When it comes to basketball, the Western Suburbs are known as a football hotbed.
Since the advent of the four-class system, only two teams from that region — Glenbard East in 2011 and Proviso East last season — have played in Peoria in March. If you count Oswego as from the West, that makes three.
During that time, six teams from the South Suburbs (Seton and Hillcrest each went twice) and five from the North (Waukegan and North Chicago each went twice) have reached the state semifinals.
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Benet Academy, Lisle, IL 60532, USA
Proviso East High School, 807 South First Avenue, Maywood, Illinois 60153, USA
West Aurora High School, 1201 W New York St, Aurora, IL 60506, USA
St Charles East High School, 1020 Dunham Rd, St Charles, IL 60174, USA
York Community High School, 355 W St Charles Rd, Elmhurst, IL 60126, USA
Neuqua Valley High School, 2360 95th St, Naperville, IL 60564, USA
This could be the winter the West catches up.
There's a big talent gap between the three Public League teams atop the Tribune Top 20 — Simeon, Young and Morgan Park — and everybody else, but the Western Suburbs doesn't have to take a back seat to any region outside the city limits.
No. 6 Benet, No. 7 Proviso East, No. 12 West Aurora, No. 13 St. Charles East, No. 14 York and No. 17 Neuqua Valley represent 30 percent of the Top 20.
All six schools have Division I talent, as do Naperville Central and Glenbard East.
Proviso's Sterling Brown and Paris Lee, Benet's Sean O'Mara, St. Charles East's Kendall Stephens and York's David Cohn are all legitimate All-State candidates.
This fall was not one of the Western Suburbs' better football seasons. So far, the basketball has been very good.
Looking back: In the Tribune's high school basketball preview, I listed the Central Suburban South as the Chicago area's fifth-best conference.
That distinction should have been given to the North Suburban Lake.
I'm not trying to take anything away from the CSL South, which has a surprising co-leader in Maine South (7-0, 2-0), perennial powers New Trier (7-2, 2-0) and Waukegan (4-4, 1-1) and a struggling Evanston team (4-5, 0-2) which should improve as the season goes under the tutelage of a proven winner, Mike Ellis.
What I failed to realize was how deep and talented the North Suburban Lake is.
The current leader, Zion-Benton (7-0, 3-0), has one of the top juniors in the state in 6-foot-6 wing Milik Yarbrough and an excellent coach in Don Kloth.
Lake Forest and Stevenson, expected to compete with the Zee-Bees for the title, still should, but they've won just one of four conference games between them thus far.
Lake Forest has a pair of bigs who can play in 6-9 senior Sam Downey and 6-7 sophomore Evan Boudreaux, while Stevenson has arguably the state's top sophomore in guard Jalen Brunson.
Warren, meanwhile, is still tough despite the retirement of esteemed coach Chuck Ramsey and the graduation of a senior class responsible for the Blue Devils combined record of 57-8 the past two winters.
Mundelein figured to struggle without injured Northern Iowa-bound guard Robert Knar, at least in my mind, but that may not be the case.
Behind a breakout performance from 6-7 senior Chino Ebube and a typical strong outing from SIU-bound Sean O'Brien, the Mustangs (4-4, 2-1) beat Warren 67-56 over the weekend.
That's five good teams, something few leagues can boast.