Boys Basketball: Class 3A/4A state previewParis Lee rolls in a basket for Proviso East. Patrick Gleason ~ For the Sun-Times
Updated: March 15, 2012 8:00PM
PROVISO EAST vs. ROCKFORD AUBURN
The records: Proviso East (31-0), Rockford Auburn (31-2).
When: 6:30 p.m. Friday, Ch. 5.2
Outlook: Proviso East destroyed Auburn 75-56 at the Proviso West Tournament in December. The highly-touted guard showdown between the Pirates’ Keith Carter and Auburn’s Fred Van Vleet was a knockout, with Carter scoring 23 while committing just one turnover and Van Vleet scoring just 10 with five turnovers. Van Vleet spent much of the game guarding Proviso East’s 6-5 forward Sterling Brown. That’s the problem for Auburn, just too much relying on Van Vleet, while the Pirates have multiple weapons. Proviso East will be without 6-5 forward Trashaun Carroll, who was ejected from the supersectional game against West Aurora on Tuesday and will not be able to play in the semifinal. Carroll doesn’t start, but he’s an extremely important member of the team, providing attitude and muscle. Proviso East isn’t just undefeated, they have dominated like few teams in recent memory, with only three wins by less than ten points: Warren (seven), Downers South (three) and Glenbard North (three).
BLOOM vs. SIMEON
The records: Bloom (28-3), Simeon (31-1).
When: 8:15 p.m. Friday, Ch. 5.2
Outlook: Jabari Parker and Simeon have steamrolled through the competition so far in the state tournament, but Bloom is a great deal more talented than the Wolverines last few opponents. The Blazing Trojans have a talented, veteran backcourt with seniors Donald Moore and Lejavius Johnson. Johnny Griffin and Jataryan Dejaraux are the reasons Bloom surprised so many observers with their play this season. The two juniors provided the length and rebounding Bloom supposedly lacked. They will be severely challenged by Simeon’s more talented and more experienced frontcourt players. It can be difficult for even the area’s top post players to be effective against Simeon. Bloom is going to have to drain some shots from outside to keep things competitive. Even if the Blazing Trojans can manage that, Simeon seems unbeatable if Kendrick Nunn is hot.
SPRINGFIELD LANPHIER vs. NORTH CHICAGO
The records: Springfield Lanphier (28-3), North Chicago 24-6).
When: Noon Friday, Ch. 5.2
Outlook: North Chicago’s talent was formidable, but their total lack of discipline was worriesome in the supersectional win over Marshall Tuesday. The Warhawks twice gave away double-digit leads by firing unneccesary three-pointers, leaving coach Gerald Coleman shaking his head in disbelief on the sideline. Aaron Simpson is a one-man wrecking machine, capable of scoring at will. JaVairius Amos-Mays, a 6-4 sophomore, is a potential superstar. Marzhon Bryant is a force, despite being only 6-2. Sophomores Kurt Hall and JayQuan McCloud and are very promising young players. The Warhawks run and gun, and more importantly, rebound extremely well. Lanphier has the firepower to compete. Larry Austin Jr. and Everett Clemons are a load. Clemons scored 40 against Springfield Southeast and topped 30 points three times.
HILLCREST vs. PEORIA CENTRAL
The records: Hillcrest (24-5), Peoria Central (26-3).
When: 2 p.m. Friday, Ch. 5.2
Outlook: Manual received a lot of the attention throughout the season, but Peoria Central was always regarded as an extremely talented young team. The Lions beat Manual in January, then lost to the Rams in the last game of the regular season before ripping off five wins to advance to state. Trey Kellum, a 6-7 senior, leads the way, averaging 12.6 points and 7 rebounds. Hillcrest, under Don Houston, has simply become one of the state’s most consistently excellent teams. Jovan Mooring (15.2 points), Jalen Loving (12.3) and Jayon’e Troutman (11.5) lead the Hawks balanced lineup. Houston has a gift for getting his kids to buy into his system, and play hard and unselfish, which has led to a 114-32 record and a state championship in his five years as head coach.