It’s a case of “deja vu all over again” for almost all area large school girls basketball teams as they begin Monday’s state tournament series.
While the faces and seeds have changed, virtually all find themselves lumped in with the same opponents as last year.
At Jacobs, the fifth-seeded host Eagles face fourth-seeded Larkin on Monday, with the winner playing top-seeded South Elgin on Tuesday, while sixth-seeded Elgin faces No. 3 Dundee-Crown, with the winner playing Tuesday against No. 2 Streamwood.
The top seeds faced each other the last two seasons in the finals, with the Storm winning two years ago and the Sabres last year, when the same six teams were in this regional.
“I’m really excited about the state tournament,” said South Elgin coach Tim Prendergast, whose deep squad is led by seniors Savanah Uveges (9.6 points per game) and Kennede Miller (9.8). “We’re going to do some damage. There’s nobody that really took it to us. Yes, we’ve lost eight games, but they’ve been to really quality teams: Neuqua, Fremd, Geneva.”
The trouble is, the Storm has lost to all the better teams on its schedule and the only elite team it beat was Class 3A Burlington Central. A regular-season ending loss Thursday to St. Charles North added to concern.
Streamwood’s fate rests almost entirely with center Hannah McGlone (14.3), who needs only seven boards to become a 1,000-point and 1,000-rebound player. Sabres coach George Rosner needs one win to hit 400 for his career.
Earning consecutive sectional berths may hinge on how the Sabres guards handle pressure since it’s certain to be applied by South Elgin, if not others.
“We do not have a true point guard,” Rosner said. “We kind of do point guard by committee.”
Fox Valley Valley champ Huntley seeks its second straight state appearance and is again the No. 1 seed in a western regional, this one at Rockford Jefferson, where the field is the same as a regional last year.
And again it’s second-seeded DeKalb that looks like the biggest problem for a Red Raiders team led by sophomore Ali Andrews — who went over 1,000 career points last week — and her senior sister Sam.
“It’s been that way for the last four years, ever since 2011,” Huntley coach Steve Raethz said, pointing out Huntley won over DeKalb in 2011, lost to the Barbs in 2012 and beat them last year. “So we’re used to seeing them and being pushed out west. DeKalb has a solid team and some pieces back.”
Bartlett and St. Charles North both finished strong by winning seven of their final 10 and square off at Glenbard East on Wednesday. The winner may have the difficult task of facing sectional top seed Wheaton-Warrenville South on Friday for the title in a regional where virtually all the teams are the same despite sectional seeding although the pairings are a bit different.