1. Lanphier – Give credit to Lanphier. The Lions have talked a lot this year and have taken some verbal jabs at Southeast, but they’ve backed it up with two wins over the Spartans by combined 26 points. A 65-50 win over Southeast on Tuesday at Lober-Nika clinched at least a share of the CS8 title. A win on the road at Glenwood on Friday would cement coach Blake Turner’s first outright conference title as the Lions’ head man.
2. Southeast – The Spartans have just looked a little off in their two games against Lanphier this year. Whether that’s a confidence issue, matchup problem or an issue with the style of play, the Spartans have looked hesitant at times and have missed a lot of makable buckets against their rival. The talent is certainly there and because of that, Southeast still has a chance at a conference share with a win at Lincoln on Friday, combined with a Lanphier loss at Glenwood.
3. Eisenhower – The other intense, inner-city rivalry in the CS8 has also been somewhat one-sided this season. Eisenhower held off MacArthur on the road on Tuesday to sweep the regular season series against the Generals.
4. Lincoln – The Railsplitters defeated Glenwood on Tuesday, 44-31 at home to move to 12-5 in the CS8. Lincoln will play its last ever CS8 game on Friday as Southeast makes the trip to Roy S. Anderson Gymnasium. (Sad emoji for all) Junior Ben Grunder has steadily improved all year. He and Isaiah Bowers will be a talented back court in the Apollo next year.
5. Jacksonville – Last Friday was kind of a microcosm of Jacksonville’s season. The Crimsons held leads of 10-0, 15-2 and 22-8 in the first quarter against visiting Lanphier, but then crumbled offensively for the next three quarters.
6. MacArthur – Seemingly, the Generals are one of the most talented teams in the conference. That has not resulted in consistency, though. MacArthur is 3-3 in its last six CS8 games and will round out the regular season against Jacksonville on Friday.
7. SHG – The Cyclones trailed Springfield 18-5 in the first quarter on Tuesday, but stormed back to spoil the Senators’ senior night with a 54-45 win, avenging a loss to the Solons during the City Tournament. Eight of Jaden Snodgrass’ 12 points came in the fourth quarter. Snodgrass is a great building block for SHG moving forward.
8. Springfield – The Senators had a golden opportunity to win their fourth CS8 game of the season, but struggled on the glass, giving up 15 rebounds alone to Austin Chapman.
9. Glenwood – The young Titans can round out the regular season with a bang if they can spoil Lanphier’s opportunity to win an outright CS8 title.
10. Rochester – The Rockets have been sneaky good in the first half of games this year. Second halves have been a different story, though, as the scoring margin significantly changes in the third and fourth quarters. Mike Steers has been giving more and more minutes to his underclassmen.
1. Pleasant Plains – We’re going to see a rematch of the Beardstown sectional final from a year ago on Friday night in the Quincy regional championship. The Cardinals blew out Illini West, while QND dump trucked Beardstown. The QND student section was chanting “We want Plains” as the game winded down. The Cardinals are ready for the tall task having won 19 of its last 20.
2. PORTA – Wednesday night features a terrific matchup between two elite scorers in the PORTA regional. Max Muller and the Jays take on Taylor Bruninga, one of the best scorers in 2A and Illini Bluffs. Both guys are familiar with one another during their time playing with Illinois Irish on the AAU circuit.
3. Williamsville – The Bullets will meet Warsaw on Wednesday night for a crack at a regional title game on Friday in Riverton. Jake Pennell made sure there wasn’t any threat of losing to Riverton in the quarterfinals on Monday, as he led the team with 13 points.
4. New Berlin – Can the Pretzels add another peg to their mighty improvement of a season? New Berlin will have to get by Lutheran in the 1A Pawnee semifinals Wednesday night for a chance to play for a regional championship. The Pretzels beat Lutheran back during Thanksgiving Tournament time. The Pretzels are the No. 1 seed in that regional.