By Matt Nestor
The Auburn Knights, Boylan Titans and Hononegah Indians are all the likely favorites to win their IHSA sectional title and move on to the super sectionals.
The only problem is all three are in the same regional, which means only one can move on to the sectional in Algonquin.
With 22 wins each for Auburn and Hononegah and another 21 for Boylan, all three rank among the tops in Class 4A in the state. Which means whoever survives the regional at Jefferson will be battle-tested and ready for whatever they may face the rest of the season.
“We have to play extremely well,” Hononegah Head Coach Mike Miller said. “It’s too bad that we have three 20-win teams in our regional. But it is what it is.”
Auburn is the top seed in the regional. While making the regional championship is no guarantee, they do have an easier road.
Boylan, the 3 seed, has to play an extra game, opening up the first round against Guilford. If they win that game, the Titans will have to battle Hononegah just to make it to the reigional final, where Auburn could likely wait.
“It has extreme implications come regional time,” Auburn Head Coach Bryan Ott said of his team’s season sweeps of Boylan and Hononegah. “Being the 1 [seed] is going to be more important than it has ever been.”
Throw in Guilford and their quick guards, Harlem and their balanced offense, and Jefferson, who has a player in Dez Agee who can win a game on his own, and you can see how different the styles are teams will have to prepare for in a five-day span.
“It’s a situation for us that if it does happen to be Boylan, they give us challenges with their size,” Miller said. “And then, if we happen to get that one, Auburn gives us challenges with their quickness. It’s two totally different preps, and it’s good that our guys can adjust on the fly because we’re going to have to, and play extremely well to survive that.”
From the March 2-8, 2011, issue