State Stories


MARCH MADNESS: Class 3A & 4A Girls Basketball

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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 3-4.

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 4 for a chance to be the all-class champion Queen of the Hill.

The games and three-point shooting will air live on CSN Chicago+HD and IHSA TV Network affiliates (click for local listings). The games will also be carried live on the internet via the NFHS Network at, which will also stream the post-game press conferences. Country Financial is the presenting sponsor of the broadcasts.

Lee Hall and Glenbard West All-Stater Kristi Faulkner will bring viewers the call on all the Class 3A action, before Dave Bernhard and Patricia Babcock McGraw step in for the Class 4A finals. Zach Kerker and Katy Winge will handle the hosting and sideline duties, along with the finals of the Country Financial Three-Point Showdown.


It’s no surprise that the two-time defending state champions are back in Normal for the third consecutive year, as Bob Becker’s squad returns a trio of key players from a year ago. Becker’s daughter Josi (9.5 ppg) runs the point, while budding star Tenley Dowell (13.1 ppg) started a year ago in the title game as a freshman. But no player comes up bigger for the Potters than UW-Milwaukee commit Brandi Bisping (12.8 pg, 8 rpg). In four career state final games at Redbird Arena, Bisping is averaging 16 points, 8.2 rebounds, 2.2 steals per game.

With star alumni including Nick Anderson, Derrick Rose and Jabari Parker, Simeon is synonymous with Illinois high school basketball, but now it’s the girls’ turn to make some noise, as the girls’ program prepares to make its first-ever state final appearance under first-year head coach Jonathan Davenport. The Wolverines boast plenty of height with 6-0 senior Jamyra McChristine (14.2 ppg, 11.9 rpg) and 6-1 senior Terrinque Battle (10 ppg, 10.2 rpg) leading the offense and protecting the rim. Simeon is battle-tested by a schedule that included Montini and Homewood-Flossmoor, who met in a 4A Super-Sectional on Monday.


A six-year state final drought feels like an eternity to the Marshall girls’ basketball program. The Commandos are making their state-best 26th state final appearance, all of which have come under hall of fame coach, Dorothy Gaters. The winningest basketball coach in state history (boys or girls) is in search of her ninth state championship this weekend. Her veteran group is guided by the senior tandem of 6-1 forward Tekia Mack (14.6 ppg, 9 rpg) and guard/forward Julliunn Redmond (12.1 ppg). The Commandos are currently a 2A school by their 410 student enrollment, but opted to petition up to play in Class 3A.

Rochester has advanced to the state title game in each of its three previous state final appearances, but has yet to bring home the big trophy. This year’s Rockets would like nothing more than to stop Morton’s title reign after it began against the Rockets in 2015. Head coach J.R. Boudouris returns a big piece from that 2015 squad in 6-3 senior Bowling Green commit Angela Perry (15.6 ppg, 7.1 rpg), while Madison Faulkner (11.8 ppg) has stepped into a leadership role in her senior season. The Rockets have rattled off 20 straight wins and two of its three losses came to 4A Sectional qualifiers in Rock Island and Edwardsville.


The third time was the charm for the Edwardsville Tigers, who had fallen to Benet in the Super-Sectional the past two seasons, only to watch the Redwings go on to win the Class 4A title. Now head coach Lori Blade looks for her first title at Edwardsville and third of her career (Carrollton in 2001 and 2002) with an experienced core. All five starters are 5-11 or taller, starting with 5-11 senior guard Makensie Silvey (15.9 ppg, 115 assists), one of two Southern Illinois University commits on the squad. Junior Rachel Pranger (13.4 ppg, 8.3 rpg) adds more depth to a squad that could become the 15th in state history to finished unbeaten.

Despite losing two starters to injuries this season, Jason Nichols’ Montini squad has persevered and finds themselves in a familiar spot, playing on the last weekend of the season, albeit for the first time in Class 4A. Sharp-shooting Ohio commit Kaylee Bambulee (13.6 ppg, 115 made threes) saw some limited action two years ago as a sophomore when the Lady Broncos outlasted Joliet Catholic Academy for the 3A crown, and has blossomed into Montini’s leader as a senior. The Lady Broncos have plenty of height Bambulee can go inside-outside with, including 6-3 junior Aaliyah Patty (10.4 ppg, 7.4 rpg). Montini faced its typically difficult schedule this season, with its lone loss coming to nationally ranked Butler High School out of Kentucky.


After helping guide Geneva to the state finals as a freshman in 2014, Geneva senior Grace Loberg fittingly will end her career back at Redbird Arena. The 6-2 Loberg is an All-American on the volleyball court and will play volleyball at the University of Wisconsin next year, while she consistently outputs double-doubles (14 ppg, 11.1 rpg) on the basketball court. Head coach Sarah Meadows’ squad goes beyond Loberg, as junior guard Margaret Whitley has taken over as the team’s leading scorer (14.2, 85 threes made) this season. The Vikings hit a rough patch in mid-January, losing three of four games, but haven’t lost since, as they will ride a 13-game win streak into Friday’s semifinal game.

Speaking of the third time being the charm, the Fremd Vikings return to the state finals for the third consecutive year after falling to Benet in the championship game in both 2015 and 2016. The 2016-17 Vikings are Harvard-bound forward Grace Toworek’s team, as the 6-2 senior is averaging a double-double on the season (16 ppg, 10.1 rpg). Midori Williams (9.3 ppg) has stepped up on a balanced offense with her shooting, knocking down a team-high 56 treys this year. David Yates’ Vikings have learned to win as the season has progressed, as they avenged a pair of regular-season losses in the postseason, handily downing Hersey in the Sectional Final (49-30) and Boylan Catholic in the Super-Sectional (55-45).

41st annual State Series
26th year at Redbird Arena


Redbird Arena (Normal)

Bloomington-Normal CVB
BN Sports Commission


Friday, March 3
Session 1
Class 3A Semifinals
11:00 a.m. - Morton vs. Simeon

1:00 p.m. - Chicago Marshall vs. Rochester

Session 2
Class 4A Semifinals

5:30 p.m. - Edwardsville vs. Montini Catholic

7:15 p.m. - Geneva vs. Fremd

Saturday, March 4
Session 3
Class 3A Finals
11:00 a.m. - Third-Place
1:00 p.m. - Championship

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

$10 per session (general admission)


CSN Chicago+


WFMB 104.5 FM (Springfield)
Rochester games
Internet Broadcast


IHSA Girls Basketball Page

Thursday, March 2

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

Friday, March 3
12:45 p.m. - 3A Finals
7:00 p.m. - 4A Finals

Saturday, March 4
Queen of the Hill
12:45 p.m. - All class champions

Gear from Minerva

Photos from VIP

Balls from Wilson

Souvenir Program

Twitter - @IHSAstate

Instagram - @IHSA_IL

Classic IHSA YouTube Video

Country Financial

Wilson Sporting Goods



2017 Road To Redbird

Record Book & Past Champions