By: Eric Van Dril | March 7, 2017
When/where: 7 p.m. on Tuesday, March 7, at Fenwick.
Fenwick’s recent playoff history: The Friars have won regional titles in each of the last two years, but they have not won a sectional since 1998. They lost to St. Joseph in the sectional championship a year ago.
Westinghouse’s recent playoff history: The Warriors beat Marshall in overtime of the Class 3A Nazareth Regional championship game to win their first regional title since the school moved to its new building and became a selective-enrollment high school. The Warriors’ last regional championship was in 2006.
Factoid you may not know about the Friars: Fenwick’s football team was at the center of a controversy during the 2016 football season when an incorrect ruling cost the Friars their place in the state championship game. Senior Jacob Keller, the team’s quarterback, has been the basketball team’s best player this year.
Keep an eye on: Fenwick standout freshman D.J. Steward.
Steward, one of the state’s top freshmen, has gotten better and better as this season has gone on. He has grown into a reliable scorer, which has resulted in a more-potent Fenwick offense.
Steward’s emergence will make Westinghouse’s task even more difficult on Tuesday night against the state-ranked Friars, who beat the Warriors 61-46 in the first week of this season.
The BIG question: Can Westinghouse pull off an upset? If so, what will it take?
The Warriors have played one of the most-difficult schedules of any team in the Chicago Public League.
They played in the Red-West, the city’s deepest conference, as well as Hyde Park and Simeon in the city playoffs. Plus, the Warriors played a loaded non-conference slate. It included games against Bolingbrook, Fenwick, Class 1A state finalist Hope Academy, Uplift, Lincoln Park and Hinsdale Central.
The reason to play those games is to prepare for challenges like this one against Fenwick.
Westinghouse is certainly the underdog, but it hung with the Friars earlier this season. Fenwick pulled away late by draining its free throws.
Plus, the Warriors have a star player in senior forward Coreyoun Rushin. The Warriors will need Rushin to play like he did in the regional final against Marshall when he recorded a triple-double.
They will also need to take care of the ball and play strong defense against a multi-faceted team that executes its offense very well. They will also need senior forward Dexter Reed to do what Reed has done all season — affect the game by blocking shots, grabbing rebounds, scoring points and playing extremely hard — and for junior point guard Jocke Fields to step up when needed.
If all goes right, Westinghouse will be in the game late — and then it will need to prevail.
Winning close games has been a problem for the Warriors, at times, but they have improved in that facet late in the year. Westinghouse has won three-straight games that have been decided by six points or fewer.