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Prep Boys Basketball Insider: Ralston mixed on later sectional seeding

Published: Tuesday, Feb. 18, 2014 5:30 a.m. CDT

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Ralston mixed on later sectional seeding

For those who have been searching for the boys basketball postseason draw, relax – you haven't missed it.

The IHSA this year is releasing postseason seeds later than in the past. The seeds for 3A and 4A boys teams are scheduled to come out Thursday, with the pairings and dates to be released Friday.

Geneva boys basketball coach Phil Ralston expressed mixed feelings on the pushed-back timetable compared to the past. Regional play in classes 3A and 4A will begin the week of March 3.

"I don't know if it's a good thing or a bad thing," Ralston said. "I know for teams like us that like to get several scouts in, it shortens our ability to do that, especially when you're looking at a 23-team sectional and teams that are an hour and a half away from you that you could end up playing.

"It makes the life of a coach that much more difficult, but I know that there probably are coaches out there that would say with this new online system and them being able to generate [the brackets] this quickly, that maybe having [the voting] a week later or a week and a half later or two weeks later is better because it's maybe more reflective of where the team is at before the state tournament."

Geneva, 19-5 on the season and owning quality non-conference wins over teams such as Neuqua Valley and Glenbard North, is set up for one of its best seedings in recent memory, although the Vikings are again headed to a highly competitive sectional, hosted by East Aurora. A projection by Chicago area basketball analyst Joe Henricksen has Geneva slotted as the sixth seed in the 23-team East Aurora Sectional, behind Benet, West Aurora, Hinsdale Central, Naperville Central and Bolingbrook. Batavia (6-16) also is part of the sectional.

Meanwhile, there isn't as much suspense for the St. Charles schools since they are part of a sectional that is seeded by regional as opposed to the entire sectional. Larkin is a lock to be the top seed in the six-team St. Charles North Regional, while it's expected North will be the No. 2 seed and East the No. 3 seed, setting up another likely crosstown regional semifinal. The North Stars and Saints split their two regular season meetings this year.

Vaca back for Knights

Kaneland sophomore guard Dylan Vaca returned to action Friday against Yorkville and Saturday against Hillcrest after missing more than six weeks with a wrist injury.

Vaca, the Knights' third-leading scorer when he was injured in a game at the Plano Christmas Classic, scored double figures in both games, notching 10 points in the win against Yorkville and 12 points in the loss to Hillcrest. Vaca could give the Knights a formidable third scorer to go with seniors John Pruett and Ty Carlson.

Sunday success

Mooseheart is no typical Class 1A team, and the Ramblers made that all the more apparent with Sunday's 49-46 win against Class 4A program Niles Notre Dame as part of the Conference Challenge at Northside Prep. Niles Notre Dame defeated Marmion earlier this season.

Mooseheart was supposed to face state heavyweight Curie at the event but Notre Dame subbed in because of Curie's scheduling conflict with the Chicago Public League playoffs.

IN THE GROOVE

R.D. Lutze, Aurora Christian, So., G

What he did: Lutze is still early in his varsity career but he'll have a hard time topping his halfcourt shot at the buzzer on Friday that finished off Marmion, 60-57.

Josh Ruggles, Wheaton Academy, Jr., G

What he did: The reigning King of the Hill shooting champion in Illinois scored 33 points on 9 of 10 shooting from 3-point land in a win Feb. 10 against Aurora Central Catholic, then added 18 points in a win against Walther Christian on Thursday.

WHAT WE LEARNED FROM LAST WEEK

Wheaton Academy still rules the Suburban Christian Conference Blue.

The Warriors last week clinched their fifth straight conference title in the final year of the SCC as currently constructed.

WHAT WE'LL LEARN IN THE WEEK AHEAD

Which team or teams take second place in the Upstate Eight Conference River.

While Larkin (12-0 UEC River) has the UEC River championship sewn up, St. Charles North (8-3 UEC River), Geneva (7-4) and St. Charles East (7-4) all remain in the hunt for second with one conference game left. Geneva would have to win at North on Friday to earn a share of the conference title, while East would need to win at Elgin Friday and have Geneva beat North to be part of a three-way tie for second.

COACH SLY SAYS

How about that ending Friday night in Aurora?

Aurora Christian sophomore R.D. Lutze throws one on from half-court at the horn to win the game, and not just any game, but to beat a crosstown rival, Marmion.

That's a shot those in attendance will never forget. What a moment for that young man, but hey R.D., save a little drama for March, will ya?

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