State Stories


2018 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 2-3.

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 3 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, which will also stream the post-game press conferences. Country Financial is the presenting sponsor of the broadcasts.

Dave Bernhard and Katy Winge will call Friday's Class 3A action, while Mike Bradd steps into the 3A play-by-play role on Saturday. Nate Baliva and Kristi Faulkner will bring viewers all the Class 4A action. Camron Smith and Winge will share the hosting and sideline duties throughout weekend.

The Class 3A field features a pair of perennial powers, as well as some new blood. Glenbard South and Nazareth are both making their first state final trips, while Richwoods is back for the first time since 2009, but in search of the program’s fourth state title. Breese Central has made the trip to state three times previously, although this will be the first time in Class 3A after qualifying in Class A and 2A in the past.

The Class 4A field will look familiar to fans, as three of the four teams from a year ago are back. Friday’s action starts with a semifinal rematch from a year ago, as Edwardsville and Montini meet again after Edwardsville squeaked out a 37-35 win a year ago. Speaking of thrillers, Geneva used a last second shot to win their semifinal game last year, and then repeated the feat to edge Edwardsville for the state championship. The Vikings are back and will try to keep their Redbird magic going against Maine West in the nightcap, a decorated program who they edged by a basket early in 2018.


Richwoods head coach Todd Hursey is no stranger to the state final scene, as he was an assistant on John Gross’ staff when the Knights won state in 2005 and 2009. Richwoods makes its first state final appearance in his tenure, which was highlighted by a pair of wins over three-time defending state champ Morton (53-45 in November, 49-29 in Sectional Final). The Lady Knights depend on the trio of senior guard Kourtney Crane (15.4 ppg. 131 assists), 6-1 junior forward and Big Ten recruit Camryn Taylor (11.5 ppg, 7.8 rpg) and 6-0 sophomore Jaida McCloud (11.3 ppg, 7.5 RPG), a group that loves to share the ball, as four players enter with at least 85 assists this season.

Glenbard South is making its first state final trip in school history, but at least two Raiders should be comfortable on the Redbird Arena court. Head coach Morgan Kasperek led Hinsdale Central to the Class AA state title as a player in 2002 (before playing at Iowa), while 6-3 junior wing Maggie Bair (16.5 ppg, 10.6 rpg) won her class and then the all-class Queen of the Hill title in last year’s Country Financial Three-Point Showdown. 6-0 senior post Ally Daca (9.1 ppg) is another scoring option for the defensive-oriented Raiders, who have allowed 40 points or more just four times this season. Two of the Raiders losses this year came against teams who played in Class 4A Super-Sectionals (Geneva, Mother McAuley).


Head coach Eddie Stritzel has Nazareth in the state finals for the first time in school history in just his second season at the helm. A big part of that success is his daughter, junior guard Annie Stritzel, who is one of the state’s top scorers (24.1 ppg) and recruits from the class of 2019. Stritzel has teamed with pair of bigs in Providence College bound 6-4 senior Alyssa Geary (13. 7 ppg, 9.0 rpg) and 6-2 senior Marissa Metz (7.7 ppg) to help the Roadrunners to their historic season. Nazareth has navigated a challenging schedule this season, with both of its setbacks coming by four points against 4A Sectional qualifiers (Benet, Mother McAuley).

Breese Central recently moved up from Class 2A to Class 3A, but the Cougars have answered the challenge and make their first state final appearance in the larger class. Head coach Nathan Rueter has won each of his three previous state semifinal games, including going on to win the Class A title in 2007. The Cougars are paced by senior guard Faye Meissner (14.1 ppg) and senior forward Carson Newkirk (9.4 ppg, 6.9 rpg), but their team defense has been the biggest star. The Cougars have allowed just three opponents to score more than 43 points in a game this year, while limiting their five State Series foes to an average of 27.4 points per game.


The Lady Broncos are back in the state finals for the ninth time in 11 seasons, as Jason Nichols group seeks to win the fifth state championship in program history. Ohio State bound 6-3 senior Aaliyah Patty (14.6 ppg, 8.8 rpg) has added an outside component to her game (39 made 3’s), helping to create even more space for 6-5 senior and Wake Forest recruit Lindsey Jarosinski (10.9 ppg). Valpo commit Ilysse Pitts (9.5 ppg) adds even more depth to a group that has faced one of the state’s toughest schedules (8 games against 3A/4A Sectional qualifiers) and has yet to lose to a team from Illinois this season.

For the second consecutive year, Edwardsville enters the state finals undefeated and for the second consecutive year meets fellow power Montini in the semifinals. Several key players from last year’s state runner-up team return, including 6-0 senior forward Rachel Pranger (12.5 ppg), who enters Redbird Arena 13 points shy of the school’s career scoring record. Kate Martin (16.3 ppg, 91 assists), a 6-0 senior guard, will continue her playing career at Iowa, while senior Myriah Noodel-Haywood (10.2 ppg) gives the Tigers a third player scoring in double-figures. After trailing Montini 14-2 in last year’s semifinals, Edwardsville will hope to repeat its fast start from Monday's Super-Sectional, a 21-3 advantage over Mother McAuley.


Maine West makes its first trip to state since 1993, which is also the first since the 2016 passing of legendary coach Derrill Kipp, who led the program to the state tourney seven times and won the 1988 state championship. Long-time assistant Kim de Marigny took the reigns from Kipp in 2016 and has the Warriors back at state in her second season behind a balanced squad led by senior Army commit Alisa Fallon (10.1 ppg, 110 assists). Junior forward Rachel Kent (11.1 ppg) is the Warriors leading scorer, while 6-4 sophomore Angela Dugalic (10.8 ppg, 6.4 rpg) is a budding star. Maine West has the chance to avenge its lone loss of the season in the semifinals after falling to Geneva 55-53 in January.

What a two-year ride its been for Geneva, who was 0-4 as a program in two previous state final trips, before beating Fremd and Edwardsville on last second shots to win the state championship a year ago. Both of last year’s heroes return for head coach Sarah Meadows in senior guard Margaret Whitley (3.2 seconds left vs. Fremd) and senior forward Stephanie Hart (1.9 seconds left vs. Edwardsville). Whitley (13.0 ppg, 112 assists) will play at UAB next year and Hart (10.2 ppg) at Lewis University, while 6-2 senior center Madison Mallory (8.7 ppg) is Youngstown State bound. The Vikings veteran group has won 14 straight after all of its three losses came in a 15-day span, including a 52-50 setback against fellow state qualifier Montini.

42nd annual State Series
27th year at Redbird Arena


Redbird Arena (Normal)

Bloomington-Normal CVB
BN Sports Commission


Friday, March 2
Session 1
Class 3A Semifinals
11:00 a.m. - Richwoods vs.
Glenbard South

1:00 p.m. - Nazareth vs.
Breese Central

Session 2
Class 4A Semifinals

5:30 p.m. - Montini vs.

7:15 p.m. - Maine West vs.

Saturday, March 3
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)


NBC Sports Chicago &
NBC Sports Chicago+

NBC Sports Chicago

WCXO 96.7 FM (Carlyle)
Breese Central games
Internet Broadcast


IHSA Girls Basketball Page

Thursday, March 1

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

Friday, March 2
12:45 p.m. - 3A Finals
7:00 p.m. - 4A Finals

Saturday, March 3
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

Biaggi's Ristorante Italiano


Gift of Hope

Northern Iowa University

Illinois Treasurer's ICASH



2018 Road To Redbird

Record Book & Past Champions