Cahokia coach Darian Nash has a vivid memory of the last time the Comanches played in the Class 3A Springfield Supersectional.
It's not a pleasant memory. In 2010, led by then-freshman Keenan Minor, the Comanches gave top-ranked Champaign Centennial a battle for four quarters before the Chargers -- and some questionable calls down the stretch -- dealt them an 80-74 setback.
Three years later, it's redemption time for the Comanches at the Prairie Capital Convention Center.
"Everything happens for a reason and that just wasn't our time. It wasn't meant to be for us that year,'' Nash said. "That loss left a bitter taste in our mouth just like losing to East St. Louis in the regional final last year.
"We hope to revenge that taste on Tuesday.''
Ranked fourth in the final Class 3A poll, Cahokia (31-3) will look to take that final step to Peoria when it takes on Chatham-Glenwood (23-10) at the Springfield Supersectional. Game time is 7:30 p.m. with the winner advancing to the Class 3A State Tournament on Friday.
The Cahokia-Chatham Glenwood winner will take on the winner of the Hoffman Estates Supersectional game between North Chicago and Chicago Orr at 2 p.m. in the second of two Class 3A semifinals at Carver Arena in Peoria.
No matter what the Comanches do the rest of the season, they will be hard pressed to surpass their emotional 76-74 overtime win over East St. Louis in the title game of the Mascoutah Sectional. The Comanches rallied late in regulation, then got a basket from Minor at the buzzer to move on.
Nash said he's not worried about a letdown on Tuesday.
"After the win on Friday we told the kids to embrace the moment, but then tomorrow let's start getting ready for the next game,'' Nash said. "I think they are focused and they know that the win on Friday was a speed bump on our way to get to Peoria.''
While Cahokia will be making its second supersectional appearance in four years, the Chatham-Glenwood Titans' last trip came 38 years ago -- when it won a Class A sectional crown.
On Friday, led by 6-foot-4 all-state senior Payton Allen, the Titans disposed of Champaign Centennial 63-41 to win the Mount Zion Sectional.
Allen, who missed 13 games with mononucleosis this season, paced the Titans' attack with 24 points while 6-foot-4 sophomore point guard Cole Harper added 10 points and 10 rebounds.
"We played very well and shot the ball extremely well against Centennial,'' Titans coach Todd Blakeman said. "We had some difficulties with injuries earlier in the season, but since we've gotten everyone back, we've played much better.
"We're excited to be in the supersectional. It's been a long time in coming. But we realize that we have our work cut out for us against Cahokia. They have a great shooter in (Keenan) Minor, and Darius Austin is just one of a group of exceptional athletes they have. If there is one area which concerns me the most, its Cahokia's athleticism. They can flat out get after it.''
Allen, who is being recruited by several NCAA Division I programs including Iowa and Oklahoma State, leads the Titans in scoring at 18 points per game.
But 6-2 forward and NCAA Division I football recruit Daniel Helms and Harper are just two of several other top players Blakeman can go to in clutch situations.
"We played Chatham-Glenwood last year in Springfield and knowing that they were a Class 3A team we've kind of kept an eye on them in case we met in the playoffs,'' Nash said. "We've got notes on them and we've got film so we know what they like to do.
Now they could throw some new wrinkles in on us, but at least we've got an idea.''
Stopping Allen will be goal No. 1.
"We're familiar with Payton Allen. He plays for the (AAU) Jets. I've seen him play,'' Nash said. "They play a lot of zone defenses. They like to pack it in and hit the boards hard.''
Nash said another goal for his team is just to play good, smart basketball.
"Kids like Keenan and Darius (Austin) have been around this program for a long time and they know what to expect on Tuesday,'' Nash said. "Basically, I want us to just play smart basketball. Don't force things, keep the turnovers to a minimum and get good shots.
"What would it mean for us to get to state? It would be great for the morale of these kids who have worked so hard for this. It would be great for the coaches, the teachers, administration personnel, fans and just the entire community of Cahokia.''