’s always tough. It will be a good test for whoever wins it.”

The FVC Valley champion Trojans are led by seniors Olivia Jakubicek (15.5 ppg, 7.5 rpg) and Joslyn Nicholson (10.9 ppg, 4.1 rpg) and sophomore Katie Barker, who has played in 12 games since returning from a knee injury.

“We’ll need everyone to contribute in the playoffs and everyone to be a threat,” said Jakubicek after scoring 24 points to lead her team to a 54-46 win over Grayslake North Friday in the FVC “championship” game.

CL South coach Kyle McCaughn said Saturday 5-11 junior Sara Mickow (13.4 ppg, 10.9 rpg) was still in a boot and questionable for the regional. Junior Rachel Rassmussen (9.1 ppg) has stepped up in Mickow’s absence.

“The first game is the important one,” said McCaughn, whose team beat PR 38-34 and 41-37 this season and did not play Grant. “We had two great games with PR. But we’re at home and we should be able to use that to our advantage. We feel it’s a very winnable regional for us.”

Advancement: The CL South regional winner plays the Streamwood regional winner at 7:30 p.m. Monday, Feb. 18 in a Rockford East sectional semifinal,

Belvidere North regional

Pairings: Monday — Game 1) Rockford East (5-15) vs. Rockford Jefferson (0-21), 7:30 p.m. Tuesday — Game 2) Belvidere North (21-7) vs. winner game 1, 6 p.m.; Game 3) Huntley (21-6) vs. DeKalb (22-4), 7:30 p.m. Thursday — Championship, 7:30 p.m.

Outlook: One of the toughest regionals around with three 20-plus win teams. Top-seeded Belvidere North, DeKalb and Huntley all have a chance of coming out of this field.

“It’s a very difficult regional,” said Huntley coach Steve Raethz, whose team lost to DeKalb 55-40 last year in the regional final. “We’re familiar with DeKalb from the last two years and they have a lot of the same kids. We’re expecting a great game and if we do the things we’re capable of doing we have as good a chance as anyone to come of there. Our goal all season has been to win a regional championship.”

The Red Raiders, who have won five regionals under Raethz, the last in 2011, are led by the Andrews sisters, junior Sam and freshman Ali, and the steady play of senior Haley Ream. Northern Illinois Big 12 champ DeKalb has been without injured senior guard Rachel Torres the past few games. The Barbs are led by 6-2 junior Courtney Bemis and 6-1 sophomore Maddy Johnson.

Advancement: The Belvidere North regional winner plays the Rockford Auburn regional winner at 7:30 p.m. Tuesday, Feb. 19 in a Rockford East sectional semifinal.

Rockford Auburn regional

Outlook: Hononegah (20-6) is the top seed at Auburn. The Indians won the NIC-10 title, wrapping up a 16-0 lead season with a 46-39 win over No. 2 seed Harlem on Friday. Hononegah has won 14 straight since Christmas.

Class 4A Bartlett sectional

WW South regional

Pairings: Monday — Game 1) Glenbard West (11-17) vs. St. Charles North (8-19), 7:30 p.m. Tuesday — Game 2) WW South (25-3) vs. winner game 1, 6 p.m.; Game 2) Bartlett (15-12) vs. York (16-11), 7:30 p.m. Thursday — Championship, 7:30 p.m.

Outlook: Bartlett, third in Class 4A last season, bounced back from losses to Neuqua Valley and Metea Valley with a 58-39 win over Streamwood in Thursday’s Upstate Eight crossover game. But the eighth-seeded Hawks are up against a formidable foe in No. 9 York, which is led by sophomore point guard Jessica Bianchi (7.3 ppg) and senior guard Annabell Landsdowne (12.9 ppg, 50 3-pointers).

“They have some talented guards,” said Bartlett coach Denise Sarna. “(Lansdowne) is certainly a phenomenal shooter. We’ll need to know where she’s at all the time. Their point guard does a good job defending and they play aggressive defense.”

The Hawks have been led by senior Alyssa Hernandez (9.7 ppg, 6.2 ppg), junior Ally Giampapa (8.9 ppg) and senior Liz Arco (7.9 ppg, 7.0 rpg).

The winner will likely see No. 1 seed WW South in the regional title game, the team Bartlett beat in the sectional final last season. The Tigers are led by DePaul-bound Meghan Waldron.

Advancement: The WW South regional winner plays the St. Charles East regional winner at 6 p.m. Tuesday, Feb. 19 in a Bartlett sectional semifinal.

Other regionals: Geneva (17-9) is the top seed at the St. Charles East regional and No. 4 overall. The Vikings are coming off a big upset win over Neuqua Valley Friday in the UEC crossover championship game. No. 3 seed Wheaton North (19-6) is the team to beat at the Elk Grove regional and No. 2 seed Willowbrook (20-6 is the top team at the Schaumburg regional.

