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Eighth Grade Boys Basketball State Finals Begin Saturday

Illinois Elementary School Association (IESA) boys basketball history will be made when four champions are crowned for the first time ever in the Eighth Grade State Basketball Tournament series. Competition in the Class 1A, Class 2A, Class 3A and Class 4A State Final Tournaments begins Saturday (Feb. 10) and concludes Thursday (Feb. 15) at four sites.

Class 1A will be played at Divernon High School. Class 2A will be at Monticello Middle School. Wenona Fieldcrest Middle School will host Class 3A. Kingsley Junior High in Normal will host Class 4A.

The time schedule for all four tournaments will be the same. Quarterfinals will be played Saturday with the first of four games beginning at 10:00 a.m. at each site. The four quarterfinal winners will meet in semifinal games Saturday night with the first of two games set to begin at 6:00 p.m. Third place and championship games will be played Thursday with the third place game set for 6:00 p.m. and the championship game scheduled for 7:30.

The price of admission Saturday is $7.00 for adults and $3.00 for seniors (62 and over) and students (K-8) and is good for all games Saturday. Children younger than kindergarten are admitted free. Fans attending the games Saturday will receive a wristband that is to be worn all day and will be used for entry into the facility throughout the day. The price of admission for the third place and championship game session Thursday will be $5.00 for adults and $2.00 for seniors and students (K-8). Children younger than kindergarten again are admitted free.

IESA boys basketball began in 1930. From 1930 to 1972 there were two classes: Class A (heavyweight) and Class B (lightweight). Class C (7th grade) was added in 1973. From 1977-1984, the heavyweight class was divided into two classes based on enrollment. From 1985-2006, there were Class A and Class AA state series for both seventh grade and eighth grade. This year the seventh grade and eighth grade series have four classes each.

The 2007 state tournament format and playing schedule is different than in previous years. Until this year, 16 Class A and Class AA teams in seventh grade and eighth grade advanced to two respective 16-team state finals, and competition was conducted in a four-day format.

Complete pairings for each state final, plus the FanZone, can be found at www.iesa.org. Click on the Boys Basketball line in the orange box at the top of the IESA Web Site Home Page.

Here is a look at each of the four 2007 Eighth Grade State Final Tournaments:

Class 1A

Unbeaten Catlin (22-0) leads the field into the Class 1A State Final Tournament where 21 of the 103 players listed on the rosters are 5-10 or taller. Each of the eight finalists has at least one player 5-10 or taller, something that cannot be said for the field in Class 2A.

In the first game of the tournament at 10:00 a.m. Lincoln West Lincoln-Broadwell (17-3) meets Waverly (21-2). Beecher City (16-7) faces Springfield Calvary (20-5) in the second game at 11:30 a.m. Rockdale (13-4) and Ottawa Wallace (22-2) battle in the 1:00 p.m. game. In the final quarterfinal game at 2:30, Bloomington Cornerstone (14-11) meets Catlin.

Lincoln West Lincoln-Broadwell has 6-0 center Brant Coyne. Waverly will counter with 6-2 center Michael Stouffe, 5-10 forward Joey Duewer and 5-10 forward Zach Hagaman.

Beecher City has 5-10 Austin Miley at center. Springfield Calvary will rotate a front line against him that can include 5-11 forward Collin Mingo, 6-0 forward Mike Vaughn, 6-2 forward Tyler Mulhall and 6-3 center Clayton Whitlock in combination. There are only 10 players on the Calvary roster and six of them are 5-8 or taller.

Rockdale has 5-10 centers Roman Ambriz and Efren Alvarez along with 5-10 forward Brad Fulkerson. Ottawa Wallace will counter with 6-0 center Devin Hale, 5-11 center Billy Keene and 5-11 forward Kyle McLendon. Then there is 6-2 Joey Ceja at guard.

Bloomington Cornerstone's roster includes five sixth graders, three seventh graders and five eighth graders. The Cyclones can go to 6-0 sixth grader Jacob Arnold at center along with 5-9 Cody Wilson, 5-9 Aaron Kiper or 5-8 Zack Billingsley, all eighth graders. Bloomington Cornerstone started its boys basketball program in the 2002-03 school year.

