2020 MARCH MADNESS: Class 1A & 2A Girls Basketball

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2020 MARCH MADNESS: Class 1A & 2A Girls Basketball

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The calendar won't turn by tipoff, but America's Original March Madness is officially underway as the IHSA Class 1A & 2A Girls Basketball State Finals return to Redbird Arena on the campus of Illinois State University in Normal on Friday and Saturday, February 28-29.

The Country Financial Three-Point Showdown continues Thursday at Redbird Arena, as prelims will whittle down Sectional qualifiers to four final 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 7 for a chance to be the all-class champion Queen of the Hill.

The games will air live on Quicy Media Inc.'s IHSA TV Network (click for local listings). The games will also be carried live on the internet via the NFHS Network at www.IHSA.tv, which will also stream the post-game press conferences. Country Financial is the presenting sponsor of the broadcasts. Lee Hall and Patricia-Babcock McGraw will bring viewers the 1A action, while Dave Bernhard and Mark Lindo step in to call the 2A games. Kendra Sheehan and Trish Christakes will handle the hosting and sideline duties, along with the finals of the Country Financial Three-Point Showdown.

Three of four teams return in Class 1A field this season in Eastland, Lewistown, and Tri-County, but there will be a new state champion with two-time defending state champs Schlarman falling in the Regional round. Class 2A has a much different feel, as two-time defending state champ Marshall High School from Chicago is surrounding by a trio of programs all making their first trips to state in Carterville, Pleasant Plains, and Riverdale.


Last season, a late semifinal three from Erin Henze lifted Eastland over Tri-County en route to the Cougars placing second in Class 1A. This year, it was Lydia Coatney who had the heroics (that made Sportscenter) in a Sectional Final with a buzzerbeater trey over Amboy (who had given Eastland two of its three losses) to help set the path for Eastland to return to Redbird Arena. Henze (20.1 ppg, 145 assists) and Coatney (13.5 ppg, 6.1 rpg) are both enjoying strong senior seasons, and have guided head coach Nicole Brinker’s squad to state for the third time in program history.

Joe Morrisey’s Tri-County placed fourth last season after being edged by Eastland 64-63 in the semis. While payback is a natural storyline, much of the Lady Titans 2019 roster is gone, but what’s back has proved to be special. Junior guard Tayler Barry (18.6 ppg, 45 threes) is the Titans leading scorer once again, while sophomore Bella Dudley (14.4 ppg) has emerged as the team’s second-best scorer after coming off the bench a year ago. The Titans have won 18 in-a-row and haven’t lost in the new year.


Aurora Christian makes its first state final appearance in school history in head coach Burney Wilkie’s sixth season. A difficult regular-season schedule has helped prepare the Eagles to roll through the postseason, defeating their five State Series foes by an average score of 65.4 to 26.4. Anna Griffin (17.6 ppg, 9.8 rpg), a 6-1 junior forward, has the attention of multiple Big 10 coaches already, while sophomore guard Lexi Lamanna (9.4 ppg, 48 threes, 180 assists) is the engine behind the Eagles offensive attack.

After placing third a year ago, Lewistown returns to state for the third time in school history with its top two scorers from a year ago back in senior guards Anna Heffren (20.0 ppg, 132 assists) and Sydney Shaeffer (16.1 ppg, 135 assists). Greg Bennett’s team suffered just one loss this season, to a Pleasant Plains team that will be joining the Lady Indians at Redbird, but in the Class 2A field. Lewistown opened the season with 20 straight wins before meeting Plains, and now has won 12 in a row.


Pleasant Plains first state final appearance in school history is a family affair, as ninth-year head coach TJ Fraase is joined by his daughter Ali, a senior guard. The Cardinals don’t have a player on the roster taller than 5-10, but they feature a balanced offensive attack that has six players averaging 4.5 points per game or better. Leading that charge are junior guard Asya Smith (11.4 ppg, 4.4 rpg) and senior Heidi Hergenrother (8.2 ppg, 4.7 rpg). Since a 2-2 start, the Cardinals have won 24-of-25 games.

Riverdale is making its first state final appearance in school history, but it isn’t the first trip for second-year head coach Jay Hatch. Bruce previously spent 22 years at Alleman, where he won a state championship in 2005. If the Rams are going to capture the state championship on Saturday night, it will likely be because of big performances from senior forward Sidney Grant (13.1 ppg, 9.1 rpg) and junior guard Molly Sharp (7.5 ppg, 74 assists). The Rams defense has held 17 opponents this season to 30 points or less.


Carterville’s first trip to the state finals matches the Lady Lions up against one of state’s perennial powers. Head coach Matt Crain’s team has just one loss to an in-state team this year, a setback to 3A Highland in November. Senior forward Jeniah Thompson (14.4 ppg, 8.9 rpg), an SIU recruit, paces the Lady Lions, while senior guard Abbey Crain (12.7 ppg, 67 threes) provides another threat for a team that has four players averaging double-figures scoring.

Two-time defending Class 2A state champion Marshall returns to defend their title behind the winningest coach in IHSA basketball history, NFHS National High School Hall of Famer Dorothy Gaters, who has guided the Commandos to 10 state championships. Junior guard Aniyah Jackson (15.0 ppg, 7.5 rpg) has emerged the team’s leading scorer this season, while senior forward Jalyn Jimenz (10.8 ppg) is also back after coming off the bench to score a team-high 11 points in last year’s championship game.

43rd annual State Series
28th year at Redbird Arena

Redbird Arena (Normal)

Bloomington-Normal CVB
BN Sports Commission

Friday, February 28
Session 1
Class 1A Semifinals
11:00 a.m. - Eastland vs.
1:00 p.m. - Aurora Christian vs. Lewistown

Session 2
Class 2A Semifinals

5:30 p.m. - Pleasant Plains vs.
7:15 p.m. - Carterville vs. Chicago Marshall

Saturday, February 29
Session 3
Class 1A Finals
11:00 a.m. - Third-Place
1:00 p.m. - Championship

Session 4
Class 2A Finals
5:30 p.m. - Third-Place
7:15 p.m. - Championship

$10 per session (general admission)


Quincy Media Inc. IHSA TV Network
Channel Finder by Market
NFHS Network: www.IHSA.tv

WCCI 100.3 FM (Savanna)
Eastland only
Internet Broadcast

WMCI 101.3 FM (Mattoon)
Tri-County only
Internet Broadcast

WILP 98.1 FM FM (Canton)
Lewistown only
Internet Broadcast

WBYS 1560 AM (Canton)
Lewistown only
Internet Broadcast

WLLT 94.3 FM (Polo)
Eastland only
Internet Broadcast

WQLF 102.1 FM (Freeport)
Eastland only
Internet Broadcast

IHSA Girls Basketball Page

Thursday, February 27
5:00 p.m. - 1A/2A Prelims

Friday, February 28
12:45 p.m. - 1A Finals
7:00 p.m. - 2A Finals

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2020 Road To Redbird
Record Book & Past Champions

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