Revenge Thursday night for Streamwood’s girls would be sweet, and also carry along something the Sabres have sought since 1988 — a regional championship.
The Sabres lost at South Elgin in last year’s regional title game 66-50 to the Storm, but Thursday host South Elgin in a Class 4A regional title rematch that could go a long way toward wiping out memory of this year’s disappointing regular-season finish in addition to last year’s regional final loss.
“It’s a regional championship; both teams are going to come out here and want it,” Sabres coach George Rosner said. “There’s good matchups for everybody.”
Streamwood beat Dundee-Crown 47-23 and South Elgin ousted Elgin 69-41 in Tuesday’s regional semifinals to set up the rematch.
Streamwood’s trio of senior backcourt players Jessica Cerda and Deja Moore and junior center Hannah McGlone played in last year’s title game against the Becca Smith-led Storm.
They know it will be a completely different type of game going against a Storm team that now relies on balance rather than the scoring of Smith, who is a freshman at UIC.
“I just remember their defense; we couldn’t really do much on offense and we couldn’t stop Becca,” said Cerda, the Sabres’ scoring leader at 14 points per game. “But it’s going to be a little different type of game plan because they share the ball with everybody now.
“So hopefully everybody plays defense and we can just come together as a team.”
Streamwood was at a big disadvantage because McGlone, who averages a double-double and led the area this year in shot blocks, got in foul trouble.
“She had like three fouls in the first half so it killed us her not being in there,” Cerda said. “She’s been a smart player going for blocks but not the body now, so we think she’s going to be a greater factor.”
South Elgin will rely on unsung interior player Kennede Miller against McGlone, while playing a balanced style keyed by Savanah Uveges’ defense and passing.
“Kennede is probably one of our better shooters,” South Elgin coach Tim Prendergast said. “She’s very unselfish. On any given night she can score 15 to 20 points.
“But she’s very versatile. She’s got the ability to play inside and out. … We don’t have a ton of height so we really rely on her for our inside game, especially against zones.”
While controlling McGlone is a South Elgin key, the Storm hopes it has edges Streamwood must solve.
“Obviously there are matchup problems — really McGlone,” Prendergast said. “But I don’t really think they’re going to play us in a zone. So I feel like they’ve got some problems against us with our speed and depth.
“But it’s going to be a good game because it’s on their court, and because we knocked them off last year they’re going to be looking for revenge. It’s going to be close. Either way it’s going to come down to a play or two.”
The winner advances to Rockford East for Monday’s 7:30 p.m. sectional semifinal against the winner of the Crystal Lake South Regional.
Class 4A regionals
Another anticipated rematch takes place Thursday at St. Charles East (18-11) between Geneva (18-10) and the host Saints for a title and berth in the Bartlett Sectional against the Wheaton-Warrenville South regional champion.
But it’s not an anticipated rematch from last year’s title game — it’s a third and decisive contest for this year after the teams split two regular-season overtime games. The Saints (18-11), led by Amanda Hilton, have already knocked off one higher seed in Batavia. And they want to complete the deal against the regional’s top seed. Both teams enter the game with six-game winning streaks.
Reserve Kyra Washington was a key in the win over Batavia with 15 points and eight rebounds, and the Saints will need that again to stop the Upstate Eight River champions, who are led by Sidney Santos, Sami Pawlak and Abby Novak.
Third-seeded Huntley (22-6) and the Andrews sisters already knocked off second-seeded DeKalb 50-46 and go for the upset sweep against top-seeded Belvidere North (22-7) in the Belvidere North Regional finals Tuesday.
The winner goes to Rockford East’s sectional with a possible matchup against the sectional favorite, Hononegah, looming Tuesday. Freshman 6-foot-2 Ali Andrews and her 6-foot junior sister Sam will have to contend with Belvidere North’s outside shooters, Kirsten Larson and Haley Grana.
Other postseason play
In Class 1A, the Westminster Christian Sectional finale is Thursday at 7:30 p.m. with the host Warriors (25-4) playing a Morgan Park Academy team that stuffed North Shore country Day 32-6 in Tuesday’s sectional semifinal. Morgan Park Academy lost in December to Christian Liberty, a team Westminster beat by 17, 19 and 21 points.
In Class 3A, the Burlington Central Regional finals are slated for Friday at 7:30 p.m. Prior to presstime Wednesday night, the hosts were facing Hampshire and Plano was playing Kaneland in the semifinals.