State Stories


MARCH MADNESS: 2016 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 26-27.

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

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

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

A year after their season ended with a 16-point loss to Amboy in the Regional Final, Indian Creek still hasn’t lost to a fellow Class 1A school since. Head coach Paul Muchmore’s team started the year 23-0, their lone setback being a two-point loss to Class 3A Woodstock in late January, en route to the first state final appearance in school history in any sport. The tandem of 6-0 senior forward Josie Diehl (14.7 ppg, 10.7 rpg) and sophomore guard MaKayli Vann (11.9 ppg, 87 assists) have been the catalyst for the Timberwolves historic season.

Tom Dooley has the defending state champion Raiders back (along with their IHSA award-winning student section) in the state finals for the third consecutive season, becoming the first Class 1A program to accomplish that feat in the four-class era. The coach’s daughter, senior guard Ryan Dooley (13.5 ppg, 170 assists) continues to be the pacesetter for the Raiders, but the maturation of senior forward Mikah Maples (16 ppg, ) into an elite scorer may be the reason Central A&M is back at Redbird Arena. A year after scoring one point in the state championship game, Maples is 27 points shy of breaking the school single-season scoring record.

The Lady Sting may be the sentimental favorite of the any class in the tournament, as it was announced last month that the school will close at the end of the school year. After losing in the Super-Sectional round the past four seasons, head coach Kevin Green, who played in the state finals for Bloom Trail in 1988, finally saw his squad punch its ticket to state. The Sting are paced by senior guards Ren’cia Rolling and Danielle Bailey. Bailey knocked down the winning shot in the Super-Sectional, while Rolling is averaging 21 points per game in the State Series.

With all five starters from last season returning, it’s no surprise to see Aaron Baalman’s Warriors back at Redbird Arena for the second time in school history. After coming up short in last year’s state title game to Central A&M, Calhoun has rolled through most of the season, winning their five postseason games by an average of nearly 30 points per game. Three of those five starters stand 6-0 or taller, including the formidable cousin duo of 6-3 junior Grace Baalman (16.5 ppg, 8.2 rpg) and 6-1 senior Emma Baalman (14.3 ppg, 17.9 ppg).

Teutopolis head coach Laurie Thompson helped build the famed Lady Shoes hoops tradition as a starter on the school’s first state championship team in 1986. The program has added four more state title since then, while Thompson’s two previous state finals appearances as a coach have resulted in third-place finishes. Several of Thompson’s high school teammates have daughters on this year’s squad, starting with her own, as junior guard Shelby Thompson (11.1 ppg, 79 three-pointers) is the team’s leading scorer. Senior forward Molly Smith (10.9 ppg) is also scoring in double-digits on a deep team that has six players scoring 4.9 points per game or more.

The St. Joseph boys’ basketball program of Hoop Dreams fame is well known throughout Illinois, having won its second IHSA state title last March. Meanwhile, head coach Andrew Winston has the Chargers in the state finals for the first time under its current namesake. All-girls school Immaculate Heart of Mary made three state trips, including a state title in 1987, before the school was merged with St. Joseph in 2005. Sophomore guard Maia Marshall (17.3 ppg) has been one of the keys behind establishing a new tradition, while forward Amber Brooks (14.1 ppg) has stepped up in the postseason, as the senior has led St. Joseph in scoring in four of its five State Series contests.

Central-Southeastern, a Coop between Central High School in Camp Point and Southeastern High School in Augusta, is chockfull of storylines. The Lady Panthers have a team manager in Jessi Baucom, who became a “celebrity” after being chronicled by NBC National Nightly News earlier this season, and on the court, they have knocked off the #5, #8 and #2 ranked teams in the latest Associated Press rankings in consecutive games, respectively, to reach the state finals for the first time in school history. Leading the way for Matt Long’s team are freshman guard Delaney Lantz (15.6 ppg) and junior forward Kolby McClelland (13.5 ppg, 10.3 rpg).

With four juniors in Eric Yerly’s starting lineup, on paper, Byron High School appears to be a year ahead of schedule. On the court, the Tigers have shown they are ready to contend for a state title right now, as its three losses this season have all come against schools who were competing for Class 3A Sectional titles entering the week. Byron’s talented junior class includes guards Lexi Devries (15.7 ppg, 127 assists) and Paige Holloway (14.7 ppg), who try to lead Byron to the state title game for the first time ever in the school’s fourth state final appearance.

40th annual State Series
25th year at Redbird Arena


Redbird Arena (Normal)
Hosted by Bloomington-Normal Area Convention & Visitors Bureau  &  BN Sports Commission


Friday, February 26
Session 1
Class 1A Semifinals
12:15 p.m. - Indian Creek
vs. Central A&M

2:00 p.m. - Seton Academy
vs. Calhoun

Session 2
Class 2A Semifinals

6:30 p.m. - Teutopolis
vs. St. Joseph (Westchester)

8:15 p.m. - Camp Point Central-Southeastern vs. Byron

Saturday, February 27
Session 3
Class 1A Finals
Noon - Third-Place
2:00 p.m. - Championship

Session 4
Class 2A Finals
6:30 p.m. - Third-Place
8:15 p.m. - Championship

$10 per session (general admission)

Live on Comcast SportsNet & Comcast SportsNet Plus. Click here for channel schedule & information.


WSPY 107.1 Fm (Plano
Indian Creek games
Internet Broadcast

WMKR 94.3 FM (Taylorville)
Central A&M games
Internet Broadcast

WJBM 1480 AM (Jerseyville)
Calhoun games
Internet Broadcast

WKJT 102.3 FM (Teutopolis)
Teutopolis games
Internet Broadcast

WRHL 102.3FM/1060AM (Rochelle)
Byron games
Internet Broadcast


IHSA Girls Basketball Page

Thursday, February 25

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

Friday, February 26
1:45 p.m. - 1A Finals
8:00 p.m. - 2A Finals

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