Breaking out the crystal ball for the Class 3A, 4A tournaments

So far so good, at least in terms of basketball predictions.

Last week we went 5-1 guessing — and I do mean guessing — who would win the IHSA Class 3A and 4A semifinals and finals for the girls basketball tournament.

It’s time to predict what will happen this weekend in Champaign with the boys teams, including Palatine in its first trip to the big time.

Class 3A

Loaded, absolutely loaded.

That’s the only way to describe the final four in Class 3A, thanks in much part to the possibility of a title game between DePaul Prep and Mt. Carmel.

Mt. Carmel (31-5) faces Mt. Zion (35-1) at 9:30 a.m. Friday in the first semifinal. The Caravan is led by 6-foot-6 senior Angelo Ciaravino, who’s committed to Northwestern.

Ciaravino averages 21 points a game, but the Caravan is dangerous all over the court with five other players averaging double figures.

Mt. Zion’s lone loss came to Metamora in January. Six-three junior Lyncoln Koester averages 15.9 points while J.C. Anderson adds 14.7.

The second semifinal, scheduled to tip at 11:15 a.m. Friday, features DePaul Prep (33-2) and Richwoods (29-4).

The Rams rolled to the Class 2A title last year, and they’re primed for a bigger challenge this trip. Their lone losses are to Normal Community and Homewood-Flossmoor, both 4A qualifiers.

While DePaul Prep leans on its offensive balance, including double-digit stalwarts P.J. Chambers and Jaylan McElroy, the question is how they’ll defend Richwoods’ Lathan Sommerville.

Six-10 and committed to Rutgers, Sommerville is a load in the post averaging 24.6 points and 12.3 rebounds.


Mt. Carmel over Mt. Zion

DePaul Prep over Richwoods

DePaul Prep topped Mt. Carmel 41-38 in February. The Rams have the edge again because of their defense, which has allowed 40 points or fewer 28 times this season.

DePaul Prep over Mt. Carmel

Class 4A

Can anyone stop Homewood-Flossmoor?

New Trier gets the first shot but the opening semifinal, tipping at 2 p.m. Friday, has two hungry teams in Palatine (28-8) and Normal Community (31-5).

The Pirates are making their first state semifinal appearance. It took Monday’s last-second bucket from 6-7 Connor May to beat Warren and get to this point, and it might take similar magic to advance in Champaign.

Washington University-bound May does it all for the Pirates while averaging 19.3 points and 8 rebounds. He’s also knocked down 67 3-pointers. Palatine will need steady play from a young lineup, including two sophomores and a junior, to keep up with the Ironmen.

Normal Community struggled this season against Chicago area teams, including a pair of losses at the Wheaton Warrenville South Martin Luther King Jr. event. One of those losses, though, came to Downers Grove North — which was avenged with authority in a 53-29 supersectional rematch.

Three players average double-figure scoring and a fourth scores 8.9 points a game. Six-10 Jaheem Webber, averages 10.3 points.

At 3:45 p.m. Friday, Homewood-Flossmoor (31-4) faces New Trier (29-7).

Homewood-Flossmoor continued its mastery of a brutal schedule with Monday’s 60-58 win over Curie. Explosive and balanced, the Vikings are led by Bryce Heard’s 16.9 points per game and Gianni Cobb’s 15.1.

New Trier enters with a bunch of losses, but that’s due to also having a tough schedule. The Trevians are led by Logan Feller, Christopher Kirkpatrick and Ian Brown.


Normal Community over Palatine

Homewood-Flossmoor over New Trier

The Vikings’ best finish was a second in 2004, but this team checks all the boxes for a state champion.

Homewood-Flossmoor over Normal Community

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