Here are the top 5 Springfield-area storylines for the IHSA boys basketball postseason

Bill Welt
State Journal-Register
Sacred Heart- Griffin's Zack Hawkinson, right, goes up for a shot while being guarded by Chatham Glenwood's Weston Anderson during the game Friday Feb. 4, 2022. [Thomas J. Turney The State Journal Register]

Here are the Springfield area's top storylines heading into the Illinois High School Association boys basketball season.

It starts with the regional quarterfinals on Saturday.

Sacred Heart-Griffin returns to 3A 

The IHSA elevated Sacred Heart-Griffin to Class 3A in December after erroneously excluding the multiplier prior to the start of the season.  

The Cyclones, though, are quite accustomed to 3A competition in the Central State Eight Conference and are riding a 28-game winning streak going into Friday’s regular-season finale against 4A Normal Community. The Ironmen, 28-1 and Big 12 Conference champions, will also put its 21-game winning streak on the line at Jim Belz Gymnasium.

History:Why Sacred Heart-Griffin's tense overtime win was even more special

SHG (28-2) hosts its regional beginning Wednesday as the top seed. Its path to the Springfield Supersectional isn’t a cakewalk and likely includes No. 5 Lanphier in the regional final. Potential sectional final opponents additionally include No. 1 Lincoln, No. 2 Decatur MacArthur and No. 3 Southeast. Lincoln, 23-7 and the Apollo Conference champions, recently fell at MacArthur (22-7) 51-39 on Tuesday. Southeast (20-8) is heating up on a five-game winning streak. 

Look out for other side of the bracket 

No. 2 Chatham Glenwood sits on the other side of the 3A supersectional bracket.  

The Titans (18-12) nearly took down SHG in a 61-56 overtime loss earlier this month. Senior guard Eli Curtis led Glenwood with 20 points and 10 rebounds. He averages 13.8 points and 5.7 rebounds per game this season.  

Curtis and Co. certainly have the potential to reach the sectional final where they would likely face No. 1 East St. Louis (22-5), which is ranked one spot ahead of SHG at No. 3 in The Associated Press 3A poll.  

Pleasant Plains High School's Zach Powell, center, during the game against Athens Friday Feb. 11, 2022. [Thomas J. Turney The State Journal Register]

What are the chances PORTA and Plains meet in the sectional finals? 

Sangamo Conference rivals Pleasant Plains (18-9) and Petersburg PORTA (20-8) could meet in the Class 2A Stanford Olympia Sectional finals.  

Plains was set to clinch the outright conference title on Thursday before its contest against Riverton was scuttled by the snowstorm.   

CS8 member Normal U-High (12-19) potentially stands in the Cardinals’ way in the sectional semifinals, however.

Plains previously lost to SHG 62-48 in the 2A sectional semis in 2020. PORTA beat U-High 47-44 in the sectional semis that season before bowing to the Cyclones 53-42 in the final.  

'We're getting better each time':Meet the big man powering Pleasant Plains basketball

Pana senior torching the net 

Senior guard Brenden Schoonover has led the Panthers (27-3) to five straight wins. On Saturday, they overcame a slim 30-28 halftime deficit and edged St. Joseph-Ogden 59-54 in the Riverton Shootout.  

Schoonover recorded 26 points in the win and followed up that performance with 35 in a 79-51 rout against Gillespie on Tuesday.  

They host its regional as the top seed. A showdown with No. 1 Teutopolis in the Flora Sectional final would be electric.  

Jacksonville Routt, Concord Triopia set for Round 3 

Despite a solid 24-6 season, Routt only earned the No. 3 seed in the Class 1A Pawnee Regional. No. 2 Concord Triopia also just happens to be in the regional.  

The Rockets lost the first meeting 57-49 in the Waverly Holiday Tournament final but claimed the second 45-37 in the Winchester Invitational quarterfinal. Triopia (25-4) is tied for fifth place in the 1A AP poll. 

Contact Bill Welt: bill.welt@sj-r.com, Twitter.com/BillWelt