State Stories

21

2018 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 23-24.

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

The games will air live on NBC Sports Chicago, NBC Sports Chicago Plus and IHSA TV Network affiliates (click for local listings). The games will also be carried live on the internet via NBC Sports Chicago and www.IHSA.tv, which will also stream the post-game press conferences. Country Financial is the presenting sponsor of the broadcasts.

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

The first three games on Friday feature four first-time state final qualifiers and no programs who have ever played in a state championship game, which builds to Saturday night's 2A semifinal between Illinois high school girls’ basketball royalty. Chicago Marshall (8) and Teutopolis (5), with their combined 13 state championships, meet in the Class 2A semifinal to closeout Friday’s action.


CLASS 1A
OKAW VALLEY TIMBERWOLVES (29-5)
    vs.
STOCKTON BLACKHAWKS (31-2)

Okaw Valley’s first trip to the state finals has been years in the making, as the Timberwolves feature a trio of three-year starters leading head coach Brad Acker’ veteran group. Senior guard Paige Robinson does it all for Okaw Valley, leading the team in scoring (24. 3 ppg), rebounding (9.1 rpg) and assists (99). The Drury University commit teams with seniors Natalie Jeffers (9.1 ppg) and junior Bella Benning (8.2) to pace the offense. The Timberwolves have lost just once since the calendar turned to 2018, avenging that defeat to the Shiloh/Kansas/Oakland Coop in the Sectional Championship with a 51-43 win.

Tim Timpe has his alma mater in the state finals for the third time in school history (1993, 2001), as the second-year coach hopes to help the Blackhawks to their first-ever title game appearance. Stockton was 13-15 a year ago, and a big part of their emergence has been Timpe’s freshman daughter, 5-10 guard Tiana (12.5 ppg, 116 assists). Trimpe has knocked down 85 treys this year, a good compliment to the inside play of 6-2 senior center Emily Offenheiser, who is averaging a double-double (15.4 ppg, 12.3 rpg). Stockton enters Redbird Arena winners of 15 straight and 24-of-25.


LEBANON GREYHOUNDS (31-1)
    vs.
SCHLARMAN ACADEMY HILLTOPPERS (31-1)

The Greyhounds have many teams seeing double this season, the result of starting two sets of twins, but despite that fact, this weekend will be the school’s first-ever state final appearance. Head coach Chad Cruthis has won at least 23 games in in each of his four seasons, but 2017-18 has been a dominant campaign, with the school’s lone setback coming against Class 3A Sectional qualifier Quincy Notre Dame. Seniors Kendra (14.3 ppg, 5.2 rpg) and Krista Bass (11.3 ppg, 100 assists) are a formidable backcourt, whille 6-1 senior Madison Schoenfeld (9.8 ppg, 7.8 rpg) adds size and balance.

Schlarman Academy breaks through for its first state final appearance in school history and made a statement in doing so. The Hilltoppers avenged their lone defeat of the season on Monday, defeating defending state champ Annawan 43-36 after falling to the Bravettes in December. Seventh-year head coach Keith Peoples relies on his daughter, junior guard and University of Notre Dame recruit Anaya Peoples (17.2 ppg, 6.7 rpg, 148 assists), already a two-time all-state player, to lead the way. Peoples’ supporting cast includes Capria Brown (14.0 ppg), a 5-10 sophomore guard, and junior forward Sydney Gouard (9.9 ppg, 5.3 rpg).


CLASS 2A
HARLAN FALCONS (25-6)
    vs.
EUREKA HORNETS (28-3)

Harlan rallied from a seven-point halftime Super-Sectional deficit to a resounding 55-36 win on Monday over Monticello to clinch the school’s first state final trip. The Lady Falcons are battle-tested from their CPS schedule, in addition to a non-conference slate that included closes losses to a trio of Class 4A Sectional qualifiers. The Falcons love the three-ball, led by a pair of capable shooters in senior guard Daijahnay Winston (17.0 ppg, 101 made 3’s) and Kimeria Burks (13.8 ppg, 68 made 3’s). A win on Friday could setup a potential rematch with Marshall in Saturday’s championship, who Harlan fell to 55-49 in December.

