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MARCH MADNESS: 2015 Class 1A & 2A Girls Basketball

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The calendar won't officially turn by tipoff, but March Madness is officially underway as the IHSA Class 1A & 2A Girls Basketball State Finals invade Redbird Arena on the campus of Illinois State University in Normal on Friday and Saturday, February 27-28.

The Country Financial Three-Point Showdown continues Thursday at Redbird Arena, as prelims will whittle competitors down to four shooters from each class. The final four shooters from Class 1A and Class 2A will shoot for their class titles between semifinal games on Friday, with the winners returning on Saturday, March 8 for a chance to be the all-class champion Queen of the Hill.

The games will air live on Comcast SportsNet, Comcast SportsNet+ and IHSA TV Network affiliates (click for local listings). The games will also be carried live on the internet at www.IHSA.tv, which will also stream the post-game press conferences 

Lee Hall and Kelly Burke will bring viewers the 1A action and Dave Bernhard and Patricia Babcock McGraw step in to call the 2A games. Matt Rodewald will handle the hosting and sideline duties, along with the finals of the Country Financial Three-Point Showdown.

CLASS 1A
PROPHETSTOWN PROPHETS (30-3) vs.
CENTRAL A&M RAIDERS (31-1)

Picking Prophetstown to be back in the state finals wouldn’t have been all that prophetic entering the 2014-15 season when you consider that legendary coach Don Robinson (704 career wins) returned four starters from last year’s Class 2A runner-up team for their senior seasons. When the Prophets were reclassified from Class 2A to Class 1A this summer, it only upped the expectations for seniors Corrie Reiley (12.6 ppg, 92 assists), Clare Kramer (9.3 ppg, 5.8 rpg) and company. The Prophets knocked off Aquin (Sectional semifinal) and Annawan (Super-Sectional) en route to Redbird, two programs that combined for the past three 1A titles.
Prior to Prophetstown’s return to Class 1A, perhaps no other program seemed more destined for a return state final trip than Central A&M, who placed fourth a year ago with five underclass starters. Head coach Tom Dooley’s returnees include his daughter, junior guard Ryan (13.4 ppg, 144 assists), and her backcourt running mate, senior guard Taylor Jordan (11.5 ppg, 67 threes). The Raiders led for nearly three quarters in the semifinals a year ago and hope their experience carries them to the title game in 2015. The veteran squad opened the season with 23 straight wins and have not lost to a 1A opponent this year.

CALHOUN WARRIORS (31-2) vs.
IROQUOIS WEST RAIDERS (28-3)

Calhoun’s resume sounds eerily similar to that of its counterparts on the other side of the bracket from a year ago. Not only does the Warrior starting lineup feature four juniors and a sophomore, but the team also shares some family ties of its own, featuring four Baalman’s, including head coach Aaron Baalman. The coach relies heavily on the cousin connection of 6-2 sophomore Grace (19.3 ppg, 8.3 rpg) and 6-1 junior Emma (17 ppg, 8.5 rpg), two of three starters who check-in at least 6-0 tall. The Warrior’s youth hasn’t been a detriment in the postseason, where they have won five games by an average of 29 points per game.
Iroquois West returns to the state finals for the second time in school history and the first time since its 2003 debut. Kristy Arie has a hold of the coaching reigns this time around and enters the state finals with a group that has won 22 of its last 23 games. The Raiders have a balanced offensive attack that features five players averaging eight points or more per game, including 6-0 senior center Taylor Cultra (12.6 ppg, 7.0 rpg) and junior guard Ariel Medina (10.6 ppg). Iroquois West overcame Cissna Park in the Sectional round this season after losing to the Lady Timberwolves in the Sectionals last season and again in December.