Catlin will counter Cornerstone's youth with a roster composed of all eighth graders including 6-4 guard Joel Learnard, 6-0 forward Ryan Anderson, 6-0 forward David Keenan and 5-11 forward Mat Bowan. Catlin's seventh grade boys team qualified for the Class 1A state tournament, losing a heartbreaker in the quarterfinals to Lovejoy, 27-25.

The combined win-loss record of the Class 1A field is 145-34, a winning percentage of .810.

Of the 103 players listed on the eight rosters, 16 are sixth graders, 25 are seventh graders and 68 are eighth graders.

In IESA competition, school enrollments are determined by the students in seventh and eighth grade. Class 1A is the smallest class. Following are the enrollments of the Class 1A teams by size: Springfield Calvary 49, Lincoln West Lincoln-Broadwell 51, Bloomington Cornerstone 52, Rockdale 55, Beecher City 69, Waverly 69, Catlin 71 and Ottawa Wallace 73.

Class 2A

The only unbeaten remaining in Class 2A is Effingham St. Anthony (22-0). And talk about being on a roll. The school qualified both its girls teams and both its boys teams for their respective State Tournaments. The Bullpups seventh grade girls team lost in the 2A quarterfinals while the eighth grade girls team took fourth place in 2A. The seventh grade boys team also placed fourth Thursday.

Effingham St. Anthony meets Elmwood (13-10) in the second quarterfinal game at 11:30 a.m. Saturday. The opener features Ford Heights Beck (13-7) vs. Springfield Christ The King (22-2). In the third quarterfinal game, Peoria Pleasant Valley (19-1) meets Chrisman Scottland (19-3). Carthage (22-1) battles Winchester (23-3) in the last quarterfinal game at 2:30 p.m.

Ford Heights Beck three players 5-8 or taller led by 5-11 seventh grade center Bernard Esters. The Panthers also have 5-9 eighth graders Darjuan Greenwood and Tony Robinson in the post. Springfield Christ The King, a frequent state tournament qualifier, has no player taller than 5-9, but only one player shorter than 5-6 on its roster of 11 players.

Elmwood can throw a big lineup at Effingham St. Anthony. The Trojans have 5-10 Jordan Wagner at center, 5-10 Nick Almasi at forward and 5-10 Ryan Bybee at guard. St. Anthony has only one player taller than 5-7 and that is center Dial Brandon at 5-8.

Peoria Pleasant Valley has 6-1 Stephon Johnson or 5-11 Devon Batemon at center to go with 5-10 guard Donivine Stewart. Peoria Pleasant Valley lost last year's final Class 7A title game to Toluca Fieldcrest West, 50-46. In that game, 5-4 Marquise Lowe scored six points for the Panthers and Stewart poured in 43. Chrisman Scottland will counter with 6-3 center Wyatt Humrichous and 6-2 guard Cody Owen.

Perennial contender Carthage is one of the three teams in Class 2A with no player taller than 5-10. The Blueboys have three players at 5-9 - forward Ser Whitaker, forward Zach Lemley and forward Drake Schmudlach - and six others listed at 5-8. Carthage won the Class 2A boys state baseball title this past fall with many of the basketball players on that 21-0 title team. Whitaker and Schmudlach led the offense on the baseball diamond and play key roles on the basketball court.

Both Carthage and Winchester qualified their seventh grade boys basketball team for the Class 2A state tournament. Carthage lost in overtime in the quarterfinals while Winchester won the seventh grade class 2A title Thursday night. Chandlerville A-C Central beat Carthage 61-57 in the quarterfinals.

Winchester's eighth grade girls team qualified for the Class 2A state final and had an unbeaten streak of 21 stopped in the quarterfinals, 33-32, by Effingham St. Anthony. The Winchester seventh grade boys team beat St. Anthony in the Class 2A semifinals, 48-30.

Winchester has 6-2 eighth grader Adam Ala at center with 6-3 McKoye DeJaynes at forward and 5-10 Rob Harmon at forward. DeJaynes was a stalwart on the seventh grade team.

The combined win-loss record of the Class 2A field is 153-27, a winning percentage of .850.

Of the 104 players listed on the eight rosters, one is a sixth grader, 19 are seventh graders and 84 are eighth graders.

