Kevin Walter caught 41 balls for Houston this season, but this was not one of them. | AP
WHO’LL BE PLAYING IN WAUKEGAN?
March Madness will return to the Dog Pound this year as Waukegan High School will host an IHSA Class 4A (big school) section for the first time in three years (Barrington had it the last two years).
The Waukegan Sectional champ will advance to the Elite Eight super-sectional at NIU in DeKalb, just like last year.
Last March, Warren won the sectional and then was upset by Rockford Auburn at NIU.
Which teams will make it to the Dog Pound in March?
Four of the following 22 teams will make it and, as of today, the fans of at least half those teams can be dreaming about watching hoops in the Pound.
Teams are listed based on current won/loss record:
1) Zion-Benton 13-3
2) Lake Forest 10-3
3) St. Viator 9-3
4) Prospect 10-4
4) Stevenson 10-4
6) Grayslake North 9-4
7) Palatine Fremd 11-5
8) Barrington 10-7
9) McHenry 7-5
10) Mundelein 8-6
10) Waukegan 8-6
12) Palatine 9-7
13) Warren 8-7
14) Deerfield 7-7
15) Buffalo Grove 7-8
16) Grant 7-9
17) Highland Park 6-9
17) Lake Zurich 6-9
19) Hersey 4-10
20) R. Meadows 4-11
21) Wheeling 3-13
22) Libertyville 2-12
The regionals that send their champions to the Dog Pound will be played at Deerfield, Lake Zurich, Warren and Prospect.
ANTIOCH HOSTING 3A SECTIONAL
The IHSA Class 3A (smaller schools) sectional in our area will be played this year at Antioch High School.
North Chicago has owned the sectional in recent years, and the Warhawks’ challengers this year figure to be Lakes, Ridgewood and Gordon Tech.
The winner of the Antioch Sectional will head to the Elite Eight super-sectional at Hoffman Estates High School.
The big favorite to win the 3A state title this year is Morgan Park from the Chicago Public League.
North Chicago and Morgan Park are in opposite halves of the bracket so they couldn’t play until the state-championship game.
Here are the 21 teams assigned to the Antioch Sectional. They will be split into four regionals, that will be played at North Chicago, Vernon Hills, Ridgewood and Chicago Senn.
Teams are listed based on current won/loss record:
1) North Chicago 14-1
2) Lakes 12-5
3) Ridgewood 11-5
4) Gordon Tech 9-5
4) Wauconda 9-6
6) Northside Prep 7-6
7) Kelvyn Park 3-3
7) Uplift 5-5
7) Johnsburg 6-6
10) Vernon Hills 7-9
11) Carmel 5-7
11) Elmwood Park 5-7
13) Sullivan 2-4
14) Prosser 4-10
15) Aspira 2-8
16) Antioch 3-13
17) Grayslake Cent. 2-11
18) Richmond 1-12
19) Senn 0-3
20) Pritzker 0-4
21) Northtown 0-7
Updated: February 5, 2013 6:14AM
News you can use ... or maybe not.
■ Best news of this high school basketball season:
After holding the tournament for the last two years in Barrington, the IHSA is returning the Class 4A sectional to Waukegan’s Dog Pound, where it should be held every year.
So, circle March 5-6 & 8 on your calendars, which are the dates for the sectional at The Pound.
There’s no way of telling yet who’s going to be playing there, but you have to like the chances of Zion-Benton, Warren, Waukegan, Lake Forest, Stevenson and Mundelein.
The Class 3A (smaller schools) sectional is at Antioch this year.
North Chicago, Lakes, Ridgewood and Gordon Tech are the picks to click in that division.
■ In the spirit of full disclosure ...
For the record, the company that owns this newspaper also has a big ownership stake in the Web site highschoolcube.com.
But whether it did or didn’t, “highschoolcube.com” has to be the No. 1 story so far this prep boys basketball season.
On Friday and Saturday nights, if you are a prep hoops fan, you can connect to that Web site on your computer and literally watch many of the top prep basketball games in the Chicago area being played that night.
It doesn’t air them all, but for a hoops junkie, it is the perfect innovation.
During the past holiday season, you could have watched Stevenson’s great run to a fourth-place finish at Proviso West’s tournament, Warren’s fourth-place finish at the Pontiac tournament, and North Chicago’s championship-game win in the tourney in Bloomington.
During Thanksgiving week, Zion-Benton’s games were featured at the Lane Tech tourney, and it was watching those contests that it first became apparent that the Zee-Bees were way better than anyone thought.
■ Two things to watch for in coming weeks:
1) The possible return of high-scoring guard Robert Knar to the Mundelein lineup. He’s been out all season rehabbing an ACL injury.
2) If North Chicago’s “Big 3” of JayQuan McCloud, JaVairius Amos-Mays and Big Kurt Hall bring their “A” games to Chicago for a pair of games over MLK Weekend.
The Warhawks are unstoppable in Lake County, but the elite teams in the Chicago Public League might be able to shut down the “Big 3.”
■ The North Suburban Conference girls basketball races are over.
Zion-Benton will win the Lake Division and unbeaten Vernon Hills will win the Prairie Division, and the NSC Championship Game in Zion in early February should be a classic.
Going 1-3 at Wheeling and falling to 5-7 overall has dampened hopes that Carmel’s boys basketball team will finish the season above .500 for the first time in a generation.
It will be interesting to see if the Corsairs can regain the early-season buzz that surrounded the program.
■ NFL food for thought:
The Bears finished the 2012 season 2-6 in games against teams that made the playoffs.
The Green Bay Packers were 2-4.
■ Michael Turner is no longer the burner.
The graduate of North Chicago High School ranked No. 22 in the NFL in rushing yards this season.
He gained 800 yards in 220 carries and scored 10 TDs for the Atlanta Falcons.
Houston Texans wideout and Libertyville High School grad Kevin Walter caught 41 passes for 518 yards and 2 TDs this year.
He was third on the Texans in receptions.
Both Turner and Walter can add to their season stats as their teams are in the playoffs.