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2010 Eighth Grade Boys Basketball State Finals Begin Saturday

Four champions in Illinois Elementary School Association (IESA) eighth grade boys basketball will be crowned for the fourth time in history, beginning Saturday (Feb. 13) at four sites. Competition in the Class 1A, Class 2A, Class 3A and Class 4A State Final Tournaments begins Saturday and concludes Thursday (Feb. 18).

Class 1A will be played at Pontiac High School and hosted by Sandmen. Wenonah Fieldcrest Middle School will host Class 2A. Class 3A will be at Monticello Middle School. Morton Junior High will host Class 4A at Morton High School.

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 afternoon with the first of two games set to begin at 5:00 p.m. Third place and championship games will be played Thursday (Feb. 18) with the third place game set for 6:00 p.m. and the championship game scheduled for 7:30.

Any changes in the playing status of each of the four tournaments will be posted on the IESA Web Site at www.iesa.org as each tournament progresses.

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 that respective state final site only throughout the day. It will not be honored at any other 8th grade state final site. 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. Beginning in 2007, 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 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 2010 Eighth Grade State Final Tournaments:

Class 1A

Five of the eight finalists have been determined thus far and three sectional games are scheduled to be played Thursday (Feb. 11). Joliet Laraway, appearing for the third straight year in the eighth grade Class 1A state tournament, had its seventh grade team playing for the 2010 Class 1A title Thursday, too.

Griggsville-Perry (22-1) meets Peoria Limestone Walters (24-1) in the first quarterfinal game at 10:00 a.m. Saturday. Oglesby Holy Family (22-2) will play the winner of Sectional 8 (either 7-11 East St. Louis Jackson or 17-3 Kincaid South Fork) at 11:30 a.m. Joliet Laraway (24-2) will play the winner of Sectional 5 (either 19-5 Decatur Robertson or 12-4 Lincoln Chester-East Lincoln) at 1:00 p.m. Newton St. Thomas (17-3) battles the winner of Sectional 4 (either 19-6 Gifford or 11-13 Royal Prairieview Ogden) at 2:30 p.m.

The upper bracket winners meet at 5:00 p.m. Saturday in the first semifinal game and the lower bracket winners meet at 6:30 p.m. The third place game will be played at 6:00 p.m. Thursday (Feb. 18) and the championship game will be at 7:30 p.m. Thursday.

Griggsville-Perry handed perennial contender Jacksonville Our Savior its fifth loss in 25 games in taking the sectional 38-24. The Eagles are averaging 41 points a game in three state series contests, while giving up an average of 26. Center Levi King is the tallest player on the team at 6-2.

Perennial Class 1A contender Peoria Limestone Walters, runner-up last year in seventh grade Class 1A to Joliet Laraway, is averaging 51.5 points per game in four state series contests and has outscored those four foes by a combined 217-139. Four of the 11 players on the roster are taller than 5-6. They are 5-11 forward Connor Peacock, 5-9 center Trey Barnes, 5-9 center Greg White and 5-9 forward Chase Stroud.

Oglesby Holy Family's 10-player roster includes 8 players 5-7 or taller, including 6-2 center Aaron Wood, 6-1 center Michael Bellino and 5-11 guard Ethan Duttlinger. The Crusaders have outscored three state series opponents 143-101, hitting 59 points in the sectional win over Ransom.

East St. Louis Jackson has 6-1 seventh grader Lester Cotton and 5-10 Romeion Moore at center. The Jets were seeded No. 6 in the regional and won three games by 15, 25 and 7 points.

Kincaid South Fork has only eight players on the roster. Tallest is 6-0 center Steven Schmidt. The Ponies were seeded No. 2 in the regional and beat Springfield Christian 30-27 and No. 1 Springfield Calvary 36-29 to advance to the sectional.

Joliet Laraway finished third in eighth grade Class 1A in 2008 and 2009. This year's eight grade team won last year's seventh grade Class 1A state tournament and has six players from it on this year's team. They are 5-0 guard Jaylen Norris, 5-7 forward Sherron Brooks, 5-6 guard Tavon White, 5-9 guard Jonah Coble, 5-5 guard Clifford McCullum and 5-7 center Devon Smith. In last year's 7-1A state final, Sherron Brooks scored 24 points, Tavon White 19, Jonah Coble 16, Clifford McCullum 3 and Devon Smith 29. Joliet Laraway has outscored three state series opponents by a combined 156-79.

Decatur Robertson exploded for a pair of wins in the regional scoring 113 points while allowing 71. Tallest players are 5-11 center Mitchell Coverstone and 5-11 forward Devon Howard. Seventh grade center Alvin Brown is 5-10.

Lincoln Chester-East Lincoln has a trio of 6-0 players in centers Ryan Hedrick and Jabari Portis and forward Sam Pegram.

Newton St. Thomas has a roster of 13 players, seven of them sixth graders, 4 seventh graders and a pair of eighth graders. The eighth graders are 6-0 forward Lucas Huston and 6-0 forward Lucas Stone. Seventh grade center Quentin Huston is 5-10. The Saints have scored 51-61-46 points in three state series games.

Gifford has 10 players on the roster, 2 sixth graders, 1 seventh grader and 7 eighth graders. Four of the Eagles are 5-9 and the tallest players on the team. They are forwards Hunter Adkins, Alex Vermillion, Shane Starkey and Matt Schluter. Gifford was the No. 2 seed in the regional.

