By Matt Nestor
The good news for the Jefferson J-Hawks is they cruised through their IHSA Class 4A regional at Crystal Lake South to move on to the sectional at Boylan.
The bad news is they lost a key piece along the way.
Senior Mario Manns returned for the J-Hawks, and Jefferson started off with a 47-43 victory over Huntley in the first round. They won the regional with a 57-44 victory over Crystal Lake South.
On their way to the regional championship, however, senior Mershon Wilkes hurt his knee and is lost for the season. Wilkes was one of the J-Hawks’ leading scorers, and his absence will be felt in the sectional round.
The Freeport Pretzels have been on a roll for almost a month straight now. The Pretzels won four straight to end the regular season, including a shocker at Boylan.
They have continued the roll into their Class 3A regional, dominating both Belvidere schools at the East regional on their way to the regional championship.
The Pretzels kicked off the regional with a resounding 72-33 victory over the Belvidere Bucs in the first round. Seniors Jalen Carroll and Austin Davis were on fire from the outside, and the Pretzels used pressure defense to create easy baskets all game long.
They followed that up with a strong fourth-quarter push, outscoring Belvidere North 14-7 in the final quarter to earn the regional championship with a 47-40 win over the Blue Thunder.
DeKalb awaits Freeport in the next round. The J-Hawks will be at the Boylan sectional, where they will face Bartlett.
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From the Mar. 10-16, 2010 issue