Thursday, March 6, 2014

My Game of the Week...

...could very well be Zion-Benton (25-3) against St. Viator (22-5) tomorrow night at Rolling Meadows.

Why not De La Salle - Whitney Young? Well, a few reasons. First of all, my buddy Kevin from Flossmoor decided to go to Michigan for the weekend instead, to "enjoy the winter weather." (What?)

Second, that Lake Zurich Sectional has me a little intrigued. (And, besides, it's geographically convenient.) Check out some of these teams: Stevenson (No. 1 seed), Fremd (No. 2), Lake Forest (No. 3), Zion-Benton (No. 4) and St. Viator (No. 5). Seriously, couldn't any of these schools win the Park Ridge (Maine South) Sectional (which is closer to my house)? And how about some of these potential matchups: Stevenson against Zion-Benton or St. Viator in the semifinals, Fremd vs. Lake Forest in the semis, or No. 1 Stevenson and undefeated Fremd in the finals? You won't want to miss any of those games!

So: a No. 4-seed vs. a No. 5-seed in a great sectional which is not too far from home. Sounds like a no-brainer. Let's have a closer look at these two teams, shall we?

Zion-Benton is led by Milik Yarbrough (above), the top scorer in Lake County history. While ranked No. 10 in both the Tribune and the Sun-Times, the Zee-Bees come in at only No. 25 in MaxPreps. (Do they know something? After all, MaxPreps was the one news service which never gave Curie the respect the rest of us thought they deserved.)

During the season, Zion-Benton beat Mount Carmel, Notre Dame, Warren (twice), Lake Zurich and Libertyville. They lost to Evanston and split with Stevenson and Lake Forest. 

St. Viator, on the other hand, may have the more balanced squad. Besides Ore Arogundade and Roosevelt Smart, the Lions can hurt you with Tom Martin, Sal Cannella and Patrick McNamara. Ranked No. 15, 20 and 18 in the Trib, Sun-Times and MaxPreps, respectively, St. Viator beat Highland Park, Conant, Proviso East, St. Ignatius, Deerfield, Hinsdale Central, Glenbrook North, Benet, Hersey, Notre Dame and St. Patrick during the regular season. The Arlington Heights school split with Prospect while losing to Fremd, Marian Catholic, Loyola and Lake Forest.

Who do I think will win? That's a tough one. I saw Zion-Benton beat Stevenson and St. Viator defeat Benet, both at home. Joe Henricksen, in a must-read piece in the Sun-Times, would rate St. Viator a "buy" and Zion-Benton a "sell" if the two teams were stocks. (He also issued a "sell" recommendation on Curie -- nice call!) So that may be good enough for me. I'll say the Lions in OT.

P. S. Henricksen also has Benet as a "buy." I beg to differ; the Redwings are strictly a one-man team.

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