StateScape: 3A State Final Previews

Four teams remain in the IHSA 3A State Basketball Playoffs. A winner will be crowned this weekend, but before that, let's take a look at each of Friday's semifinal matchups.

Game 1 - Lincoln v. Rockford Lutheran

This one will be the classic "basketball south of I-80" matchup.

While Rockford Lutheran isn't really a "Chicago Team," this is going to be a classic upstate-downstate matchup. Lincoln is that well-coached team that will beat you with execution.

Lincoln, led by Gavin Block, has been one of the top basketball programs in central Illinois for years, and with only a short drive up to Peoria, their fans figure to travel exceptionally well to this weekend's games.

Having gone through Wayne McClain's Champaign Central and last year's runner-up in Cahokia to get to Carver Arena, Lincoln proved that they can win the tough games, but every game is tough at this point.

Rockford Lutheran's last couple games pitted them against Sycamore and Peoria Notre Dame. They earned their spot in Peoria, but Lincoln will provide a unique challenge for the northerners.

Game 2 - Chicago Orr v. Chicago Morgan Park

These teams know each other, plain and simple. Orr is somewhat of a Cinderella story thanks to the heroics of senior guard Tyquone Greer. Greer, who was shot in the leg less than two weeks ago, came back to hit the game winning shot to send Orr to the state series.

Orr's path was far from easy, even Greer's situation aside. A 20 point win over a talented Fenwick team and the buzzer-beater win over a skilled North Chicago team were the toll to trip to Peoria.

Greer and fellow senior Marlon Jones are the key figures for Orr. Jones will present a tough challenge inside, but Orr will be matched up against a Morgan Park team with several future D1 players that love to get out in the open court and run.

Oh, and did I mention that Morgan Park has something on the line here? Something like defending their 3A State Championship from 2013.

The Mustangs are a deep and athletic team and play tenacious defense. Led by senior forward Josh Cunningham, who is still uncommitted, Morgan Park has the ability to light up the scoreboard and frustrate opponents. Junior shooting guard Kain Harris has emerged this year and freshman Charlie Moore has grown significantly as a point guard.

The second game of the day should be an electric one. Buckle up and get ready for the ride.


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