Close calls sign of things to come?

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By Joe Henricksen

Yes, Simeon beat Hirsch 100-23, Marshall rolled to a 105-58 win and Farragut won by 50, but after just two nights of state tournament play in Class 3A and 4A a common trend may lead to some big surprises over the next two-plus weeks.

The City/Suburban Hoops Report can’t recall the first night of regional semifinal action quite like the one that went down on Tuesday night. There were upsets all around the state, but it’s the close calls that may have been even more surprising. If you talk to any coach, the majority — at least those coaches of higher-seeded teams — hate that first game of regional play, when the big-time underdog comes in loose, sometimes having warmed up with a play-in game the night before and with nothing to lose.

Homewood-Flossmoor, the No. 1 ranked team in Illinois and picked by the majority of prognosticators to win the Class 4A state title, avoided a monumental upset. Marian Catholic, the No. 16 seed, had a three-point shot at the buzzer to win it but missed. H-F survived with a 55-53 win to advance to the regional title. If that three-pointer falls by Marian Catholic, we could be talking one of the biggest upsets in Illinois high school basketball history. Nonetheless, H-F survived. And if the Vikings are playing in Peoria in a couple of weeks no one is going to be talking too much about the near shocker to Marian.

Batavia, the top-seed in the East Aurora Sectional and another team many project to be playing in Peoria, escaped with a 59-56 win over Benet Academy when Bulldog guard Phil Albrecht nailed a three-pointer with less than two seconds to play.

And Richards, in its quest to win a sectional title and looking to take the next big step in the emergence of its program, nearly fell to Eisenhower, winning 62-60.

It was a bad night for No. 4 seeds. Glenbrook North, Wheaton North and Stevenson, a trio of No. 4 seeds, lost to St. Viator, Glenbard West and Lake Zurich, respectively.

And we still have another night of regional semifinal games on Wednesday.

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