Still in play
Two area boys' basketball teams return to the court tonight, one in a game that would assure the school of its first state trophy in the sport. Prep sports coordinator Fred Kroner offers his thoughts on the two IHSA tournament games featuring area schools:
Lincoln Sectional semifinal game
Central (18-10) vs. Streator (20-8), 7:30 p.m.
It was more than four decades — and nine head coaches — since Streator last won a boys' basketball regional crown and even then the Bulldogs needed three overtimes to dispatch a six-win Pontiac team in Friday's regional finals. J.J. Cravatta (25 points in the title game) is the team's leader. Central has a size advantage — three players standing at least 6-foot-5 — and few programs in the state have as much experienced leadership as the Maroons, who are 10 deep with seniors. Central's biggest challenge will be to not look ahead to a possible championship-game showdown with the state's top-rated team, Springfield Lanphier.
If successful, look for another double-digit postseason win for the Maroons.
Illinois State University Super-sectional game
Fisher (17-14) vs. Illini Central (16-12), 7:30 p.m.
Both teams have had their share of 2A opposition on the schedule, which is a partial reflection on the overall record. Illini Central, coming off two successive sub-.500 seasons, has been the hottest team the second half of the season, recovering from a 3-10 start by winning 13 of its last 15 games. Fisher got out of the gates with a 13-4 start before enduring a 10-game losing streak. The Bunnies have made their run with a bunch of similar-sized players: Dylan Chapman (6-foot-3) is the tallest varsity member, followed by 6-2 Hans Carmien, Taw Fredrickson and Wade Williams. One program or another will clinch its first state trophy in any boys' sport. Why not Fisher?