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IHSA boys basketball: Class 3A, 4A super-sectional previews

12 months agoTim Stebbins

Trips to Champaign are on the line in the super-sectionals of the IHSA boys basketball tournament.

Marquee Sports Network will air a pair of games from the Class 3A and 4A slates Monday night, and here’s a look ahead at the two matchups before the action gets underway.

Class 3A: St. Ignatius (23-11) vs. Grayslake Central (29-5)

NOW Arena, Hoffman Estates, 6 p.m.

St. Ignatius is looking to win its second straight super-sectional after last season’s run to the Class 3A semifinals.

The No. 2-seeded Wolfpack opened this year’s tournament with three straight convincing wins in the Chicago (De La Salle) sectional, beating Elmwood Park, Perspectives/IIT-MSA and Westinghouse.

They knocked off No. 4-seeded Fenwick last week to make it back-to-back sectional championships.

Grayslake Central, meanwhile, has not only made school history with its current run, but also avenged last year’s season-ending loss.

Lake Forest handed Grayslake Central a 21-point loss in the 2022 sectional semifinals. They beat the Rams by the same margin in January.

The two met again last week in the sectional championship, and No. 2-seeded Grayslake Central knocked off No. 1-seeded Lake Forest 46-43 for the first sectional title in school history.

Before the win over Lake Forest, Grayslake Central beat Northside, Lakes and St. Viator.

Players to watch

St. Ignatius: Richard Barron — The senior and George Mason commit has scored 19+ points in Ignatius’ four postseason wins thus far, including 26 in the sectional championship game.

Grayslake Central: Sam Cooper — The senior has been the Rams’ leading scorer in each win of the tournament run.

Class 4A: Libertyville (29-5) vs. New Trier (31-4)

NOW Arena, Hoffman Estates, 8 p.m.

Here we have two teams whose runs to the super-sectional have included dramatic finishes.

Libertyville’s season last year ended in crushing fashion with an overtime loss to Barrington in the sectional championship. This time around, the No. 1-seeded Wildcats beat Barrington in the sectional semifinals on a buzzer-beating three from Aidyn Boone.

Libertyville, which previously beat Zion-Benton and Warren, knocked off Prospect in the sectional championship to secure their first super-sectional appearance since 1994.

New Trier, the top seed in its sectional, has played consecutive thrillers after opening the tournament with wins over Elk Grove and Niles North.

First, in the sectional semifinal vs. Glenbrook South, Evan Kanellos hit a game-winning layup at the buzzer.

Then, in the sectional championship against Glenbrook North, Kanellos put the Trevians ahead with a free throw in the closing seconds. New Trier survived a last-second shot attempt by Glenbrook North to win its first sectional championship since 2013.

Players to watch

Libertyville: Aidyn Boone — Boone’s buzzer beater against Barrington was part of a big game, and he dropped 18 more points against Prospect.

New Trier: Jake Fiegen — Fiegen, a Cornell commit who eclipsed 1,000 career points this season, scored 19 points in the sectional championship game — 12 in the fourth quarter.

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