The stars certainly came out to play during Tuesday night's sectional semifinals as the Class 4A and 3A IHSA playoff headlines were dominated by high-level performances by star players in the area.
In Class 3A, questions arose about how No. 8 Bogan would fair without head coach Arthur Goodwin, who was suspended for the playoffs after the IHSA found that the Bengals had played too many games during the regular season.
Bogan found its answer in junior guard Luwane Pipkins. Pipkins erupted for 45 points in the Bengals' 72-63 win against U-High in the Class 3A Vocational Sectional on Tuesday, and it sets Bogan up to be the favorite over the winner of Hyde Park and Harlan on Friday. The biggest question for Pipkins entering the year was how consistent he would shoot from the perimeter. The junior answered those questions by going 9-for-9 from the 3-point line in the win over U-High.
West Virginia sent an assistant coach to watch Pipkins on Tuesday, and he'll be tracked by major programs throughout the spring.
Bogan, meanwhile, looks like it might be on a collision course with Red-South rival Morgan Park for the fourth time this season. The Bengals swept the No. 7 Mustangs, which helped them win the Red-South over No. 6 Simeon, but Morgan Park bested Bogan in the Proviso West Holiday Tournament semifinals.
The fourth matchup between the two could be epic in supersectional play. The Mustangs also won on Tuesday, advancing past Rich East, 80-55. Morgan Park — like Bogan — will be a big favorite to win its sectional against either Joliet Catholic or Pontiac in the sectional final.
Ulis and Brunson power 4A favorites
Also going off for a high point total on Tuesday was Marian Catholic senior point guard Tyler Ulis. The McDonald's All-American went for 40 points in a Class 4A Thornton Sectional semifinal win over Bloom. Ulis made five 3-pointers in the first quarter to set the tone early, and the Spartans were running from there.
Marian Catholic is playing great ball, and the No. 2 Spartans (27-2) look poised to make a run to Peoria.
No. 1 Stevenson also withstood a big test on Tuesday, knocking off No. 10 St. Viator, led by Jalen Brunson's 34 points. The Patriots made a really good St. Viator team look average, and it is going to be hard for anyone to knock off the No. 1 team in our CSN Preps Power Rankings.
Downstate favorite falls
Springfield Lanphier, a favorite to make it downstate after losing only to Lincoln in the regular season, lost in the Class 3A Mattoon Sectional on Tuesday. The Lions, led by Mr. Basketball candidate and Tennessee commit Larry Austin, fell to Wayne McClain-coached Champaign Central, 78-73.
That sectional is loaded. Lincoln (28-2) faces Texas A&M commit Peyton Allen, who has had a fantastic senior season, and Glenwood.
Morton tops York in three overtimes
No. 4 seed Morton got a statement win over No. 1 seed York in a three-overtime thriller, holding on for a 77-74 win at Bartlett on Tuesday. The No. 14 Mustangs (22-5) were the slight favorite, though, after defeating No. 23 York (23-6) on the final week of the regular season by double-digits.
Morton might be the favorite in the sectional. It'll face the winner of Proviso East and Glenbard East on Friday.
Orr moves on without Greer
Class 3A favorite Orr is trying to make it back to Peoria after placing fourth last season, and they'll have to do it without senior forward Tyquone Greer, who was shot at a party over the weekend and will be out for the remainder of the season.
But No. 4 Orr is still deep, talented and athletic, and it showed in a Westinghouse Sectional semifinal win over Marshall. The Spartans still have enough with senior forward Marlon Jones and senior guard Lou Adams to get past a lot of teams in Class 3A, and they'll be tested by either No. 11 Fenwick or No. 12 St. Joseph in the sectional final on Friday.