Sports

Preview capsules for Illinois boys 1A-2A regionals

Posted: Feb. 16, 2013 10:58 pm Updated: Mar. 10, 2013 12:15 am

By MATT SCHUCKMAN
Herald-Whig Sports Editor

CLASS 1A CENTRAL REGIONAL

The Pairings

Monday, Feb. 18

No. 4 South Fulton vs. No. 5 West Prairie, 7:30 p.m.

Tuesday, Feb. 19

No. 2 Southeastern vs. No. 7 Bushnell-Prairie City/Avon, 6 p.m.

No. 3 Central vs. No. 6 Brown County, 7:30 p.m.

Wednesday, Feb. 20

No. 1 Unity vs. South Fulton/West Prairie winner, 6 p.m.

Southeastern/BPCA winner vs. Central/Brown County winner, 7:30 p.m.

Friday, Feb. 22

Semifinal winners, 7:30 p.m.

The Breakdown

º Unity (17-11) -- The Mustangs built some necessary momentum by winning their final five games and seven of their last eight. Unity can play big with Lane Davis, Andrew Doyle and Thomas Donley in the frontcourt, but the Mustangs also can pick up the pace with a solid backcourt that includes Alex Blickhan and Will Klusmeyer. Such versatility could carry Unity to a regional title.

º Southeastern (10-13) -- Todd Fox's return to the sidelines has resulted in a season of encouraging results and a few frustrating moments. The scoring tandem of Matthew Ramsey and Shea Flesner give the Suns a potent 1-2 punch, but the Suns limp into the postseason having lost three of their last four games.

º Central (12-16) -- After opening the season by losing seven of their first eight games, the Panthers jumstarted their season with strong play at the Winchester Invitational in early January. Sophomore forward Taylor Heiman plays big, and Central gets key contributions from Cole Phillips and Marcus Landes.

º South Fulton (16-11) -- The Rebels were a middle-of-the-pack team in the Prairieland Conference, finishing with a 5-5 record. Junior forward Brody Breedlove can score inside and out, and South Fulton has punch in the form of Mason Blickenstaff and Tyler Engel.

º West Prairie (12-13) -- Dalton Deeter is one of the top scorers in the regional from the perimeter, and the Cyclones' Ethan Peterson is a consistent double-digit scorer. The challenge for the Cyclones will be to match up in the frontcourt.

º Brown County (3-20) -- The Hornets endured a 14-game losing streak and have taken their lumps with a lineup built around a youth movement. Sophomores Collin Clinging and Michael Scoggan have been steady and Brown County hopes the future will be bright.

º Bushnell-Prairie City/Avon (1-20) -- The Spartans are a long shot to be a spoiler.

CLASS 1A GRIGGSVILLE-PERRY REGIONAL

The Pairings

Monday, Feb. 18

No. 4 Griggsville-Perry vs. No. 5 Triopia, 7:30 p.m.

Tuesday, Feb. 19

No. 2 Liberty vs. No. 7 Pleasant Hill, 6 p.m.

No. 3 Winchester West Central vs. No. 6 Western, 7:30 p.m.

Wednesday, Feb. 20

No. 1 Payson Seymour vs. Griggsville-Perry/Triopia winner, 6 p.m.

Liberty-Pleasant Hill winner vs. West Central/Western winner, 7:30 p.m.

Friday, Feb. 22

Semifinal winners, 7:30 p.m.

The Breakdown

º Payson Seymour (23-4) -- Winning at West Hancock late in the regular season proved the Indians can be more than a regional contender. They can be a state contender. Cody Hildebrand, who has four games of more than 30 points, is an explosive scorer, while the likes of Jake Voss and Dalton Edwards give Payson a bevy of complementary scorers.

º Liberty (17-10) -- The Eagles have proven themselves capable of beating top teams, knocking back Payson in the title game of the Winchester Invitational finals and putting up a fight in recent weeks at Quincy Notre Dame and Pittsfield. Liberty has size (Isaac Murfin), shooting (Michael Blewitt) and an X-factor (Michael Mast).

º West Central (16-12) -- Colin VanDeVelde leads a potent attack that features a 1,000-point scorer in Corey Barnett. The Cougars went to the Class 1A state tournament in 2011 and feature a backcourt capable of making them dangerous, especially with their experience.

º Griggsville-Perry (13-15) -- If there is a player in the field that can get hot and upset the apple cart, it's Matthew Kennedy. Why? He has Dryden Craven setting him up and Levi King rebounding. The combination of the three, along with the bevy of Bradshaws the Tornadoes put on the court, makes them capable of running a series of upsets.

º Triopia (15-8) -- The Trojans rely on the scoring of Tanner Huddleston, who recently topped 1,000 points for his career. The Trojans lost three of four games before closing the regular season with back-to-back victories.

º Western (9-16) -- Veteran coach Pat Rafferty has helped the Wildcats improve immensely and brought out the leadership in two seniors -- Jake Walch and Kyle Warning -- and junior Izack Hively. Together, those three are complementary pieces offensively who can create matchup problems and make Western a spoiler.

º Pleasant Hill (0-20) -- The Wildcats have struggled to find a go-to scorer and consistency on both ends of the floor.

CLASS 2A WEST HANCOCK REGIONAL

The Pairings

At Warsaw

Monday, Feb. 18

No. 4 Beardstown vs. No. 5 Rushville-Industry, 7:30 p.m.

Tuesday, Feb. 19

No. 1 West Hancock vs. Beardstown/Rushville winner, 7:30 p.m.

Wednesday, Feb. 20

No. 2 Pittsfield vs. No. 3 Illini West, 7:30 p.m.

Friday, Feb. 22

Semifinal winners, 7:30 p.m.

The breakdown

º West Hancock (24-5) -- The Titans roll into the postseason on an eight-game winning streak, which includes victories at Keokuk and Quincy Notre Dame. Paxton Harmon, an all-state candidate, is the most prolific scorer in the field, having posted 20 or more points 13 times this season. What makes the Titans dangerous is they have other scoring options in Parker Gibbs and Austin Hardy and the Reno Pinkston defensively mentality to shut teams down.

º Pittsfield (16-13) -- The Saukees are hitting their stride. They've won six of their last seven games and closed the season with a victory over Liberty in which the Saukees went 21 of 21 from the free-throw line. Wayde Smith averages 16 points per game, and Kennedy Kattelman has developed into a leader for a team that prides itself on defense and the ability to win close games.

º Illini West (15-12) -- Which team shows up? The one that beat state-ranked foes Monmouth-Roseville and Rockridge and took out West Hancock or the one that struggles offensively at times? The Chargers are capable of winning this regional with an offensive presence in Brody Gronewold, a hard-nosed hustler in Levi Kirby and some emerging underclassmen.

º Beardstown (13-10) -- The Tigers are led by the backcourt duo of DeLaney Ortiz and Jon Kramer and are coming off losing two of their last three games. That came on the heels of four straight victories.

º Rushville-Industry (9-18) -- The Rockets have lost three of their last four games and struggle in tight contests. They closed the regular season with a two-point loss to Abingdon and are 1-3 in games decided by three points or less.

-- mschuckman@whig.com/221-3366

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