Central sectional preview
Class 3A sectional
Champaign Central (17-10) vs. Springfield Lanphier (27-1)
Tuesday, 7 p.m. at Mattoon High School
No sectional has a list of competitors that can match the quality heading to Mattoon. Lanphier was the top-ranked team for eight consecutive weeks, until it lost to Lincoln and was replaced at the top by the Railsplitters. Lincoln plays in the second semifinal at Mattoon, opening with Chatham Glenwood. “This sectional is loaded,” Lanphier coach Blake Turner said. “There’s not another that’s even close. We can only play the schedule put in front of us. We’ve been working hard for Central.” Lanphier’s loss was a wakeup call. The Lions rebounded from their lone loss with 108 points in their next game. “That opened my kids’ eyes and they noticed things they weren’t doing well,” Turner said. “We’d gotten in a comfort zone of winning even when we weren’t playing well.” Lanphier is led by Larry Austin Jr., who leads the team in scoring (22.4), rebounding (7.6) and assists (3.8). Teammate Xavier Bishop has an 18.4 average and knocked down 94 three-pointers this season. “I’d put him up with any sophomore in the state,” Turner said. Austin is a Tennessee recruit who has gotten to the free throw line 268 times in 28 games. Central’s leaders are Kameron Rowan (10.6 points per game) and Sean Suggs (10.0). Noah Wells leads in three-pointers (35) and Rowan in assists (2.8).