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2008 IESA 8th Grade Girls Basketball State Tournaments Begin Saturday

For the second straight week the Illinois Elementary School Association (IESA) will crown four girls basketball champions, this time in the eighth grade state series. Competition in the Class 1A, Class 2A, Class 3A and Class 4A State Final Tournaments begins Saturday (Dec. 13) and concludes the following Thursday (Dec. 18) at four sites. This is the third year of IESA four-class girls basketball.

Class 1A will be hosted by Auburn JHS at Divernon and played at the gym in Divernon. Class 2A will be hosted by Clinton Junior High School. Monticello Junior High School hosts Class 3A. Normal Parkside Junior High School will be the site of Class 4A.

Four schools advanced their eighth grade team to the state tournament while their seventh grade team played in this week's tournaments. Those schools qualifying teams to both state finals were Marseilles Milton Pope and Springfield Christian in Class 1A and Frankfort Summit Hill and Matteson Colin Powell in 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.

The four quarterfinal winners will meet in semifinal games late Saturday afternoon with the first of two games set to begin at 5:00 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 girls basketball began in 1979. There was one-class competition from 1979-86, and in 1986 separate state series were conducted for seventh graders and eighth graders for the first time. From 1990-2005 there were Class A and Class AA state series for both seventh grade and eighth grade.

Beginning in 2006, the seventh grade and eighth grade series have four classes each.

Complete pairings for each state final, plus the FanZone, can be found at www.iesa.org. Click on the Girls 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 2008 Eighth Grade State Final Tournaments:

Class 1A

There are four schools with more than 20 wins in the Class 1A field, and two others with 19 wins. The combined won-loss record of the field is 160-25, a winning percentage of .865.

Buckley St. John's (21-1) meets Washington St. Patrick (17-4) in the first quarterfinal game Saturday at 10:00 a.m. Decatur St. Patrick (23-2) meets Gardner (16-9) in the second game at 11:30 a.m. Then Effingham Sacred heart (22-2) plays Jacksonville Our Saviour (23-1) in the third game at 1:00 p.m. In the final quarterfinal game, Springfield Christian (19-2) plays Marseilles Milton Pope (19-4) at 2:30 p.m.

Buckley St. John's is led by 5-6 center Kayla Cowan. A trio of guards - 5-4 Kortnie Schroeder, 5-4 Kandace Hofer and 5-0 Andrea Debella - compliments Cowan. The Eagles split regular season one-point games with the Crescent City-Milford St. Paul's co-op, and then took a 32-19 win in the regional title game.

Washington St. Patrick has the tallest player in the Class 1A tournament in 6-1 center Lindsey Watson. The only other player on the roster taller than 5-4 is 5-5 forward Ally Deiters. The Irish have blown pas three state series opponents by a combined score of 141-63.

Decatur St. Patrick has only eight players on the roster. Tallest players on the team are 5-7 eighth grader Sage Davis and 5-7 seventh grader Morgan Leckrone. The Eagles beat Champaign Judah Christian 32-20 in the sectional.

Gardner was second-seeded in the regional and stopped No. 1 seed Kankakee Aquinas 26-13 in the regional finale. Then the Tigers dumped Rockdale 27-8 in the sectional. Coach Jenelle Biros has only seven players on the roster. Tallest Tiger is 5-4 forward Taylor Daniels.

Effingham Sacred Heart has four sixth graders, three seventh graders and five eighth graders on the roster. The Shamrocks have 5-8 seventh grader Hope Moore at guard and she is the tallest player on the team. Sacred Heart got past Dieterich in a slow down game 18-14 after blowing past a pair of regional opponents by a combined score of 82-29.

Perennial power Jacksonville Our Saviour has lost only to Class 3A state qualifier New Berlin JHS. Our Saviour won last year's seventh grade Class 1A title. This year the Shamrocks have 5-5 Alyssa Garde and 5-0 Natalie Halpin at guard, and 5-4 Rachel Langdon at forward who key a seven-deep rotation.

Our Saviour has outscored its three state series opponents 156-42, including a 56-12 win over Augusta Southeastern in the sectional.

Springfield Christian and Marseilles Milton Pope met in the fourth quarterfinal game of this year's seventh grade Class 1A state tournament last Saturday (Dec. 6) and Springfield Christian won 23-22 in overtime.

Springfield Christian played Gifford Thursday (Dec. 11) for the Class 1A title.

