Seeds: (1) Central, (2) Carlyle, (3) Wesclin, (4) Alton Marquette, (5) Roxana, (6) Wood River
Could surprise: Carlyle
Summary: The Central Cougars (28-2), who placed second in the state in Class 2A last year, enter the postseason on a roll. They've won 12 straight games with the margin of victory in all those games being at least 13 points. ... The inside duo of junior Maddie Timmermann and freshman Kendra Wilken has combined to produce 31 points per game for the Cougars. Timmermann averages 15.4 points per game, while Wilken averages 16 points per game. ... The Carlyle Indians (21-6) lost twice to Central this season -- 65-47 on Dec. 10 and 50-43 on Jan. 24. ... The Indians featur metro-east scoring leader Paige Rakers. The University of Michigan-bound Rakers averages 22.3 points per game.
Seeds: (1) Red Bud, (2) Pinckneyville, (3) Trico, (4) Chester, (5) Sparta, (6) Dupo
Favorite: Red Bud
Could surprise: Pinckneyville
Summary: The Red Bud Musketeers are a program on the rise under coach Janelle Pfiefer, who played for the Okawville Rockets from 2002-05. They're looking for their first regional title since 1995. ... Second-seeded Pinckneyville (15-13) is led by 5-foot-10 junior Katelyn Mayer, who averages 10.8 points and 6.1 rebounds per game.
Seeds: (1) Nashville, (2) Benton, (3) Sesser-Valier, (4) Zeigler-Royalton, (5) Du Quoin, (6) West Frankfort
Could surprise: Sesser-Valier
Summary: The Nashville Hornettes (26-2), ranked third in the state in Class 2A, are once again on a collision course with the Central Cougars, ranked second in Class 2A. The two teams would meet in the semifinals of the Dupo Sectional on Feb. 12. Last year, Central beat Nashville 32-28 in the championship game of the Sesser-Valier Sectional. ... The Hornettes blew out second-seeded Benton 42-18 early in the season. ... Sesser-Valier has a 19-3 record, but one of those losses was a 51-49 setback at Benton.
Seeds: (1) Lebanon, (2) Metro-East Lutheran, (3) Gibault, (4) Madison, (5) Valmeyer
Could surprise: Gibault
Summary: The top-seeded Greyhounds (15-9) went 6-0 against the other four teams in this regional during the regular season. ... Kara Koester is the Greyhounds' top scorer with an average of 11.3 points per game. ... Gibault (14-10) notched impressive wins over Cahokia and Wesclin to close out the regular season. The Hawks lost 58-49 to Lebanon on Jan. 26 in a game where they trailed by three points heading into the final quarter.
Seeds: (1) Okawville, (2) Christ Our Rock Lutheran, (3) Sandoval, (4) New Athens, (5) Steeleville, (6) Marissa
Could surprise: Christ Our Rock Lutheran
Summary: The Rockets (19-8) are looking to make an extended postseason run in Megan Wienstroer's senior season. Wienstroer is averaging 17.9 points per game... Despite playing a challenging schedule, the Rockets have won 17 of their last 22 games with their losses coming to Central (three times), Mater Dei and Carlyle. ... The second-seeded Christ our Rock Luteran Silver Stallions from Centralia bring a 19-6 record into the regional.
-- Steve Korte