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One change in the state girls basketball tourney will involve Southland Class 3A teams that have been put in pre-assigned regionals as part of the Peotone Sectional.
No. 6 Hillcrest will host a six-team regional that also includes No. 9 Rich South, which defeated Hillcrest in the championship game of the Galaxy Tournament. Diamond Beatty-led Tinley Park also is in the regional field, along with Oak Forest, Bremen and Rich East.
“After a season’s worth of preparation, you play the team you are assigned to play and you find ways to win,” Hillcrest coach John Maniatis said. “It’s all about survive and advance.”
No. 3 Morgan Park is in the Thornridge Regional along with the host Falcons, Chicago Christian, Brooks, Corliss and Fenger.
Lincoln-Way West, Providence, Joliet Catholic, Morris and Coal City compose the Coal City Regional, while Herscher, Bishop McNamara, Peotone, Herscher and Manteno are in the Manteno Regional.
The pre-assigned regionals — most sectional fields are seeded into regionals — are the result of a change in the IHSA’s classification system, in which the four classes are divided across the board at 25 percent. Last season, 27.78 percent of competing teams were assigned to Classes 1A and 2A, with 22.22 percent assigned to Classes 3A and 4A.
“With the classification change, any of the schools (in sectional complexes) that are outside of the Chicago area proper have to be put in regionals,” IHSA girls basketball rep Beth Sauser said.
Most of the top Class 4A teams have been assigned to the Class 4A Mother McAuley Sectional, including Marist, Marian Catholic, Bloom, Lincoln-Way East, Lincoln-Way North, Homewood-Flossmoor, Crete-Monee, Stagg, Oak Lawn and Andrew. Lincoln-Way East, Eisenhower, Thornwood and Andrew will host the four regionals.
Beating Lincoln-Way West and Richards in the same week has gotten Tinley Park some notice.
“The girls have been feeling like rock stars at school,” Titans coach Jason Becker said. “The school and teachers are pumped for them. They got a note from the softball team delivered to class saying congrats on the big win against West.”