Marseilles Milton Pope's eighth grade team includes three players from the seventh grade team that scored 20 points last Saturday against Springfield Christian. Forward Emily Watts scored 11, center Alexa Myre 3 and guard Cassidy Rice 6. The Pilots, however, have 5-11 Nicole Pihl and 5-11 Aspen Stuedemann in the post and 5-8 guard Mady Toynton to bolster the lineup.

Springfield Christian, on the other hand, has two seventh graders who provided 18 points against Milton Pope in the seventh grade overtime win.

Standout 5-11 center Mel Bremhorst scored 16 points in the seventh grade quarterfinal game and 5-3 guard Kate Varner added 2. The Wildcats have 5-9 Mauri Wilhelm, 5-8 Emma Berry and 5-6 Maya Hines at forward with 5-6 Morgan Throop to counter Milton Pope's height.

Marseilles Milton Pope nipped Ottawa St. Columba 22-21 to win the sectional while Springfield Christian stopped East St. Louis Jackson 46-30.

Of the 79 players listed on the rosters of the finalists, 5 are sixth graders, 15 are seventh graders and 59 are eighth graders.

In IESA competition, school enrollments are determined by the students in seventh and eighth grade. Class 8-1A is the smallest class. Enrollments of the eight finalists are: Buckley St. John's 13, Effingham Sacred Heart 31, Washington St. Patrick 38, Decatur St. Patrick 55, Marseilles Milton Pope 62, Springfield Christian 73, Jacksonville Our Saviour 73 and Gardner 77.

Class 2A

The Class 2A state tournament has been a rugged one the previous two years, and this year's tournament shapes up as another wide open one. The eight teams have a combined won-loss record of 152-26, a wining percentage of .853.

Mendon Unity (23-2) plays Peoria Christian (14-6) in the first quarterfinal game at 10:00 a.m. Then Cowden-Herrick (21-3) battles Kincaid South Fork (17-2) at 11:30 a.m. In the third game, Milford (14-6) meets Champaign St. Matthew (22-2) at 1:00 p.m. Heyworth (24-1) and Sumner Red Hill (17-4) square off in the last quarterfinal game at 2:30 p.m.

Mendon Unity's only losses were to bigger schools, Pittsfield Pikeland and Quincy JHS. The Colts are one of the tallest teams in the field and gear things around 5-7 forward Brooklyn Moore, 5-7 guard Breanne Begeman and 5-2 guard Jill Donley. They also have 5-8 seventh grade center Samantha Brackensick, 5-7 center Shelby Hilgenbrinck, 5-7 forward Deb Blickhan, 5-7 forward Libby Beers and 5-7 forward Megan Anderson.

Peoria Christian has only eight players on the roster with one sixth grader (5-4 Jesse Ulrich), one seventh grader (5-4 Taylor Myroth) and eighth graders Hannah Miller, Abbey Berger, Alisha Mahasi, Krianna Oswald, Christine Andreasen and Shelby Nicholson. Berger is 5-1, Mahasi is 5-5 and the rest are all 5-4.

Cowden-Herrick has 6-2 center Micah Jones and five on the nine players on the roster are 5-6 or taller. The Hornets outscored their regional opponents by a 70-38 margin before stopping Jerseyville St. Francis HG 32-24 in the sectional.

Second-seeded in the regional, Kincaid South Fork blew past its two regional opponents by a 98-43 combined point margin, including a 44-32 win over No. 1 seed Mt. Pulaski in the regional final. South Fork then hammered Springfield Christ The King 51-34 in the sectional. There are only nine players (2 sixth graders and 6 eighth graders) on the roster and seven of them are 5-7 or taller. Tallest is 5-8 eighth grade guard Madison Merano.

Of the 13 players on the Milford roster, only two are taller than 5-3. Madison Leclair is a 5-4 eighth grade forward and 5-4 Cornisha Allen is a 5-4 seventh grade center. The state series victory margins for the Bats have been 41, 12, and 12. They stopped Herscher JHS 33-21 in the sectional.

Champaign St. Matthew has seven players on the roster 5-5 or taller. The Raiders have 5-9 eighth graders Erica Wallen and Sarah Bullock at center, with 5-7 Brianna Musgrove at forward. St. Matthew nipped Villa Grove 25-23 for the sectional title.

Heyworth is led by 5-8 center Ashley Hoegger and uses the board work of 5-8 forward Nicole Bonnell and 5-9 guard Kaley Lobb to contain its opponents.

