Seeding the Class 4A and Class 3A sectionals

A look at how the top eight seeds should shake out this week.

SHARE Seeding the Class 4A and Class 3A sectionals
Benet’s Brayden Fagbemi (0) shoots the ball over Joliet West’s Matthew Moore (3).

Benet’s Brayden Fagbemi (0) shoots the ball over Joliet West’s Matthew Moore (3).

Kirsten Stickney/For the Sun-Times

We will all find out the early state tournament matchups and pairings later this week. Coaches throughout the state will seed their respective sectionals by Thursday at noon. 

The hope here is the coaches — all of the coaches — find the time to do a little homework in preparing to seed their sectional. We’re here to offer a little help. 

It’s fun to project and analyze. This is the annual City/Suburban Hoops Report’s sectional seed forecast, where each local Class 3A and Class 4A sectional is broken down. There is research done and reasons why that are provided. 

The seeds are based on all that has transpired since the season tipped off Thanksgiving week. There is a lot to take into consideration. It’s more than just the win total when you have head-to-head play, schedule strength, quality wins, how a team is currently playing and the eye test to include. 

Here is how I see the sectional seed breakdown. 

Class 4A: Barrington

1. Libertyville (21-5)

2. Stevenson (19-5)

3. Palatine (20-6)

4. Prospect (16-10) 

5. Barrington (17-4)

6. Fremd (15-8)

7. Warren (15-13)

8. Hersey (16-11)

Overview: What’s tricky in this sectional is the top three teams have all played each other and beaten each other. Then there is a fourth team lurking with wins over a couple of the top three. 

Let’s sort it all out. 

Since a 3-3 start to the season, Libertyville has gone an impressive 18-2, including a win over Stevenson. The Wildcats won the Wheeling Hardwood Classic and beat talented Glenbrook North along the way. Despite being absolutely throttled in its last game to Rolling Meadows, they have earned the top seed. 

Palatine is also a hot team. And it beat Libertyville way back in early December. But Stevenson knocked off Palatine at Thanksgiving. Palatine’s overall résumé isn’t quite as strong, particularly with hiccup losses to sectional teams Fremd and Lake Zurich. Stevenson has beaten Lake Zurich twice.

Stevenson gets the second seed and Palatine is third. But hold on … 

Want to throw a wrench into the whole thing? Prospect has beaten both Palatine and Stevenson –– by a combined two points. And the Knights are smoking hot since the calendar turned to 2023. Prospect has just two losses in its last 12 games. Prospect had a shot at the buzzer to win both of those games. 

There are few sectional seeds that will or should change over a Tuesday-before-seeds result. But could this be one of them? 

Prospect plays Hinsdale Central Tuesday night. If the Knights find a way to beat one of the hottest teams in the state, it might be time to move Prospect up. That would be wins over Stevenson, Glenbrook South and highly-ranked Hinsdale Central in the last two weeks. They are too hot and playing too well not to reward them. Bump them up a seed or two if it beats Hinsdale Central. 

It’s been a nice, surprising season for Barrington. The Broncos settle in as the fifth seed. 

Fremd has some very good wins over sectional opponents. The Vikings split two games with Barrington, beat both Prospect and Palatine and knocked off Warren. 

Then it’s Warren, Lake Zurich and Hersey rounding out the seventh, eighth and ninth seeds. Warren beat Lake Zurich in late January and Hersey pounded Lake Zurich earlier this season. 

Class 4A: New Trier

1. New Trier (25-4)

2. * Rolling Meadows (23-4)

3. * Glenbrook North (23-3)

4. Glenbrook South (20-8)

5. Evanston (20-7)

6. Loyola (20-8)

7. Niles North (22-6)

8. Taft (17-9)

Overview: This loaded sectional has sorted itself out in recent weeks. Despite so many 20-win caliber teams, there are really only a couple of seeds that still need to be figured out. 

New Trier is very much deserving of the No. 1 seed. The body of work the Trevians have put in with non-conference wins over Rolling Meadows and Loyola — and being on top of a conference that features the three other top teams in this sectional — is impressive. 

The No. 2 and No. 3 seeds should be determined Tuesday night. Rolling Meadows and Glenbrook North play one another with the winner getting the two seed, the loser dropping to the third line. 

The quandary is in the four through six seeds among Evanston, Glenbrook South and Loyola, teams with similar résumés and records. 

Glenbrook South and Evanston have both lost to New Trier twice. They’ve both lost to Rolling Meadows. And they’ve split the two games they’ve played each other this season. But GBS won the most recent game in early January and gets the edge between two teams with similar schedules and records. 

Loyola, which has lost to Taft and De La Salle in the past two weeks, lands at No. 6. The Ramblers have a heck of a win over Brother Rice to pump themselves up, but they fell to Evanston in overtime back in December. And that recent Taft loss is lurking. 