Eureka ended a long state final drought with Monday’s Super-Sectional victory, as the school’s two previous state appearances came in 1986 and 1988, and will bring home its first-ever trophy this weekend. Head coach Jerry Prina’s team has run off 19 straight wins entering the weekend, led by the senior backcourt of Tessa Leman (19.9 ppg, 8.9 rpg) and Natalie Bardwell (13 ppg, 52 made 3’s). The Hornets have previous state success at Redbird, as their volleyball team, which includes starting guard Courtney Heffren (6.5 ppg, 163 assists), won the Class 2A crown in the fall of 2016.


MARSHALL (Chicago) COMMANDOS (20-7)
    vs.
TEUTOPOLIS LADY SHOES (28-6)

There are few adjectives left to describe Dorothy Gaters amazing career at Marshall. The state’s winningest basketball coach (1,104 career victories) has the Commandos at state for the 27th time, although with a new twist, as Marshall placed third in Class 3A last year, but falls to Class 2A this season. This year’s version is led by pair of returning starters from last year in junior forward Brandi Hudson (15.2 ppg, 6.5 rpg) and Dylana Rainey (8.5 ppg), while freshman forward Niyah Zamundio (9.7 ppg) has emerged as a scoring threat. If a title is in the cards this weekend, Gaters will have won state championships in four different decades.

Head coach Laurie Thompson, a state champ at the school as a player, has Teutopolis back in the state finals for third time in five seasons. The Lady Shoes have three players averaging double-digits scoring, including the sister act of junior guard Sadie (11.3 ppg, 79 assists) and senior guard Jolene Bueker (11.2 ppg, 6.3 rpg). Teutopolis’s independent schedule features several larger class schools, which led to a 4-6 mark down the stretch. It appears to have prepared the Lady Shoes for the State Series, as they won all five postseason games by double-digits, with an average winning margin of 20.6 points per game during their run.


TOURNAMENT HISTORY
42nd annual State Series
27th year at Redbird Arena


SITE

Redbird Arena (Normal)
Directions


HOST
Bloomington-Normal CVB
BN Sports Commission


SCHEDULE

Friday, February 23
Session 1
Class 1A Semifinals
11:00 a.m. - Okaw Valley vs. Stockton

1:00 p.m. - Lebanon vs.
Schlarman Academy

Session 2
Class 2A Semifinals

5:30 p.m. - Harlan vs.
Eureka

7:15 p.m. - Chi. Marshall vs. Teutopolis

Saturday, February 24
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


TICKETS
$10 per session (general admission)


WATCH
Television

NBC Sports Chicago &
NBC Sports Chicago+


Internet
NBC Sports Chicago

www.IHSA.tv


LISTEN
WCCI 100.3 FM (Savanna)
Stockton only
Internet Broadcast

WFPS 92.1 FM (Freeport)
Stockton only
Internet Broadcast

WDAN 1490 AM (Danville)
Schlarman only
Internet Broadcast

WMCI 101.3 FM (Mattoon)
Okaw Valley only
Internet Broadcast

WXEF 97.9 FM (Effingham)
Teutopolis only
Internet Broadcast


RESULTS & LIVE STATS

IHSA Girls Basketball Page



COUNTRY THREE POINT SHOWDOWN
Thursday, February 22

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

Friday, February 23
12:45 p.m. - 1A Finals
7:00 p.m. - 2A Finals


OFFICIAL STATE FINAL
Gear from Minerva

Photos from VIP

Balls from Wilson

Souvenir Program



SOCIAL MEDIA   #IHSA
Twitter - @IHSAstate

Instagram - @IHSA_IL

Facebook.com/IHSA.IL

Classic IHSA YouTube Video


STATE SUPPORTERS
Country Financial

Wilson Sporting Goods

Biaggi's Ristorante Italiano

Busey

Gift of Hope

Northern Iowa University

Illinois Treasurer's ICASH

Gatorade

MaxPreps


HISTORY & RECORDS
2018 Road To Redbird

Record Book & Past Champions