The Hornets' only loss in the regular season was to Bloomington Holy Trinity and they avenged that in the title game of the Sangamon Valley Conference Tournament. Heyworth was second seeded in the regional and held Sparland Midland to 10 points in a 20-10 sectional win.

Sumner Red Hill has four players at 5-7 including guards Taylor Paulin and Tori Paulin. The Salukis stopped Effingham St. Anthony in the sectional game 30-25 after taking both regional games by a combined score of 80-43.

Of the 84 players listed on the rosters of the finalists, 3 are sixth graders, 14 are seventh graders and 67 are eighth graders.

In IESA competition, school enrollments are determined by the students in seventh and eighth grade. Class 8-2A is the second smallest class.

Enrollments of the eight finalists are: Cowden-Herrick 83, Champaign St. Matthew 92, Mendon Unity 106, Kincaid South Fork 111, Milford 112, Heyworth 139, Peoria Christian 139 and Sumner Red Hill 140.

Class 3A

Three of the eight teams in the Class 3A field are unbeaten, all in the lower bracket, and the combined won-loss record for the group is a sizzling 150-21, an .877 wining percentage.

Hillsboro (16-7) meets St. Joseph (20-3) in the first quarterfinal game Saturday at 10:00 a.m. South Holland McKinley (12-1) plays Gibson City GCMS (18-5) in the second game at 11:30 a.m. At 1:00 p.m. Paris Mayo (25-0) goes against Mossville (17-5). Then Metamora GS (18-0) squares off against New Berlin JHS (24-0) at 2:30 p.m.

Hillsboro has 6-8 eighth grader Jayde Sharp at guard. The second-seeded Dragons edged Auburn JHS at Divernon 28-25 in the sectional after beating top seed Staunton 31-23 in the regional final.

St. Joseph has only one player taller than 5-5 and that is 5-6 center Delaine Florey. The Panthers have outscored their three state series foes 114-58.

South Holland McKinley used a 7-player rotation and the only time the Monarchs lost was to Calumet City Schrum in the regular season. But McKinley won two of three games against Schrum, winning the first regular season game by one point, losing the second by one point and taking the regional title game. The Monarchs use a three-guard offense that includes 5-1 point guard Arielle Miree and shooters Taylor Banks and Ashley Hogan. On the wing is 5-7 Aliyah Owens and 6-1 Melva Smith is in the post.

Gibson City GCMS will try to counter McKinley's height with 5-10 center Kayla O'Neal, 5-8 forward Katie Massey and 5-8 center Jordan Nagle. The Falcons stopped Dwight 37-19 in the sectional.

The core of the Paris Mayo juggernaut has been together since the fourth grade. Last year the team lost for the only time in the seventh grade Class 3A title game to unbeaten Eureka, 32-24, finishing the season at 26-1. The Redbirds use a 6-player starting rotation. Five players who scored for Paris Mayo in last year's title game are 5-6 guard Ashlee Sinclair, 5-5 Jessica Hopper, 5-7 Megan Temples, 6-1 center Cayla Hoffman and 5-8 forward Laura Baty.

Mossville could be the sleeper in the field. The Warriors have 5-10 Brooke Rudolph in the post. The Warriors tripped Chillicothe 22-19 to win the regional and stopped sectional host Farmington Central 27-21.

Metamora GS may very well be the little team that could with the tallest player being 5-8 guard Kyler Samp. Coach Mike Brockhouse rotates his starters and Samp, 5-3 guard Erica Phillips, 5-6 forward Jordan Brockhouse and 5-3 guard Kaitlyn Hartnett log much of the playing time. The Redbirds have an offense that scored 47 and 45 points in the regional. It produced a 34-20 win over Peru Washington in the sectional.

New Berlin JHS returns most of its seventh grade team that lost to Havana last year. The Pretzels can throw a monster front line at opponents. The starters include 6-2 Amber Kloppe in the post, 5-10 Sydney Timmons at forward, 5-7 Josie Mutch at forward, 5-3 Morgan Nevius at guard and 5-0 Brett Simpson at guard. Coming off the bench is 5-11 Marleigh Thompson. New Berlin JHS beat traditional powers Williamsville, Pleasant Plains and Pittsfield Pikeland to earn a trip to the state tournament.

Of the 95 players listed on the rosters of the finalists, 1 is a sixth grader, 15 are seventh graders and 79 are eighth graders.