The only question remaining that would throw things back up in the air a little is if Glenbrook South loses to Conant on Tuesday night. That would be a loss to a lower-seeded team in this sectional — and the fifth loss in the last seven games. The Titans need that win Tuesday night to solidify the No. 4 seed. 

Niles North has the wins but just hasn’t played the schedule the six teams ahead of it have played. 

Taft, Conant and Niles West will all be jockeying for seeds 8-10. Taft has 17 wins and a quality sectional victory over Loyola and has also beaten Niles West. 

Class 4A: Bartlett

1. Benet (25-1)

2. Wheaton South (22-4)

3. Geneva (22-5)

4. Metea Valley (19-8)

5. Lake Park (18-8)

6. Naperville North (16-11)

7. Glenbard West (17-9)

8. Bartlett (17-10) 

Overview: The top two seeds are easy. Benet is a clear top pick. Wheaton South checks in at No. 2. 

Geneva has lost a couple of late. But the Vikings have done enough to secure the third seed, while Metea Valley lands the four seed. Metea Valley has the win total and took care of Bartlett, Naperville North and Lake Park during the regular season. 

Glenbard West has 17 wins while playing in the strong West Suburban Silver Conference. The Hilltoppers, though, 

Lake Park is playing its best basketball of the season with eight wins in its last nine games. 

Glenbard West has 17 wins while playing in the strong West Suburban Silver Conference. The Hilltoppers, though, have struggled against the DuPage Valley, losing to DeKalb and Naperville North, while also falling to Lake Park. 

Bartlett has 17 wins but has scuffled in the second half of the season. The Hawks are just 4-7 since Christmas tournament time. But Bartlett’s wins over Hinsdale Central and Geneva back in December keeps the Hawks in the top eight. 

Class 4A: St. Rita

1. Kenwood (21-5)

2. Brother Rice (24-4)

3. St. Rita (16-10)

4. Marist (22-5)

5. Bloom (16-8)

6. Oak Lawn (18-8)

7. Homewood-Flossmoor (16-11)

8. Thornwood (17-10)

Overview: Kenwood is the obvious No. 1 seed. 

St. Rita has played an outstanding schedule. And it did beat Brother Rice. But it was way back in December and we’ve learned a lot about these two teams over the past two months. 

Brother Rice has just been too consistent and edges ahead based on that consistency and wins over ranked teams in Curie, Bloom, Bolingbrook, Marist, Rolling Meadows and Mount Carmel. The expectation is for St. Rita and Brother Rice to meet in a rematch in the sectional semifinals. 

Bloom suffered recent losses to Proviso East, Homewood-Flossmoor and Thornwood but played shorthanded with injuries. The schedule the Blazing Trojans have played, which also includes wins over H-F and Thornwood, pushes them to the No. 5 seed. Bloom has beaten Mount Carmel and New Trier while losing to Kenwood, Lincoln-Way East and Hillcrest.

It’s Oak Lawn and Homewood-Flossmoor with the fifth and sixth seeds, respectively. H-F has played a tougher schedule. But Oak Lawn has some wins that resonate, including a victory over Mount Carmel, beating Lemont and losing to highly-ranked Hinsdale Central in overtime. 

Thornwood’s late January wins over Rich and Kankakee gives the T-Birds the No. 8 seed. 

Class 4A: Hinsdale Central

1. Curie (19-9)

2. Young (20-6)

3. Hinsdale Central (25-3)

4. Downers Grove North (23-3)

5. Lyons (21-4)

6. Proviso East (19-6)

7. Riverside-Brookfield (20-5)

8. Lincoln Park (9-15) 

Overview: This will be interesting as there are highly-ranked teams and high win totals up and down this sectional. Then there was a pretty shocking blowout on the eve of seeding the sectional. 

Curie dominating Young on the road Tuesday night in the city quarterfinals adds another big-time win for the Condors. Curie, which has played a rugged schedule, now has signature wins over Young, Simeon and Joliet West. When you also include wins over New Trier, Oswego East and Riverside-Brookfield, the loss total, which includes a forfeit loss and not a single bad loss, is overlooked. 

Young has still lost to just three in-state opponents: Kenwood by two points, to Joliet West and then the lopsided loss to Curie. The Dolphins have beaten St. Rita, Kenwood and a host of out-of-state teams. Young slides down to the No. 2 seed. 

Hinsdale Central is rolling and is without question the No. 3 seed with a 16-game winning streak. 

Downers Grove North has won nine straight with impressive wins over Glenbrook South and Bolingbrook during that stretch. DGN split with both Hinsdale Central and Lyons. But the most recent Lyons matchup went DGN’s way in late January. Downers North is the fourth seed. 

Lyons has beaten Glenbrook South, Proviso East and Riverside-Brookfield in recent weeks and locks up the fifth seed. 

