Boys basketball: BCR area sectional previews

Members of the Princeton boys basketball team hoist the Class 2A Regional plaque after defeating Morrison during the Class 2A Regional final game on Friday, Feb. 23, 2024 at Erie-Prophetstown High School. Players and coaches held up the number three for three-peat Regional champions.

Class 1A Elgin Christian Harvest Academy Sectional

Team to beat: (1) Serena (30-3).

Tuesday’s semifinal: (1) Deerfield Rochelle Zell (21-5) vs. (2) Aurora Christian (20-8), 7 p.m.

Wednesday’s semifinal: (1) Serena (30-3) vs. (2) Elgin Harvest Christian Academy (20-11), 7 p.m.

Friday’s final: Winners 1-2, 7 p.m.

Note worthy: Serena (No. 8) and Aurora Christian (No. 10) were ranked in the final AP Class 1A Poll. The Huskers defeated Ottawa Marquette 67-57 for the Somonauk Regional title. Serena fell to Chicago St. Francis De LaSalle 59-56 in last year’s sectional finals. It has won five regionals, but has never won a sectional. ... Aurora Christian ended Earlville’s historic season by defeating the Red Raiders 51-50 in the Aurora Christian Regional. ... Elgin Christian Academy has had all the comforts of home for the postseason, defeating Elgin St. Edward 71-46 for the regional title. ... Rochelle Zell also won its own regional, defeating (2) Morton Grove Academy 54-31.

BCR Pick: (1) Serena.

Next: Winner advances to the DeKalb Supersectional to face the Hanover Sectional winner at 6 p.m., Monday, March 4.

Class 2A Mendota Sectional

Team to beat: Byron (27-2).

Tuesday’s semifinal: (4) Princeton (15-15) vs. (2) Rockford Christian (21-7), 7 p.m.

Wednesday’s semifinal: (1) Byron (27-2) vs. (4) Riverdale (22-8), 7 p.m.

Friday’s final: Winners 1-2, 7 p.m.

Note worthy: Princeton won its third straight regional championship, the 19th in school history, by rallying to defeat Morrison 57-55 at Prophetstown. The Tigers have had an up and down season, but have the experience to make a deep postseason push. Junior forward Noah LaPorte is closing in on 1,000 points for his career and is on target to make that happen Tuesday. He would become the 13th 1,000 point scorer in program history. ... Rockford Christian beat crosstown rival Rockford Lutheran 75-55 to win the Winnebago Regional. The Royal Lions are defending sectional champions, losing to Rockridge at the Supersectional last year. Rockridge knocked out Princeton in the Orion Sectional finals at Geneseo. ... Byron is ranked No. 7 in Class 2A. The Tigers doubled up Johnsburg 62-31 to win the Genoa-Kingston Regional. ... Riverdale upset top-seeded Seneca 59-54 to capture the Hall Regional.

BCR pick: Byron.

Next: Winner advances to the Sterling Supersectional to face the Elmhurst Timothy Christian Sectional winner at 7 p.m., Monday, March 4.

Class 2A Canton Sectional

Team to beat: Manual (21-10).

Tuesday’s semifinal: (1) Rockridge (24-6) vs. (6) Peoria Notre Dame (11-17), 6 p.m.

Wednesday’s semifinal: (1) Peoria Manual (21-10) vs. (2) Macomb (24-5), 6 p.m.

Friday’s final: Winners 1-2, 7 p.m.

Note worthy: The field includes two of the top 10 ranked teams in Class 2A in No. 3 Manual and No. 10 Rockridge. Rockridge, which is coming off two sectional championships and fourth-place state finishes, defeated future Three Rivers foe Aledo Mercer County 43-40 for the regional title at Monmouth-Roseville. The Rockets will face an 11-17 Notre Dame, which won its own regional title by defeating El Paso-Gridley 47-30. ... Manual is a five-time state champion, including four straight AA titles from 1994-97. Manual made two state appearances in 3A, placing third in 2016 and fourth in 2019. Recent declining enrollments have bumped the Rams into 2A. The Rams beat Clinton 61-31 at the Olympia Regional.

BCR pick: Manual.

Next: Winner advances to the Springfield Supersectional to face the Beardstown Sectional winner at 6 p.m., Monday, March 4.

Class 2A Clifton Central Sectional

Team to beat: Beecher (32-0).

Tuesday’s semifinal: (1) Fieldcrest (32-1) vs. (2) Manteno (26-4), 7 p.m.

Wednesday’s semifinal: (1) Beecher (32-0) vs. (2) Bismarck-Henning-Rossville-Alvin (29-3), 7 p.m.

Friday’s final: Winners 1-2, 7 p.m.

Note worthy: This sectional field boasts two of the top six ranked teams in 2A with No. 2 Beecher and No. 6 Fieldcrest. Neither team got out of the regionals a year ago. ... Fieldcrest beat host Kankakee McNamara 72-47 for the regional title, their 15th in school history. The Knights seek their second sectional championship in four years and third overall. The Knights have not lost since falling to Rock Falls 64-51 on Dec. 27 in the State Farm Holiday Classic, riding a 22-game win streak. ... Beecher topped Joliet Academy 64-55 at the Westmont Regional for only its second regional title in school history. The Bobcats have beat two top 10 ranked teams - No. 4 Byron (55-51) and No. 10 Rockridge (62-40) - and have won by 25 or more points 16 times. Beecher received two first-place votes to come in at No. 2 behind Breese Central in the final AP Poll. ... Manteno won its own regional, defeating Wilmington 48-31. Bismarck Fairbury Prairie Central 54-46 to win the Gilman Iroquois West Regional.

BCR pick: Beecher.

Next: Winner advances to the Joliet Supersectional to face the Chicago Corliss Sectional winner at 7 p.m., Monday, March 4.

Class 3A Pontiac Sectional

Tuesday’s semifinals: (1) Metamora (29-4) vs. (5) LaSalle-Peru (23-8), 7 p.m.

Wednesday’s semifinals: (1) Kankakee (27-4) vs. (2) Peoria Richwoods (24-4), 7 p.m.

Friday’s final: Winners 1-2, 7 p.m.

Note worthy: Metamora is the defending Class 3A state champions and has reloaded to make another title run for retiring coach Danny Grieves. The Redbirds were state runners-up in 2022. They are ranked No. 2 in 3A. The Redbirds routed Peoria 69-33 to win the Geneseo Regional. Last year’s leading scorer Ethan Kizer is back for Metamora. The Redbirds also gained Iowa recruit Cooper Koch, who transfered from Peoria Notre Dame. ... L-P surprised the field at the Sterling Regional by upsetting No. 2 seed Dixon 56-52 and the host No. 3 seed Golden Warriors 68-54 to raise the regional hardware. It was the Cavaliers’ 35th in school history, but its first in eight years. L-P has won six sectional championship, it’s last in 1993 under legendary coach Chips Giovanine. ... Kankakee beat Pontiac 62-47 for the Streator Regional title and keeping the Indians from returning home for sectional. ... Richwoods edged Morton 56-53 to win the Limestone Regional title.

BCR pick: Metamora.

Next: Winner advances to the Ottawa Supersectional to face the Harvey Thornton Sectional winner at 7 p.m., Monday, March 4.