Henricksen: My weekly three-pointer

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No. 1

With all the attention turning towards the Class 3A and 4A regionals tipping off this week, there is an intriguing and heavily anticipated Class 2A sectional to keep an eye on at DePaul College Prep.

Defending Class 2A champ Uplift, led by junior Demarius Jacobs, and Orr, currently ranked No. 1 in the state in Class 2A, are on a collision course. An Uplift-Orr sectional final Friday night would pit some of the best, young talent in the city playing for a sectional plaque and a spot in next Tuesday’s super-sectional.

But the host school is poised to play the role of spoiler. Coach Tom Kleinschmidt’s DePaul College Prep team will get a shot at the state’s top-ranked team Wednesday night in the semifinals. The Rams have the home court and the personnel in senior scoring lead guard Craig Atkins and super freshman Perry Cowan to pull a surprise.

Atkins, a 5-10 senior guard, has been a force, averaging 18 points and 4 assists a game, while Cowan has emerged as one the very elite young players in the state. The highly-versatile 6-4 Cowan is currently the most complete freshman, averaging 14 points, 7 rebounds and 2 steals a game.

No. 2

With apologies to Cowan and Solorio’s Khalil Whitney, the City/Suburban Hoops Report’s top two freshmen prospects in the Chicago area, the most promising in-state prospect in the Class of 2019 is in central Illinois at Normal West. And he isn’t even playing.

Francis Okoro is currently sitting out after transferring to Normal West, but the arrival of the 6-10 big man has given the talented freshman class in this state a jolt.

Okoro, who is originally from Nigeria, has an exceptionally high ceiling and has the early look of a national recruit once word gets out and he’s seen by the masses. Blessed with tremendous size, a great frame, mobility and better-than-you-would-expect skill level, look for his profile to skyrocket this spring and summer while playing on the AAU circuit.

No. 3

What do Curie, Kenwood and Minooka all have in common? They are the only three teams seeded among the top two in their respective sectional who have never won a sectional championship.

In a season of parity, with a revolving door into the top 25 rankings and so many sectional contenders, this is a golden opportunity for so many to break through and reach heights never attained before or end long-lasting droughts of success.

Curie has been labeled the best, most successful program not to have won a sectional championship. Now the Condors are a top seed with no other high school giant standing in its way.

Bogan has been knocking on the door, with sectional appearances in three of the past four years, including a sectional title in 2014. But Red-South rival Morgan Park Park has closed the door shut each of the past two years and stands in the way of coach Arthur Goodwin’s Bengals making their first-ever trip to state.

Fenwick last won a sectional title in 1998, the year star Corey Maggette led the Friars to Peoria. Coach Rick Malnati’s team heads into March with 25 wins and a No. 1 seed attached to its name.

Lake Zurich has never won a sectional championship. It’s been 23 years since Fremd won a sectional title, 19 years for Deerfield, 18 for Naperville North and 15 for Lincoln-Way Central. Each of them have a legitimate shot at playing in a super-sectional in two weeks.

Follow Joe Henricksen and the Hoops Report on Twitter @joehoopsreport

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