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The best of the seeds

By Joe Henricksen

Regional play tips off today across the state for Class 4A and Class 3A schools. Here is a look at the best teams for each seed in Class 4A.

Best No. 1 seed: Benet Academy

Top-ranked team in the state and a perfect 26-0.

Runner-up: Simeon

Heavy favorite in Argo Sectional and still a bonafide state title contender despite losses to Benet and Young.

Best No. 2 seed: Downers Grove South

Has won 16 straight games and blessed with balance, athleticism and some size.

Runner-up: Lyons Twp.

Playing extremely well and boast a senior-dominated team.

Best No. 3 seed: Farragut

Surprise team in the city will have hands full in regional final with Morton.

Runner-up: Glenbard East

Rams have three losses this season to teams with a combined record of 72-5.

Best No. 4 seed: Whitney Young

Has played for a state championship in each of the last two years and has the talent to return.

Runner-up: Mt. Carmel

Behind the trio of Tracy Abrams, Malcolm Hill-Bey and xxx Austin, Caravan playing best basketball of the season.

Best No. 5 seed: Bogan

Well prepared from Red-South battles.

Runner-up: St. Ignatius

Has played a very tough schedule, won 19 games and boasts an all-state player in Nnanna Egwu.

Best No. 6 seed: Morton

Always the scrappy team no one wants to face. And Jeff Jarosz arguably the area’s best-kept secret.

Runner-up: Loyola Academy

Put together a strong second half and has played a rugged overall schedule.

Best No. 7 seed: New Trier

Young players stepping up, Austin Angel returned a month ago and Trevians a threat to make a sectional run.

Runner-up: Proviso West

Team with speed, athleticism and just enough balance and talent to put a scare into rival Proviso East in regional final.

Best No. 8 seed: Marist

Young, dangerous 19-win team with an ability to shoot the three and stay in games.

Runner-up: York

Of all the No. 8 seeds, the Dukes may be playing the best by going 13-2 down the stretch.

Best No. 9 seed: Naperville North

The Huskies are 11-5 since the return of 6-6 Matt LaCosse, a physical and athletic presence inside.

Runner-up: Hinsdale South

Beat Morton earlier this season and in the last few weeks has played competitively in losses to Proviso East, Lyons and Morton.

Best No. 10 seed: Wheaton South

Tigers have won eight straight games and are finally healthy after slow start, due mostly to football team’s playoff run.

Runner-up: Waukegan

Has played a very difficult schedule and has the athleticism, quickness and a player in Akeem Springs to give higher-seeded teams fits.

Best No. 11 seed: Deerfield

Overachieving Warriors went 7-1 down the stretch, including a 48-46 loss to conference champ Niles North.

Runner-up: Niles West

After a dreadful January (6-game losing streak), coach Bob Williams’ club has played some good basketball by closing out the year with five straight wins, including victories over Waukegan and Glenbrook North.

Best No. 12 seed: St. Rita

Tough schedule and injuries have beaten down a young Mustangs team. But St. Rita could give No. 5 seed Bogan trouble on its home floor this week.

Runner-up: Metea Valley

In the last few weeks has beaten higher seeded teams East Aurora, Neuqua Valley and Waubonsie Valley. Could get another crack at Neuqua in regional semis.