In IESA competition, school enrollments are determined by the students in seventh and eighth grade. Class 2A is the second smallest class. Following are the enrollments of the Class 2A teams by size: Chrisman Scottland 80, Peoria Pleasant Valley 95, Effingham St. Anthony 99, Springfield Christ The King 105, Elmwood 106, Winchester 119, Ford Heights Beck 126 and Carthage 131.

Class 3A

Three of the eight qualifiers in Class 3A also had teams in the seventh grade Class 3A state final as unbeaten Sumner Red Hill (25-0) heads a field that brings a combined 163-27 record into the quarterfinal round.

Qualifying teams in both the seventh and eighth grade series are Glasford Illini Bluffs, Tolono Unity and Williamsville. Glasford Illini Bluffs and Williamsville lost in the seventh grade quarterfinals. Tolono Unity took fourth place in class 3A Thursday.

Williamsville (18-4) meets Glasford Illini Bluffs (20-2) in Saturday's first quarterfinal game at 10:00 a.m. In Game 2 and 11:30, it's Bloomington Holy Trinity (24-1) vs. Auburn (19-5). Then Dwight (21-4) faces Calumet City Schrum (20-3) at 1:00 p.m. in the third game. The final quarterfinal match pits Tolono Unity (16-8) against Sumner Red Hill.

Williamsville has 6-0 Michael Grigiski and 5-10 Joe Capranica in the middle. The Bee Bees have 5-9 Tanner Schultz at forward but otherwise are not a tall team. Glasford Illini Bluffs lists six of its 15 eighth graders on the roster at 5-8 or taller. At center for the Tigers is 6-3 Nathan Scachette. Also in the post is 5-10 Tommy Robertson.

Bloomington Holy Trinity is one of the taller teams in the Class 3A field. The Saints 14-player roster of all eighth graders shows six players 5-10 or taller and only two players shorter than 5-6. Tallest of the Saints are 6-0 forward Hayden Hoerdemann and 6-0 forward Kevin Althoff. Two other forwards - Nick Jordan and Andrew Arthur are 5-10 as are centers Duncan Brady and Matt Klepec. Last year in the final Class 7A state final tournament, Hoerdemann poured in 76 points in the two games Holy Trinity played.

Auburn is even taller than Holy Trinity. The Trojans have 6-2 Ryan Graham and 6-2 Justin Seibt at center. Forwards are 5-11 Jake Angelo, 6-0 Jake Williams and 5-10 Landon Kaufman. At guard is 5-10 Michael Bates.

Another huge team is Dwight. Center is 6-4 Jens Kennedy or 6-3 Joey Norman, while 6-1 Dan Hansen and 5-10 Aaron Murphy play forward. Calumet City Schrum is taller than Dwight. The Spartans list 6-4 Romero Campbell, 6-2 Kameron Lyons and 6-0 Jamoni Ward as centers. At forward are 6-1 Dimichael Causey and 5-10 Justin Jackson. Tevin McLin is a 5-10 guard. Ward is the only seventh grader among the Calumet City Schrum big men.

Tolono Unity lists no seventh graders on its roster for this tournament. The Rockets can put together a front line that includes 6-2 Alex Ferguson, 6-1 Patrick Mannon, 6-0 Ryan McCoskey and 5-10 Austin Buhnerkemper. Of the 12 players on the roster, only 5-4 guard Lucas Rund is smaller than 5-6.

Sumner Red Hill has the tallest overall team. The Salukis list 12 eighth graders on their roster and none is shorter than 5-6. Sumner Red Hill has 6-2 Jessie Angle and 6-0 Robert Young at center.

The combined win-loss record of the Class 3A field is 163-27, a winning percentage of .858.

Of the 109 players listed on the eight rosters, one is a sixth grader, 4 are seventh graders and 104 are eighth graders.

In IESA competition, school enrollments are determined by the students in seventh and eighth grade. Class 3A is the second largest class. Following are the enrollments of the Class 3A teams by size: Bloomington Holy Trinity 143, Glasford Illini Bluffs 150, Dwight 153, Sumner Red Hill 160, Auburn 179, Tolono Unity 213, Williamsville 218 and Calumet City Schrum 224.

Class 4A

East St. Louis Lincoln brings a 24-0 record and a gigantic team into the Class 4A quarterfinals Saturday and rates as the favorite.

