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LAKE ZURICH Thursday Jan 31 2013 Lake Zurich's Shahzaad Khan (24) makes a sideways attempt for a basket.| Michelle LaVigne~Sun-Times Media
If there’s one thing this boys basketball season has shown, it’s that anything can — and often will — happen in the North Suburban Conference’s Lake Division.
Headed into the month of February, Lake Zurich (13-12 overall) was one of six teams in its division with a winning record. Despite being locked in sixth place in its seven-team division, ahead of only Libertyville, the Bears weren’t eliminated from the race for the Lake crown until a Jan. 31 loss to Zion-Benton.
Where that leaves Lake Zurich once the IHSA announces its Class 4A playoff seedings on Thursday is anyone’s guess.
The seedings are voted on by each coach in a sectional during an online meeting (which was slated for Tuesday), but coaches aren’t allowed to cast a ballot for their own clubs. The Bears will be part of the 23-team Waukegan Sectional, and regardless of who they are paired against, they will play on their own home court during the regional round.
“I thought if we had played well (against Zion-Benton), we could’ve had a top-10 seed,” Lake Zurich coach Billy Pitcher said. “And we still could make an argument for that. There’s 23 teams, and over half of them have a winning record, so that top half is where we’re expecting to be.”
Last season, the No. 11-seeded Bears beat No. 6 Barrington in a regional semifinal before losing to No. 3 Mundelein in a regional championship game. That’s why Pitcher said the team his club winds up playing is just as important as where the Bears are seeded.
“Last year, we got a good matchup in the first round even though we weren’t seeded as high as we thought we should’ve been, and it made a huge difference,” he said.
He then revealed how he planned on voting this year.
“I think I’m going to vote for Stevenson as the No. 1 seed, Zion-Benton No. 2 and Lake Forest No. 3,” Pitcher said. “After that, I haven’t decided. But it’s likely going to be some combination of St. Viator, Mundelein and Warren for the Nos. 4, 5 and 6 seeds.”