With nearly identical records, it’s a toss-up between Proviso East and Riverside-Brookfield for the sixth and seventh seeds. But Proviso East has played the tougher schedule and has beaten St. Rita and Bloom while playing Benet and Lyons very tough. 

Lincoln Park, Oak Park and Lane are all hovering around the No. 8 seed with similar records. Lincoln Park has played the best schedule and has beaten Lane while Oak Park has sputtered, losing six of its last eight. 

Class 4A: Bolingbrook

1. Joliet West (22-5)

2. Bolingbrook (21-6) 

3. Oswego East (22-5) 

4. Lincoln-Way East (21-4)

5. Romeoville (19-10)

6. Neuqua Valley (21-7) 

7. Lockport (16-10)

8. Plainfield North (14-11)

Overview: There is a clear top four in this sectional with similar records that will all be expected to advance to the sectional semifinals. This is going to be a fun sectional with four teams that have played and beaten one another and in close games. 

Joliet West built a schedule loaded with high-profile, highly-ranked teams. Thus, the record the Tigers have heading into sectional week stands out. 

There was a loss to Oswego East. But Joliet West’s slate is long and impressive with wins over St. Rita, Metamora, Rolling Meadows and Young. And there is no shame in losing to the likes of Kenwood, Benet Curie and Oswego East. 

Bolingbrook is playing very well and has a tight win over Oswego East and two victories over Lincoln-Way East. The Raiders land the second seed with Oswego East and Lincoln-Way East to follow neatly in line. 

Romeoville and DuPage Valley Conference leader Neuqua Valley are next in line. Neither has a true statement win on the résumé. But Romeoville has definitely played the tougher schedule with losses to Joliet West (twice), 3A power Springfield Sacred Heart-Griffin, Brother Rice, Bolingbrook and 22-win Yorkville.

There is a glut of teams with 14, 15 or 16 wins that will land somewhere between the seventh seed and the 11th seed. Take your pick among Lockport, Plainfield North, Waubonsie Valley and West Aurora.

We’ll rule out West Aurora as a top eight seed; the Blackhawks have bottomed out with seven losses in their last eight games. 

Lockport gets the No. 7 seed with Plainfield North and Waubonsie Valley as a toss-up between the 8-9 seeds. But Plainfield North’s win over Naperville North last weekend gives them the edge. 

Class 4A: Rockford Jefferson

Sub-Sectional A

1. DeKalb (19-9)

2. South Elgin (17-9)

3. Hampshire (13-14)

4. Larkin (13-14)

Sub-Sectional B

1. Huntley (19-7)

2. Rockford Guilford (19-7)

3. Rockford Auburn (16-11)

4. Rockford East (17-10)

Overview: DeKalb has played the better schedule and has the most wins in Sub-Sectional A and receives the No. 1 seed. With two wins over Larkin, it’s South Elgin with the No. 2 seed. 

Hampshire has quietly put together some nice wins — and played some quality non-conference opponents in losses — to inch past Larkin. The Whip-Purs just beat Huntley and have played a host of 20-win teams and conference champs.

Huntley’s holiday tournament win in December over Rockford Guilford was an important one. With a win over NIC-10 leader Guilford, Huntley gets the top seed in the sub-sectional. 

Guilford, fresh off a nice win over Stevenson, has victories over both Rockford Auburn and Rockford East, while Auburn has played a quality schedule and beat Rockford East in late January. 

Class 3A: De La Salle

1. De La Salle (18-9)

2. St. Ignatius (17-9)

3. Fenwick (16-12)

4. Westinghouse (17-10)

5. Payton (15-10)

6. Perspectives-MSA (12-15)

7. Prosser (3-20)

8. Bulls Prep (15-13)

Overview: The top seed comes down to two teams whose arrows have been pointing in different directions. 

A month ago it was a foregone conclusion St. Ignatius would be the top seed and heavy favorite in this 3A sectional. However, the Wolfpack have struggled mightily in the past month, losing seven of its last 12 games.

De La Salle, meanwhile, has been on the rise. The Meteors are also fresh off a win over Loyola, a team that beat Ignatius last month. 

The two teams do meet very soon in the regular season. But while St. Ignatius plays in the much tougher Catholic League Blue — De La Salle leads the Catholic League White — there is no denying which team is playing better basketball right now. De La Salle gets the nod. 

Fenwick’s schedule gets them the No. 3 seed while Westinghouse, which doesn’t have a marquee win, earns the No. 4 seed while playing in the Public League’s Red-West/North. 

Payton beat Bulls Prep this season and leads the Public League’s White-West.

Yes, Prosser’s paltry record gets them in the top eight. Prosser, which plays in the Red-North/West, is simply better than the other contenders. 

