While I get the feeling some of you probably will be reading this after spending a portion of your weekend shoveling snow, a sports groundhog popped up in the SVM sports department on Friday to indicate that winter is almost over.
The postseason pairings for the Class 1A and 2A girls basketball season were released by the IHSA. That’s the first sign that spring – which generally just means about a month of very cold baseball and softball games – is just around the corner.
Before we start worrying about rise balls and sacrifice bunts, we’ll hit the basketball postseason, and there are plenty of reasons to be optimistic.
Since we know the path of 1A/2A girls (just check out B9 for a complete listing), let’s take a look at what to expect in the coming weeks.
Regionals for both classes start on Feb. 10, and we have teams in two regionals in both classes.
In Class 2A, the Sauk Valley has the No. 1 seeds at both Oregon and St. Bede.
At Oregon, the host Hawks are the favorite. Built around defending SVM player of the year Sam Lambrigtsen, the Hawks are experienced and can play fast.
The Hawks’ biggest weakness is in the post, where they just don’t have the size to match tall and talented post players.
The good news for Oregon is that the regional doesn’t feature a team that really has a dominant post. The second and third seeds are Morrison and Newman from the Three Rivers North.
The Fillies and Comets have split two close games in conference play, and it seems likely that the third meeting will be tight. The winner of that game will be the underdog against Hawks – so long as Oregon gets past either Fulton or West Carroll.
In the other 2A regional, Prophetstown is the top seed. The Prophets have been dominant this season, and hold wins over both Oregon and Byron, who are other top regional seeds within the potential pool for the Aurora Christian Sectional.
At the regional, the Prophets will get challenged by Riverdale and St. Bede, but it seems likely the Prophets will be hanging another regional plaque on the wall.
Waiting for them will be the winner from the Oregon Regional.
In Class 1A, the Eastland Cougars are the lone Sauk Valley team at the Pearl City Regional.
If the teams win out by seed, it would set up a meeting with NUIC East front-runner Aquin. All the Bulldogs have on their résumé are the last two 1A state titles.
The Cougars might be the more talented team this season, but the Bulldogs have enough left over from the championship teams to make things tough for Eastland.
Also in 1A, the Amboy Regional appears it could be a battle between the top three teams.
The Clippers are the top seed, and will play either Milledgeville or Polo in a semifinal. Amboy is in second place in the Three Rivers North with an 8-2 record.
The No. 2 seed is Erie, which has talent, but has battled injuries all season. If healthy, the Cardinals could be a big roadblock for the Clippers.
Erie will play AFC in the other semifinal. The Raiders have flown under the radar for much of the season, but with players like Alisyn Essex and Allison Prestegaard, the Raiders could be a wild card in this regional.
That’s it, so far. The 3A/4A girls regionals will be released next Friday, and the boys in the weeks to follow.
I know this probably didn’t warm the toes from all that shoveling, but it might motivate you to keep the path clear, because there are going to be some good games that you’ll be wanting to attend.