In IESA competition, school enrollments are determined by the students in seventh and eighth grade. Class 8-3A is the second largest class.

Enrollments of the eight finalists are: Mossville 164, Gibson City GCMS 176, St. Joseph 187, Paris Mayo 202, Metamora GS 214, New Berlin JHS 243, South Holland McKinley 278 and Hillsboro 285.

Class 4A

There are a lot of familiar girls basketball faces in the Class 4A field including Cahokia Wirth and Shorewood Troy, returnees from last year. The combined won-loss record of the field is 154-25, a winning percentage of .860. Champaign Jefferson (25-0) is the only unbeaten team.

Champaign Jefferson battles Normal Parkside (17-5) in the first quarterfinal game Saturday at 10:00 a.m. Matteson Colin Powell (14-2) plays Springfield Franklin (21-1) in the second game at 11:30 a.m. Cahokia Wirth (23-2) and Frankfort Summit Hill (22-2) square off at 1:00 p.m. Then Bolingbrook Brooks (14-9) meets Shorewood Troy (18-4) at 2:30 p.m.

Champaign Jefferson hosted Normal Parkside in a regular season and won the game. This time the home court advantage will be in Parkside's favor.

Chelsea Cross, a 5-11 post player, anchors the four-guard offense run by Champaign Jefferson. Receiving much of the playing time at the guard spots are 5-3 Katelyn Martinez, 5-4 Chantel Meacham, 5-3 Dagney Olson and 5-4 Stacia Simmons. The Jaguars have 5-11 center Libby Cocagne if they need more height.

Normal Parkside has only four players taller than 5-5. They are 5-8 forward Kayla Monsanto, 5-6 forward Danica Klein, 5-8 forward Desiree Evans and 5-8 center Jamie Loving.

Matteson Colin Powell has only four players taller than 5-5 but the Eagles have outscored their three state series opponents 127-58. Tallest player is 5-10 center Lauren Stewart.

Springfield Franklin brings most of last year's unbeaten seventh grade Class 4A team to this year's eighth grade 4A state final. The Falcons went 23-0 last year. Their only loss this year was to Taylorville. Coach Lex Bitner uses a seven-player rotation. Starters are 5-4 point guard Sloane Chapman, 5-7 guard Justice Collins, 5-8 guard Ashton Williams, 5-7 forward Morgan Ceja and 6-0 forward Meghan Fetter.

In last year's seventh grade Class 4A quarterfinals Springfield Franklin stopped Champaign Jefferson, 33-22, in one of the most pressure-packed games in girls basketball history. Franklin pulled away in the second half for the win. The players are bigger this year.

Cahokia Wirth has seven players 5-7 or taller including 6-0 forward Emmonnie Henderson, last year's IESA seventh grade Class AA state track and field champion in the shot put, setting the state record. The Warriors beat Edwardsville Liberty 26-16 in the sectional.

Frankfort Summit Hill took third place in the seventh grade Class 4A tournament last year with much of the same cast. The Spartans have 6-0 Sarah Phillips at center along with 5-10 Danielle Todd. Seeded second in the regional, the Spartans have outscored three state series opponents 99-55, limiting two of the three to 16 points.

Bolingbrook Brooks has 5-10 Jackie Oliver at center with 5-8 Kayla Etherton at forward and 5-9 guard Ciara Hill. The Bulldogs have come on strong at the right time of the year. They beat Bolingbrook Jane Addams 29-14 and Bellwood Roosevelt 37-27 in the regional before taking out Romeoville Martinez 27-23 in the sectional.

Shorewood Troy is making its second straight trip to the Class 4A state final. Last year the Trojans lost to eventual state champion Quincy JHS in the quarterfinals. Shorewood Troy does not have the height inside that most of the other teams in the field do. The tallest players are 5-8 center Aaliyah Stepney and 5-8 Sarah Bonfiglio.

Of the 99 players listed on the rosters of the finalists, there are 2 sixth graders, 5 seventh graders and 92 are eighth graders.

In IESA competition, school enrollments are determined by the students in seventh and eighth grade. Class 8-3A is the second largest class.

Enrollments of the eight finalists are: Champaign Jefferson 449, Springfield Franklin 542, Matteson Colin Powell 552, Cahokia Wirth 604, Normal Parkside 652, Frankfort Summit Hill 834 and Bolingbrook Brooks 871.



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