Hammond (7-4 county, 10-12 overall — No. 2 seed Section II 3A East Region)
Best Case: The Golden Bears use the opening round bye to rest up and energize itself for a regional playoff run that will be remembered for years to come. After getting past Northeast in the quarterfinals, Hammond gets a rematch against a Stephen Decatur team that eliminated it from last year’s playoffs. These Seahawks are really good, sitting at 21-2 entering the postseason, but that’s exactly the kind of team that brings out the best in this Hammond group. After all, Hammond racked up half its wins against teams with winning records this year. With that in mind, the team upsets Stephen Decatur and then doesn’t slow down on its way to capturing the region title that last year’s team had its eyes on. The run does come to an end against Poly in the state semifinals, but not before the team wins the program’s first region championship since 1990.