Class 3A: Grayslake Central

1. Lake Forest (16-10)

2. Deerfield (20-5)

3. Grayslake Central (22-3)

4. St. Patrick (14-9)

5. Notre Dame (13-13)

6. St. Viator (11-15)

7. Antioch (13-12)

8. Fenton (20-7)

Overview: Lake Forest has played the toughest schedule of teams contending for the No. 1 seed. Plus, the Scouts buried Grayslake Central 55-34 and beat Deerfield in January. Yes, records matter. But so does head-to-head and schedule strength.

After Deerfield and Grayslake Central, it’s a quagmire among several teams. 

St. Patrick has the most impressive wins among a bunch of teams vying for a top four seed, beating Loyola, Marist and Marian Catholic. The Shamrocks split with Notre Dame this season and get the No. 4 seed. 

St. Viator will be overlooked in this seeding process by many. But they battled injuries early in the year. When the Lions lost to Antioch at Thanksgiving, their top player and scorer, Eli Aldana, was out with an injury. St. Viator has played a very good schedule in the East Suburban Catholic Conference and non-conference games with Libertyville, Evanston, Niles North and Stevenson.

With seven wins in its last nine games, Antioch is playing the best among the rest. Plus, the Sequoits own a win over Deerfield. They split with Lakes but won the most recent matchup between the two. 

Where do you seed Fenton? The wins are there. But the quality wins aren’t and they’ve lost three of their last five heading into Tuesday. But the Bison fall somewhere in that 7-9 range. 

Lakes (16-7) has a nice record but has not fared well against sectional foes with losses to Antioch, Grayslake Central, Carmel and Deerfield. 

Class 3A: Hillcrest

1. Hillcrest (25-2)

2. Marian Catholic (21-7)

3. Lemont (22-6)

4. Kankakee (18-9)

5. TF North (17-5)

6. Thornton (12-10)

7. Brooks (12-12)

8. Evergreen Park (15-13)

Overview: This sectional has an overwhelming choice at the top and breaks down quite easily. Hillcrest is the prohibitive favorite and easy top seed. 

Marian Catholic has played a very strong schedule, owns some quality wins and has put together a good record over the past month (12-2 in its last 14 games). The Spartans get the No. 2 seed. 

Lemont recently knocked off Brother Rice and TF North while Kankakee split with Thornton this year but won the most recent matchup. 

Class 3A: Glenbard South

1. Simeon (23-3)

2. Mount Carmel (22-5)

3. Hyde Park (22-5)

4. St. Laurence (18-10)

5. Lindblom (17-14)

6. Bogan (14-10)

7. Glenbard South (14-11)

8. Nazareth (11-15)

Overview: Simeon is a clear top seed while Mount Carmel and Hyde Park, likely to meet in the sectional semifinals, settle in at two and three. 

Hyde Park did beat Kenwood — and Mount Carmel has lost three straight — but it’s the Caravan with more quality wins over the course of the season. Mount Carmel has beaten Curie, Loyola, Moline and St. Rita. 

St. Laurence is young, keeps getting better and has been sneaky good against some quality teams. 

Bogan beat sectional foe Kennedy by double digits and has played both Kenwood and Hyde Park tough this year. 

Nazareth’s record may not be impressive, but the Roadrunners do play in the East Suburban Catholic Conference and recently beat St. Ignatius. 

Class 3A: Burlington Central

Sub-Sectional A

1. Burlington Central (22-5)

2. Marmion (17-9)

3. Kaneland (23-5)

4. Wauconda (12-11)

Sub-Sectional B

1. Crystal Lake South (20-7)

2. Rockford Boylan (18-9)

3. Freeport (11-14)

4. Prairie Ridge (12-13)

Overview: There shouldn’t be too much drama in seeding these two sub-sectionals. 

Burlington Central beat Marmion. Marmion beat Kaneland. Those are your top three seeds in sub-sectional A. 

It is a bit debatable at the top in sub-sectional B, though it really shouldn’t make a whole lot of difference at the end of the day. 

There are very few common opponents between Rockford Boyland and Crystal Lake South. They both handled Jacobs. However, one solid team they both played is Huntley. Boylan lost to Huntley in January while Crystal Lake South is 2-1 against Huntley, including a win last Friday. 

The Latest
Michael Daniels, 18, was standing on the sidewalk April 2 in the 8000 block of South Phillips Avenue when someone opened fire around 7:15 p.m., Chicago police said.
At least seven trains departing from or heading to Chicago were called off — four scheduled to run Friday and three more scheduled to leave Saturday.
The shooting happened in the West Side’s Harrison District, where there are more police traffic stops than anywhere else in the city.
White Sox general manager Chris Getz understands fans’ discontent with the Sox. Another year, another season devoted to talking about injuries to key guys for a Sox team that has gotten off to a 2-11 start.