America's Original March Madness is now in full swing and continues with the IHSA Class 3A & 4A Girls Basketball State Finals at Redbird Arena on the campus of Illinois State University in Normal on Friday and Saturday, March 6-7.
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 3A and Class 4A 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. Country Financial is the presenting sponsor of the broadcasts. Lee Hall and Patricia-Babcock McGraw will bring viewers the 3A action, while Dave Bernhard and Mark Lindo step in to call the 4A games. Kendra Sheehan and Trish Christakes will handle the hosting and sideline duties, along with the finals of the Country Financial Three-Point Showdown.
The Class 3A field features arguably the top two programs in the state over the past decade in Montini and Morton, battling against a couple of upstart teams with impressive resumes in Simeon and Lanphier. Class 4A has its share of star power among two programs making their first state finals appearances in Lincoln-Way West and Lake Park, a past power looking to restart a new dynasty in Bolingbrook, and a perennial power searching for its first state championship in Fremd.
SIMEON WOLVERINES (32-3) vs. MONTINI LADY BRONCOS (32-4)
Simeon reaches state for the second time in program history after first qualifying in 2017 when the Wolverines placed fourth in their first season under head coach Jonathan Davenport. The Wolverines have been led this season by senior guard Cashay Dixon (14.9 ppg, 164 ast) and Aneesah Morrow (26.7 ppg, 12.3 rpg), a 6-1 junior forward. Morrow will try to match her brother Ed this weekend, as he won a state title with Simeon’s boys in 2013 before playing at Marquette. Simeon enters on a 17-game win streak, and has won 28 of its last 29.
Montini returns to the state finals after a two-year absence, which might feel like an eternity given its success under head coach Jason Nichols. The Lady Broncos have now reached state 11 times since 2008, including Class 3A state championships in 2010, 2011, 2012 and 2014. The 2020 edition features a balanced scoring attack that has seven players scoring five points or more per game, with sophomore forwards Taylor Charles (9.5 ppg, 4.9 rpg) and Tatiana Thomas (9.0 ppg, 4.7 rpg) leading the charge. Montini’s two in-state losses came against teams who both spent timed ranked #1 in Class 4A this year.
MORTON POTTERS (36-0) vs. LANPHIER LIONS (26-8)
Morton’s amazing run under head coach Bob Becker continues with the defending state champs reaching the state finals for the sixth time since 2013, with each of the last four trips resulting in state titles (2015, 2016, 2017, 2019). Despite being beset by injuries, the Potters have managed to run their current win streak to 46 games, thanks in part to the play of UAB bound 6-1 senior Lindsey Dullard (14.9 ppg, 5.4 rpg, 90 ast) and 6-2 sophomore Katie Krupa (11.7 ppg, 3.8 rpg). Morton’s last loss was to 4A qualifier Fremd in double OT on February 2, 2019.
Doug Collins combined for 19 victories in his first four seasons at Lanphier, but the long-time coach has built the program to its first back-to-back 20-win seasons, culminating with the school’s first-ever state final appearance this weekend. The Lions offensive attach is led by senior guard Matrice Brooks (16.2 ppg) and junior guard Serenity Price (10.9 ppg). Lanphier’s Sectional run had a redemptive quality, as the Lions beat McArthur and Rochester, who had combined to beat them three times in the regular-season.
FREMD VIKINGS (28-7) vs. LAKE PARK LANCERS (26-8)
Fremd is starting to feel at home at Redbird Arena under head coach Dave Yates, as the Vikings return to state after making three straight trips from 2015-2017. Senior guard Emily Klaczek (12.6 ppg, 104 ast) and 6-3 junior forward Grace Labarge (9.5 ppg) hope to lead the program to its first-ever state title. The Vikings lost to defending state champ Maine West by 17 points on February 8, before avenging the loss 57-49 in Monday’s Super-Sectional.
Lake Park reaches the state finals for the first time in school history behind a dynamic playmaker in senior guard Darrione Rogers (25.9 ppg, 9.9 rpg). The DePaul University bound star missed her freshamn season with an injury, but has still eclipsed 2,000 career points in three seasons. Head coach Brian Rupp has melded a core of underclassmen around Rogers, as a junior, two freshman, and sophomore guard Sara Balli (9.6 ppg, 5.3 rpg) round out the Lancers starting five.
LINCOLN-WAY WEST WARRIORS (31-3) vs. BOLINGBROOK RAIDERS (25-7)
Lincoln-Way West is finding that three Gugliuzza sisters is better than two. The Warriors feature the rarity of being led by a trio of sisters in senior Taylor (17.5 ppg, 105 ast), junior Tara (11.6 ppg) and freshman Ava Gugliuzza (13.8 ppg). The sister act has combined for 233 three-pointers this season, helping guide head coach Ryan White’s explosive offense to the first state final appearance in school history. Two of West’s three losses come against teams playing this weekend, but there will be no chance at revenge with Morton and Montini in the 3A field.
Bolingbrook makes its first state final trip since 2011, when Morgan Tuck and Ariel Massengale were in the midst of leading the school to their third consecutive state championship. The current Raiders have star power of their own, starting with LSU-bound senior forward Treasure Thompson (13.5 ppg, 8.1 rpg). The emergence of sophomore guard Kennedi Perkins (14.1 ppg, 75 ast) has pushed the Raiders to the next level, as they knocked off top-ranked Benet 68-54 in the Sectional Final, and rallied past perennial power Whitney Young in the Super-Sectional.
44th annual State Series
29th year at Redbird Arena
Redbird Arena (Normal)
BN Sports Commission
Friday, March 6
Class 3A Semifinals
11:00 a.m. - Simeon vs. Montini
1:00 p.m. - Morton vs. Lanphier
Class 4A Semifinals
5:30 p.m. - Fremd vs. Lake Park
7:15 p.m. - Lincoln-Way West vs. Bolingbrook
Saturday, March 7
Class 3A Finals
11:00 a.m. - Third-Place
1:00 p.m. - Championship
Class 4A 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
Morton HS Broadcast
Morton games only
WFMB 1450 AM (Springfield)
Lanphier games only
WJOL 1340 AM (Joliet)
Bolingbrook & Lincoln-Way West games only
RESULTS & LIVE STATS
IHSA Girls Basketball Page
COUNTRY THREE POINT SHOWDOWN
Thursday, March 5
5:00 p.m. - 3A/4A Prelims
Friday, March 6
12:45 p.m. - 3A Finals
7:00 p.m. - 4A Finals
Saturday, March 7
Queen of the Hill
12:45 p.m. - All class champions
OFFICIAL STATE FINAL
Gear from Minerva
Photos from VIP
Balls from Wilson
SOCIAL MEDIA #IHSA
Twitter - @IHSAstate
Instagram - @IHSA_IL
Classic IHSA YouTube Video
HISTORY & RECORDS
2020 Road To Redbird
Record Book & Past Champions