County teams can’t catch a break in hoops tourneys
BY JEFF BONATO email@example.com on twiter @jeffbonato March 17, 2013 11:40AM
PEORIA Saturday Mar 16 2013 Stevenson shows their disappointment as they accept second place during the state basketball 4A finals game. | Michelle LaVigne~Sun-Times Media
LAKE COUNTY: SECOND-BEST
TITLE GAMES IN 4-CLASS SYSTEM
2008 — Zion-Benton boys lost to Richards
2009 — Waukegan boys lost to Young
2011 — Warren boys lost to Simeon
2011 — Zion-Benton girls lost to Bolingbrook
2012 — North Chicago boys lost to Peoria Central
2012 — Vernon Hills girls lost to Montini
2013 — Stevenson boys lost to Simeon
2013 — Vernon Hills girls lost to Notre Dame of Quincy
Updated: May 17, 2013 2:15AM
Since the advent of the four-class playoffs in hoops in 2008, Lake County has produced, each year, at least one very good boys basketball team. But none of those teams has been lucky.
Luck being defined as having the one great team in the playoffs — the only team your very good club can’t beat — get upset somewhere along the tournament trail, thereby clearing the path to a state championship.
When Stevenson lost to mighty Simeon of Chicago 58-40 last Saturday in the Class 4A state championship boys basketball game, it marked the fifth time in six years that a Lake County team finished second at state in boys hoops.
No Lake County team has ever won the state title in boys basketball — a streak that now stands at 106 years. By comparison, the Cubs are about to start work on Year 105 without a World Series title.
In girls basketball, the scoreboard now stands at three second-place finishes in the last three years.
Here’s an example of what’s on the table. In the Class 3A tourney this year, Cahokia lost twice during the regular season to Belleville East, and during March Madness, Belleville East was the No. 1 seed in its sectional, and Cahokia was No. 2. But when Belleville got upset in the regional, it cleared the way for Cahokia to make a long tourney run that resulted in a second-place finish.
That kind of stuff never seems to happen to our teams.
Last Saturday at the Peoria Civic Center, every person in the house not wearing Stevenson “green” knew that Simeon would win the championship game. But who doesn’t think that Stevenson could have won the state title if Saturday’s opponent had been Proviso East, which lost to Simeon on Friday in the semis.
That’s what we’re talking about. Every year, there seems to be one and only one team in the state that Lake County’s best can’t beat. And somehow, that team always winds up in our way. Luck has never been on our side.
Which brings us to next year.
On paper, it appears there are three Lake County boys teams and one girls team capable of playing in Peoria (boys) or at ISU (girls) in the state’s Final Four. Will it happen? History says yes.
But history also tells us that there will be one and only one team in the state that Lake County’s best won’t be able to beat in a best-of-one.
Unless luck is on our side.