Some surprising names are among the teams that will be watching from the stands Friday when supersectional play begins, including Quincy Notre Dame, Montini, Belleville Althoff and Crystal Lake Central.
A few more could join them after Friday.
Our former mentor at the Daily Herald – the venerable Bob Frisk – picked each quarterfinal, semifinal and championship game of the boys’ state basketball tournament for years before he retired. The sports staff picked high school football games every week.
We’ve shied away from that practice here in the past, but what the heck. Let’s give some coaches, players and fans a chance to say, “I told you so.”
So here are our selections for the teams that will fill the 16 semifinalist slots November 15-16 at Redbird Arena on the campus of Illinois State University in Normal.
Libertyville (29-10) vs. Fremd (35-4)
Our pick: Two young teams with outstanding setters and great supporting casts, but it’s hard to go against Breslen Reid and the home team here. Fremd.
Huntley (34-5) vs. Wheaton Warrenville South (31-8)
Our pick: Who wins this battle of setters: Huntley’s Taylor Jakubowski vs. Wheaton Warrenville South’s Zayna Meyer? We like Bill Schreier to move on. Wheaton Warrenville South.
Normal supersectIonal (moved to Plainfield North)
Benet (38-1) vs. Minooka (32-7)
Our pick: Benet won the first meeting this fall, and Hattie Monson and Kyla Kenney still have a score to settle with Minooka, which spoiled the Redwings’ state bid in 2017. Benet.
Marist (39-2) vs. Sandburg (34-5)
Our pick: How can you pick against Camryn Hannah and the two-time defending Class 4A champions? Sandburg can play “D,” but it says here, oh … Marist.
Belvidere North (35-4) vs. Sterling (34-6)
Our pick: These two teams met earlier this season in Belvidere, and the Blue Thunder might not have been ready for prime time. Not this time. But it’s still … Sterling.
St. Francis supersectional
Nazareth (32-7) vs. St. Francis (27-12)
Our pick: Nazareth won on St. Ignatius’ floor in the sectional final and St. Francis is playing on its home floor Friday. Why not do it again? Nazareth.
Normal U-High (33-6) vs Centralia (33-4)
Our pick: Normal U-High has two things going for it … Isabel Schaefbauer and Alayna Crabtree. You want more incentive? Redbird Arena is just three blocks from … U-High.
Hinsdale South supersectional
De La Salle (33-6) vs. Joliet Catholic (24-14)
Our pick: De La Salle has had a fabulous season but Joliet Catholic is getting healthy at the right time and wants another shot at Sterling. Joliet Catholic.
Chicago Christian supersectional
Chicago Christian (32-5) St. Joseph-Ogden (32-4)
Our pick: Chicago Christian has been playing a rugged schedule all season to get ready for this moment, and playing at home certainly doesn’t hurt. Chicago Christian.
Fairfield (37-2) vs. Breese Mater Dei (30-9)
Our pick: Mater Dei has Jesse Timmerman and Tori Mohesky. Fairfield has the dual threat of Chloe Britton. Something has to give. Mater Dei.
Timothy Christian (17-21) vs. Rockford Lutheran (33-5)
Our pick: Jordan Haverly’s Rockford Lutheran team stunned powerful Montini in the sectional final. Timothy has been building for the future. Rockford Lutheran.
Decatur St. Teresa (34-5) vs. Orion (38-1)
Our pick: Orion has Mackenzie Grafton and Sarah Jacobsen. St. Teresa has Valerie Nutakor and Lexi Huck. Too bad only one team can win. St. Teresa.
New Berlin supersectional
Athens (29-5) vs. Greenfield (28-5-2)
Our pick: Greenfield spreads out the wealth. Athens has super studs in 6-foot Caroline Lendy and Adrien Barrett. In a toss-up, Greece is the word. Athens.
Newark (38-2) vs. Dakota (35-4)
Our pick: We’d probably pick Tabytha Toelke and the Indians against anyone else in the field. But this time, Dakota is going up against Madi Malone. Newark.
Red Hill supersectional
Norris City-Omaha-Enfield (37-2) vs. Altamont (31-7-1)
Our pick: It’s a battle of the network superstars: NCOE’s Emilee Bishop vs. Altamont’s big banger Rachel Jackman. We like anybody with Omaha in their name. NCOE.
Illini Bluffs (38-1) vs. Milford (30-4-1)
Our pick: Illini Bluffs has been playing with a chip on its collective shoulder since being upset in a Class 2A regional final by Deer Creek Mackinaw last year. Illini Bluffs.