Hoops Thoughts: Small schools have Hope

1. Most of our basketball coverage focuses on the area’s biggest teams, but there are a number of local state championship contenders in the Class 1A and 2A playoffs, which began on Monday. In 1A, Hope is expected to make a deep run. Despite losing Illinois recruit Jalen James to midseason transfer, Hope (22-3) defeated Marshall on the road and found a spot in ESPNChicago.com’s rankings until this past week. In Class 2A, Seton (23-4), Immaculate Conception (23-3), Herscher (24-1), Providence-St. Mel. (19-7), Leo (12-14) and Hales (9-17) are among the top teams. Their problem is they’re all stuck in the same super-sectional.

2. There will be a lot riding on Wednesday’s Catholic League North matchup between St. Ignatius and De La Salle. As of now, St. Ignatius is 8-1 in the conference with St. Rita just behind it at 8-2. If St. Ignatius can pull off the road win, it’ll win the championship outright.

3. Speaking of De La Salle, the Meteors haven’t had much luck lately. Just as Alvin Ellis returned to the lineup from an injury on Friday, Gavin Schilling went down with his own injury against Simeon on Saturday. At full strength, De La Salle’s a state contender. If the Meteors are banged up, I don’t like their chances.