Joe Henricksen’s 3-pointer: Ramean Hinton’s recruitment, East Aurora’s run, lost playoff opportunities

Curie’s Ramean Hinton was playing for more than just a sectional championship last week.

SHARE Joe Henricksen’s 3-pointer: Ramean Hinton’s recruitment, East Aurora’s run, lost playoff opportunities
Curie’s Ramean Hinton hits a three against Oak Forest.

Curie’s Ramean Hinton hits a three against Oak Forest.

Allen Cunningham/For the Sun-Times

Curie’s Ramean Hinton was playing for more than just a sectional championship last week and a trip to Peoria before a global pandemic wiped out the IHSA State Tournament.

The 6-4 senior wing was playing for his college future.

Hinton signed in the fall with Southeast Missouri State, but head coach Rick Ray and the coaching staff was let go following a 7-24 season.

Hinton’s commitment to sign with SEMO was regarded as a major surprise, considering the type of talent the Ohio Valley Conference school would be getting. The Curie star as a steal at the low-major Division I level is putting it mildly.

Now after a stellar senior season which included big shots and moments while averaging 17 points and eight rebounds a game, Hinton, a top 10 talent in the Class of 2020 in Illinois, is back on the board.

Hinton plays with boundless energy and exudes a competitive spirit few can match. That’s been his calling card throughout his career. But Hinton’s skill level, particularly his perimeter jumper and consistency with it, has made a significant jump.

A no-brainer mid-major plus talent, Hinton could very well win over a higher level program’s staff with how he plays the game –– and his sudden availability. He just wishes he would have had three or four more games in March to show it.

But with his release from SEMO official, plenty of schools have already inquired and reached out, including Iowa State, Illinois, Kansas State, Colorado State, New Mexico, Tulsa, Valparaiso, and Southern Illinois among others.

Would East Aurora have been this season’s Cinderella story?

March Madness was cut short, thus a true Cinderella story was unable to fully develop in state tournament play.

However, was East Aurora on its way to being that team?

The area powerhouses and top-seeded teams advanced to the majority of sectional championship games last week. That left ninth-seeded East Aurora with an opportunity as the lowest-seeded team playing in a title game to play the role of Cinderella.

East Aurora was set to face Joliet West as a big underdog, but the Tomcats had the quickness and athleticism to match up with the No. 1 seed and, more importantly, an abundance of momentum and belief.

Fresh off beating rival West Aurora in the sectional, and having already knocked off No. 2 seed Bolingbrook in the regional, this team was flying high –– even after not being talked about all season long.

Just another What if? in this sad, unthinkable ending to a season.

Missed shots at history

The lost postseason left teams heartbroken and with so many lost opportunities.

Stevenson coach Pat Ambrose lost the once-in-a-lifetime chance to finish out a terrific season coaching his two sons, senior Matthew Ambrose and junior Evan Ambrose. The Patriots were set to play Mundelein in the sectional championship.

Loyola, Notre Dame, Hinsdale South and Cary-Grove were all still alive but lost the chance to add on to their record-setting win totals that each set this season.

There were several who were on the verge of making program history with their first sectional championship, including Mundelein and St. Charles North in Class 4A. In Class 3A, the winner the Hampshire-Wauconda sectional title game would have claimed its first sectional championship.

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