Class 3A Genoa-Kingston sectional

Burlington Central regional

Pairings: Tuesday — Game 1) Sycamore (13-12) vs. Hampshire (10-16), 6 p.m.; Game 2) Kaneland (14-9) vs. Sandwich (3-21), 7:30 p.m. Wednesday — Game 3) Burlington Central (23-4) vs. winner game 1, 6 p.m.; Game 2) Plano (20-6) vs. winner game 2, 7:30 p.m. Friday — Championship, 7:30 p.m.

Outlook: The top-seeded Rockets have tied the school record for wins in a season, won their first conference title since 2007 and are now shooting for the program’s first regional crown since 1990. Central beat Sycamore in overtime at Thanksgiving, beat Hampshire 49-37, but lost to Kaneland 56-53 in overtime. But the Rockets are 100 percent healthy now and they weren’t when the played Kaneland on Jan. 5.

“It’s a very tough regional,” said BC coach Mark Smith, noting that second-seeded Plano is a sleeper in the field. “We are emphasizing to the girls that nobody cares about their record — everyone is 0-0 right now. We’re playing at home and there won’t be many surprises. We just want to make sure we’re playing with confidence and we are right now.”

The Rockets, who have won 8 straight, are led by freshmen Shelby Holt (11.4 ppg., 56 3-pointers), Kayla Ross (7.5 ppg) and Sam Pryor (8.6 ppg) and have been bolstered by the return of sophomore Alison Colby, who recently returned from a bout with a concussion. Steady senior point guard Camille Delacruz (6.1 ppg) continued to provide solid leadership to this talented but young team.

If Central plays Sycamore again there definitely won’t be any surprises. Holt, Ross, Pryor, Becca Gerke, Sam Cruz and Jackie Collins all play AAU basketball for Hoop Dreams, whose assistant coach is Sycamore head coach Brett Goff.

Advancement: The Burlington Central regional winner plays the Woodstock regional winner at 7:30 p.m. Tuesday, Feb. 19 in a Genoa-Kingston sectional semifinal.

Other regionals: Rockford Lutheran (17-6) is the top seed at the Stillman Valley regional, with Rochelle (17-6) the team to beat at Sterling and Woodstock North (16-12) the top seed at Woodstock.

Class 3A Vernon Hills sectional

Lakes regional

Pairings: Monday — St. Edward (3-24) vs. Chicago Senn, 7:30 p.m. Tuesday — Game 2) Vernon Hills (26-2) vs. winner game 1, 6 p.m.; Game 2) Lakes vs. Gordon Tech, 7:30 p.m. Thursday — Championship, 7:30 p.m.

Outlook: St. Edward could make its season with a win over Senn Monday and while little is known about No. 15 seed Senn, the 18th-seeded Green Wave have played better since the return from injury of senior guard Rena Ranallo (11.0 ppg) and junior Katie Swanson (8.0 ppg). Sophomore Clarissa Ramos averages 7.5 points and 5 rebounds per game.

Advancement: The Lakes regional winner plays the Chicago Northside regional winner at 6 p.m. Tuesday, Feb. 19 in a Vernon Hills sectional semifinal.

Other regionals: Carmel is the top seed at Johnsburg and No. 2 overall, Regina Dominican the No. 3 seed overall and tops at Ridgewood, and No. 4 Grayslake Central is the team to beat at Chicago Northside, but the team to really beat here is Vernon Hills, the defending state runner-up in 3A.

Class 1A Westminster Christian sectional

Pairings: Monday — Westminster Christian (24-4) vs. Providence St. Mel, 7:30 p.m. Tuesday — North Shore Country Day (13-9) vs. Morgan Park Academy (18-9), 7:30 p.m. Thursday — Championship, 7:30 p.m.

Outlook: Westminster Christian, which lost last year in a sectional final, would appear to be poised to take the next step, and has the advantage of playing the sectional at home. St. Mel is an unknown. It was the No. 3 seed in its regional and upset top seed Chicago Waldorf 39-16 in the title game.

“All we know about (St. Mel) is they’re a little young and a little inexperienced,” said Westminster coach Ken Flickinger. “We’ve talked about controlling our emotions and trusting your teammates. Each game will have its unique challenges. Monday night is about playing our game, playing defense, and not allowing (St. Mel) time to make decisions.”

The Warriors are led by freshman Maddie Versluys (11.6 ppg, 7.4 rpg) and juniors McKaila Hays (11.0 ppg), Claire Speweik 7.8 ppg, 6.2 rpg) and Kinsley Donahue (4.4 ppg).

Advancement: The Westminster Christian sectional winner plays the Hanover River Ridge sectional winner at 7:30 p.m. Monday, Feb. 18 in the DeKalb supersectional. Defending Class 1A state champion and top-ranked Freeport Aquin is the favorite to win the River Ridge sectional.