CLASS 2A
BLOOMINGTON CENTRAL CATHOLIC SAINTS (23-7) vs.
BISHOP MCNAMARA FIGHTIN IRISH (27-4)

Deb Coffman has the Saints back in the state finals for the sixth time in school history and third time since 2010, the year Coffman coached the school to its lone state title in school history. The 2014-15 edition of the Saints are led by a pair of junior guards in Sydney Shanks (13 ppg, 102 assists) and Lexi Davis (12.3 ppg). The team continues to rely on a stifling full court press that forced 23 turnovers in a 65-51 Super-Sectional victory. The Saints veteran coach will need another title to keep pace in her own home, as her son Braxton, a current senior, helped Central Catholic to last year’s IHSA Class 2A Boys Basketball crown.
Four years without seeing Bishop McNamara in the state finals seems like an eternity, especially considering the team qualified six times between 2004 and 2011. First-year head coach John Rutter has the Fightin’ Irish back at state and a step closer to the school’s first state championship. Bishop McNamara features one of the top players in the state, as McDonald’s All-American nominee and Rutgers signee Khadaizha Sanders (20.7 ppg, 205 assists, 53 threes) does it all from her guard position. Senior forward Corrine O’Connor (11.5 ppg) gives the Irish a solid second scoring option on a team that owns regular-season wins over several squads still playing in the Class 3A and 4A Sectionals.

IC CATHOLIC LADY KNIGHTS (20-11) vs.
BREESE CENTRAL COUGARS (30-3)

IC Catholic made its first state final appearance in school history a year ago and now has its sights set on making the trip to Redbird Arena a frequent occurrence. Despite playing a strong schedule composed of mostly Class 3A and 4A foes, the Lady Knights reached the 20-win mark under fifth-year head coach Aubree Schuett for the second straight season. Two starters return from a year ago, but the emergence of 6-3 freshman Claire Gibler (12.3 ppg) and 6-0 junior Anjella Farmer (11.5 ppg, 5.2 rpg) has been the key for IC Catholic. The Lady Knights defense has been stellar in the postseason, where opponents are averaging just under 25 points per game in five contests.
Breese Central makes its third state final trip under head coach Nate Rueter, who led the Cougars to a state championship in 2007 and runner-up finish in 2012. DePaul University commit Kendra Wilken (19.9 ppg, 11.1 rpg) does it all for Breese Central. The reliable 6-2 junior has 20 double-doubles this season and has led the team in scoring in all but one contest. Four other players hover around six points per game and are capable of taking advantage of the defensive focus on Wilken, including junior forward Alicia Book (6.6 ppg), who older brother Brandon starred on the Central boys’ basketball state title team in 2012. All three Cougar losses this season came against Class 3A competition.








TOURNAMENT HISTORY
39th annual State Series
24th year at Redbird Arena


SITE

Redbird Arena (Normal)
Directions


SCHEDULE

Friday, February 27
Session 1
Class 1A Semifinals
12:15 p.m. - Prophetstown
vs. Central A&M

2:00 p.m. - Calhoun
vs. Iroquois West

Session 2
Class 2A Semifinals

6:30 p.m. - Central Catholic
vs. Bishop McNamara

8:15 p.m. - IC Catholic
vs. Breese Central

Saturday, February 28
Session 3
Class 1A Finals
Noon - Third-Place
2:00 p.m. - Championship

Session 4
Class 2A Finals
6:30 p.m. - Third-Place
8:15 p.m. - Championship

WATCH
Live on Comcast SportsNet & Comcast SportsNet Plus. Click here for channel schedule & information.

Internet
www.IHSA.tv



LISTEN
WLLT 107.7 FM (Dixon)
Prophetstown

WMKR 94.3 FM (Taylorville)
Central A&M
Internet Broadcast

WBBA 97.5 FM (Pittsfield)
Calhoun
Internet Broadcast

WGFA 94.1 FM (Watseka)
Iroquois West
Internet Broadcast

WGCY 106.3 FM (Gibson City)
Iroquois West
Internet Broadcast

WPXN 104.9 FM (Paxton)
Iroquois West
Internet Broadcast

WJBC 1230 AM (Bloomington)
Bloom. Central Catholic
Internet Broadcast

WVLI 92.7 FM (Kankakee)
Bishop McNamara
Internet Broadcast

WCXO 96.7 FM (Carlyle)
Breese Central


EXPERIENCE

Twitter:
@IHSAState
    #IHSA

Photos

State Final Gear


RESULTS & LIVE STATS

IHSA Girls Basketball Page



COUNTRY THREE POINT SHOWDOWN
Thursday, February 26

5:00 p.m. - 1A/2A Prelims

Friday, February 27
1:45 p.m. - 1A Finals
8:00 p.m. - 2A Finals


TICKETS
$10 per session (general admission)


HISTORY & RECORDS
2015 Road To Redbird

Record Book & Past Champions