Harlem (6-7) @ East (10-3) – Game of the Week
Friday, February 15 at 7:00 p.m.
The teams are seeded for regionals, and the results are not without some surprises. The most questionable placement comes in the Rockford East Regional where East (10-3) sits at number two, just below the Jefferson J-Hawks (7-6) at number one.
If you needed more evidence for parity in the NIC-10, there it is.
East and Jefferson have played each other twice this season and have split the series, with Jefferson most recently defeating the E-Rabs 62-59 on January 26th. Meanwhile, Harlem (6-7) is seeded at #4 in the Hononegah Regional. The Huskies got off to a slow start this year, but have pulled off two big wins in recent weeks. They beat Jefferson 57-43 on February 2nd, and went on to defeat Hononegah in a 56-51 upset the following week.
What makes Harlem a dangerous matchup for East this week? Senior guards Safari Hunt and Justin Vanwambeke have been in the leadership roles for the Huskies from early in the season, but they have also been getting support from players like junior De Woods, who scored 12 points in the win against Jefferson.
The E-Rabs are sitting in second place in the conference standings with one more loss than Belvidere, and are closing the season with three tough games; after Harlem, they face Belvidere on Saturday night and Auburn next Friday. East’s challenge tonight will be focusing on Harlem, and not looking ahead to tomorrow’s game against Belvidere before the final buzzer sounds.
As we’ve seen in the NIC-10 this season, any team can be beaten, and a team with a losing record should not be overlooked.
Just ask Belvidere about their loss to Guilford.
by Liz Rudolph
ESPN 1380 Prep Reporter
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