The tournament opens with Springfield Grant (22-1) facing Markham Prairie-Hills (17-7) at 10:00 a.m. Then Danville North Ridge (20-3) battles East St. Louis Lincoln at 11:30 in Game No. 2. Channahon (20-5) meets East Peoria Central (21-4) at 1:00 p.m. the last quarterfinal game matches Woodridge Jefferson (12-2) against Bourbonnais UGC (24-1).

Springfield Grant has 6-0 Kendall Murdock at center and 5-10 Emory Woodson at forward and will be at a height disadvantage against Markham Prairie-Hills, which lists six players at 5-10 or taller. Markham Prairie-Hills has 6-0 Deanangelo Crayton and 5-11 Terence Mitchell at center. Forwards include 5-10 Adonis Filer, 5-10 Steve White, 5-10 Deshawn Galvin and 6-0 Thornton Kadeem.

The seventh grade team from Danville North Ridge placed second in class 4A Thursday and none of the players on that team are listed on the eighth grade roster, which is composed of 15 eighth graders. Five of the 15 are 5-10 or taller. They are 5-10 centers Titus Bibb and Justin March, 6-1 forward Joey Robinson, 5-10 forward Jared Patterson and 5-10 guard Jovon Shaw. The Danville North Ridge seventh grade team handed East St. Louis Lincoln's seventh grade team its first loss of the year in the Class 4A semifinals last Saturday.

East St. Louis Lincoln's seventh grade team finished fourth Thursday for third place in Class 4A and five players on the seventh grade team are on the roster for the eighth grade tournament. They are guards Brandon Johnson and Demarcus Spraggins, forwards Devonte Hodges and Marvin Gilmore and center Demarcus Lee. Coach Terrall Herring Sr. has nine players on the 15-player squad at 5-10 or taller. At 6-0 are forward Kenneth McCaster, center Nehemiah Greenlee, center Shaviny Snow and Demarcus Lee. At 5-11 are forward Vinson Arterbridge and Marvin Gilmore. The 5-10 group includes seventh grader Richard Jones, forward Demarcus Greene and Devonte Hodges.

Channahon and East Peoria Central match up in height. Channahon has 6-3 John Savickas and 6-1 John Meade at center, 6-0 forward Parker Parzych and 5-10 forward Ryan Bernickus for the front line. East Peoria Central can counter with 5-10 forward Chris Neelly, 6-1 Robbie Rogers, 5-10 guard James Peterson, 6-0 Joey Schartman, 6-3 center Dylan Sparkman, 5-11 Bryson Stewart and 5-10 Austin Brown. The Wildcats also have 5-9 guard Joe Kelch, a do everything kind of player. East Peoria Central took second in the Class 3A Boys Baseball State Tournament this past fall with Kelch, Rogers and Neelly the hitting and pitching standouts for the Wildcats.

Woodridge Jefferson lists five centers on its roster and four of them are 6-2 or taller. Tyler Mason is at 6-4, Miguel Hernandez and Kevin Triplett are at 6-3, D. J. Cieniawa is at 6-2 and Vlad Orlov is 5-10. Of the 15 players on the roster, all but 5-3 guard Justin Smikoski and 5-5 guard Tyler Davis are 5-6 or taller.

Bourbonnais UGC lists seven of the 13 players on its roster at 5-10 or taller and only one - guard Luke Habeeb - is shorter than 5-7. The Tigers have 6-2 Kamil Matejewski, 6-2 Austin Halcomb and 5-11 Joe Gordon at center. The forwards are 5-10 Connor Hove, 6-0 Cody Samuelson and 5-10 Paddy Rooney. Austin Chinn is a 6-0 guard.

The combined win-loss record of the Class 4A field is 160-23, a winning percentage of .874.

Of the 113 players listed on the eight rosters, 11 are seventh graders and 102 are eighth graders.

In IESA competition, school enrollments are determined by the students in seventh and eighth grade. Class 4A is the largest class. Following are the enrollments of the Class 4A teams by size: Channahon 353, East Peoria Central 417, Springfield Grant 484, Danville North Ridge 524, East St. Louis Lincoln 536, Bourbonnais UGC 583, Woodridge Jefferson 644 and Markham Prairie-Hills 656.



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