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GIRLS BASKETBALL FOCUS: Road to state is bumpy for area teams

  • Written by Jeff Vorva

 

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Photo by Jeff Vorva

Queen of Peace’s Kara Shimko, shooting against Reavis on Dec. 12, gave a verbal commitment to NAIA power Cardinal Stritch last week. 

The way Queen of Peace has been built, it is going to be an area power for a few years, as there are six juniors and two sophomores on the 10-girl roster.

But for seniors such as Kara Shimko and Jessica Potter, this is the last chance for them to go deep into the postseason. Shimko is the last link to the 2013-14 team that finished with two wins and helped rebuild it into a team that heading into this week was 13-0.

The Class 3A postseason was announced by the Illinois High School Association and the Pride is in the 22-team De La Salle Sectional. The seedings will be announced in February, but Peace is mixed in with 21 teams from Chicago including Bogan and Phillips.

Last year, Phillips knocked Queen of Peace out of the sectional with a 43-42 semifinal win and Bogan buried Phillips, 55-35 in the sectional championship.

The only other area Class 3A team, Evergreen Park, is in the 22-team Hillcrest Sectional and is in Sub Sectional A, which includes Morgan Park, which finished fourth in the state last year.

Some area Class 4A teams are not sure where their sectional sites will be but Marist, Mother McAuley, Richards, Sandburg, Shepard and Stagg are in a 21-team tournament that will also feature state power Homewood-Flossmoor.

Oak Lawn will play in the 21-team Argo Sectional, which features Montini and Whitney Young, which finished fourth in the state last year.

In Class 2A, Chicago Christian is in the 21-team Lisle Sectional with Beecher, Bowen, Carver Military, Catalyst/Maria, CICS/Ellison, Corliss, Noble/Barker, UCCS/Woodlawn, Illiana Christian and Peotone.

 Stritch for Shimko

Shimko, the Reporter-Regional’s Girls Basketball Player of the Year last season, gave a verbal commitment to NAIA power Cardinal Stritch. Stritch coach John Pfaffl calls Shimko “smart, skilled and well-coached. A great fit.’’

The Milwaukee school was ranked 16th in the nation among NAIA Division II schools and entered this week with a 10-3 mark.

Shimko received serious interest from several Midwest schools, including the University of St. Francis, which is ranked No. 1 in the nation in NAIA play.

 Eagles love Oak Lawn

Sandburg won the eight-team Oak Lawn Holiday Tournament Saturday with an 80-71 victory over Joliet West.

The Eagles went 4-0 in the tournament but are 1-9 when they haven’t played in an Oak Lawn gym.

The Eagles’ Kennedy Sabutis scored 17 points in the title game and earned the tournament’s MVP award. Morgan McAuliffe was named to the all-tournament team.

Oak Lawn finished fourth after dropping a 66-25 decision in the third-place game.

 Hall of Fame beckons for McAuley coach

Mother McAuley coach Ashley Luke-Clanton is not a Hall of Fame coach just yet, but she is a Hall of Fame player as she was named to the Illinois Basketball Coaches Association Hall of Fame for 2017.

Clanton played at Waubonsie Valley High School and Penn State University.

On the high school level, she scored 2,885 points and had 437 career 3-pointers , which was an IHSA record for eight years. She was a three-time All-American from 1997-99.