Loyola will have had nine full days off between games when it opens the Class 4A playoffs Tuesday.
Winners of five in a row and the No. 3 seed at the Maine East Sectional, the Ramblers (22-5) play Tuesday in the regional semifinals at Lane against either No. 13 Lane or No. 18 Von Steuben at Lane. Loyola won a regional title last season.
Since ending the regular season Feb. 3 with a 50-49 victory over Mother McAuley in Chicago, Loyola head coach Jeremy Schoenecker said the primary focus has been on his team, not any potential opponent.
“It’s been about us getting better,” he said. “We spent one practice working on our out-of-bounds plays.”
Schoenecker called the win over the Mighty Macs the team’s best offensive performance. The Ramblers shot 50 percent from the field, going 6-for-13 on 3-pointers. Eight players scored, led by senior guard Erin Dillon’s 11 points. Senior forward Lilly Wehman had 10 points, while senior guard Adie Morrill and junior guard Julia Martinez each scored nine points apiece.
“We attacked the basket and didn’t settle for 3s,” Schoenecker said. “It was good to see. Adie and [junior guard] Addison [Bendery] did a nice job.”
If the Ramblers win Tuesday, they play either No. 6 Evanston or No. 11 Oak Park-River Forest on Thursday in the regional final. The Wildkits beat Loyola 47-43 on Jan. 6, and they have ended the Ramblers’ season in the sectionals three of the last four seasons.
“We do have history with Evanston, but we aren’t looking past our first opponent,” Schoenecker said.
Heading into the playoffs, junior guard Celia Satter (pictured above) leads Loyola in scoring at 11.7 points per game. Martinez averages 8.7 points, 7.4 rebounds. 7.0 assists and 2.9 steals. Wehman averages 7.7 points, 4.5 rebounds and 1.6 blocks. Dillon, who averages 8.4 points, is first on the Ramblers with 63 3-pointers, converting at a clip of 36.0 percent.
Photo credit: Melissa Krein/Loyola