PREP BOYS BASKETBALL: Local teams start playoff runs

Feb. 18—The first round of the IHSA boys basketball tournaments start today and for most of the local teams in the area, it will be against teams they have already played before.

Danville starts the postseason today at 1 p.m. against Rantoul. The Vikings beat the Eagles 71-55 last month.

"It's a gift and and a curse, because we have played each other and know each other," Danville coach Durrell Robinson said. "We are an athletic team and they are capable team and they beat a quality team in Kankakee this season. All I know is that nothing else matters because everyone starts off 0-0. Our goal is to go 1-0 because whoever does that can go on and play. We feel the schedule has prepared us and we are ready to play and give us at least one more home game this season."

The Vikings enter the game coming off a 63-45 win over Champaign Central and continuing a recent run of good play from the Vikings.

"We have played well ever since the second half against Peoria Richwoods, who is the no. 6 team in the state and it carried over against a 25-win Wheaton team," Robinson said. "It definitely came together with a full game against Champaign Central. We cranked it up and this is how we want to play."

Senior O'Shawn-Jones-Winslow had 29 points to lead the team and Robinson said that more of him equals success for the team.

"The good thing about it was they he stayed on the court by making wise decisions where he didn't get into foul trouble and when he is on the court, he can produce at a higher rate," Robinson said.

If the Vikings win, they will face top seed Lincoln on Wednesday in a regional semifinal at Champaign.

In Class 2A, Bismarck-Henning/Rossville-Alvin will host a whole regional for the first time since 2017.

"It has been awhile since we hosted one, but any time you can host a regional at your home court, it gives you a little bit of an advantage," BHRA coach Gary Tidwell said. "We have played a lot more home games than usual, so we are pretty familiar with our home court."

The Blue Devils will play Westville today at 6 p.m. It marks the second time this week the two teams will play with BHRA winning 56-25.

"We don't like playing teams back to back, but that is how the schedule panned out," Tidwell said. "We have a tough regional ahead of us and we respect Westville and we look to perform well."

If the Blue Devils win, they will get a chance to play Unity in Wednesday's semifinal. The Rockets eliminated the Blue Devils last season and beat them earlier this season.

"We try to beef up our schedule the last few years and Unity is one of those teams we play early in the year and they are a quality opponent over the years," Tidwell said. "They are fortunate to have a bye in the first round and they have that advantage, but our focus is Westville and if we get past the first step, we have two-three days to get ready for Unity. They are physical and have a lot of confidence, so we will look forward to that matchup and not overlook Westville."

In another game in the regional, Hoopeston Area will travel to Oakwood for a 6 p.m. start. The winner of that game will play St. Joseph-Ogden on Wednesday.

Salt Fork will host their first game today against Urbana University High in another rematch at 1 p.m. The Storm won the first game against the two, 74-40, in December.

"The first thing all season long is create your resume and it is great to open at home," Salt Fork coach Andrew Johnson said. "We hope to take care of business on our end to be able to advance. You have to take one team at a time. We played Uni-High before so we both have a feel for each other to an certain extent. It is important for us to win that game and then we will figure out the next one."

If the Storm advance, they will play either Schlarman Academy or Armstrong-Potomac, who is hosting the regional when it goes to semifinals, on Wednesday.

"As much as the regular season stuff matters and you want to win every game and every tournament, the postseason stuff that really sets in as the ultimate goal," Johnson said. "You want to play longer than anyone and you want to continue your season for your seniors and you don't want to see their last game. You want to keep those seasons alive. Overall, this is 29 practices and now you have to win. You have to find way to wins games even when you are not your best, you go home. It is the finality of things that make it serious."

Another team in the Armstrong regional is Georgetown-Ridge Farm, who will play Judah Christian today at 6 p.m.