Royal Prairieview Ogden has five players 5-10 or taller. They are 6-1 center Nick Barnes, 5-11 forwards Dalton Smith and Ty Poole, 5-10 center Jacob Bouy and 5-10 seventh grade guard Tyler Harms.

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 remaining in the state series: Newton St. Thomas 27, Oglesby Holy Family 36, East St. Louis Jackson 44, Peoria Limestone Walters 44, Gifford 53, Decatur Robertson 54, Lincoln Chester-East Lincoln 58, Griggsville-Perry 59, Kincaid South Fork 60, Joliet Laraway 67 and Royal Prairieview Ogden 68.

Class 2A

Twenty-three of the 103 players listed on the rosters of the eight state tournament teams stand 5-10 or taller and what happens underneath the basket appears to be a huge factor in determining the Class 2A state champion.

Liberty (21-3) plays Elmwood (15-9) in the first quarterfinal game at 10:00 a.m. Then Greenfield (20-4) battles Champaign Holy Cross (21-4) at 11:30 a.m. Kankakee Aquinas (18-4) meets Springfield Christ The King (19-5) at 1:00 p.m. Perennial contenders Normal Epiphany (23-1) and Effingham St. Anthony (17-7) square off in the last quarterfinal game at 2:30 p.m.

The upper bracket winners meet at 5:00 p.m. Saturday in the first semifinal game and the lower bracket winners meet at 6:30 p.m. The third place game will be played at 6:00 p.m. Thursday (Feb. 18) and the championship game will be at 7:30 p.m. Thursday.

Liberty's centers are 6-0 Connor Klingele and 5-11 Kody Graham, both seventh graders. The Eagles are making their first trip to the state tournament and have outscored three state series foes by a combined 121-70. Their smallest margin of victory was in the regional semifinals against Carthage, a 41-27 win.

Elmwood's seventh grade team played Thursday for the 2010 Class 2A championship. The only seventh grader of the eighth grade roster is 4-11 guard Tommy Ramsay. Elmwood's tallest player is 6-1 guard Nick Groeper.

Greenfield has only 10 players on the roster and the tallest if 5-10 center Mark Jennings. The Tigers escaped Roodhouse North Greene 28-23 in the regional title game and then they got past perennial contender Nokomis JHS by 12 in the sectional.

Champaign Holy Cross has won three state series games by 5, 3 and 6 points. The Crusaders have 6-2 Christopher Caulfield at forward, 6-0 Austin Tabeling at center and 5-10 Patrick Kearney at center. Guards Storm Joop and Sean Sullivan are both 5-9 and guard Mike Plecki is 5-8.

Kankakee Aquinas was the No. 3 seed in the regional and beat No. 2 Ford Heights Cottage Grove UGC 50-36 in the semifinals and No. 1 seed Bourbonnais St. George 36-32 in the finals before stopping Onarga Iroquois West 28-14 in the sectional. The Saints only have nine players on the roster including 6-0 forward Jared Marcotte, 5-10 forward Lucas Arseneau and 5-10 forward Zeb Rashenskas. Guard Christian Taborn in 5-9.

The tallest team in the Class 2A field is Springfield Christ The King. The Cougars have 6-4 Dominic Aiello and 6-1 Kegan Hamilton at center, 6-0 Stephen Satore and 6-0 Christopher Smith and 5-10 Nolan Aherin at forward. Cory Mason is a 5-9 guard. Springfield Christ The King's seventh grade team played Thursday for third place in Class 2A and none of those players are on the eighth grade team. Seeded No. 2 in the regional, the Cougars stopped No. 3 Springfield Blessed Sacrament 48-45 in the semifinals and then No. 1 seed Virginia 40-33 in the finals before handling Decatur Johns Hill 49-36 in the sectional.

Normal Epiphany has won its three state series games by margins of 21, 8 and 11 points. Underneath for the Knights are 5-10 centers Jake Wolf, Joe Craven and Brian Eakle.

Effingham St. Anthony is averaging 48 points per game and is giving up 34 points per game against a trio of state series opponents. Size is provided for the Bullpups from 6-1 center John Goeckner, 5-11 center Eli Dasenbrock, 5-10 forward Alex Hoelscher and 5-10 guard Neil Williams.

The combined win-loss record of the Class 2A field is 154-37, a winning percentage of .806.

Of the 103 players listed on the eight rosters, 10 are seventh graders and 93 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: Kankakee Aquinas 74, Effingham St. Anthony 78, Greenfield 81, Normal Epiphany 94, Champaign Holy Cross 86, Liberty 98, Elmwood 99 and Springfield Christ The King 110.

Class 3A

Unbeaten St. Joseph, Casey-Westfield and Litchfield head a Class 3A field of eight teams with a combined win-loss record of 168-18, a sizzling winning percentage of .903. Every team in the field has at least 21 wins except Pleasant Plains (13-10).

Two teams that lost in the eighth grade Class 3A quarterfinals last year meet one another in the opening quarterfinal game at 10:00 a.m. Monmouth-Roseville JHS (21-1) plays Lincoln JHS (22-3) in that one. At 11:30 a.m., unbeaten St. Joseph (24-0) plays South Holland McKinley (21-2). Unbeaten Casey-Westfield (25-0) battles Eureka (21-2) in the third quarterfinal game at 1:00 p.m. Pleasant Plains meets unbeaten Litchfield (21-0) at 2:30 p.m.

The upper bracket winners meet at 5:00 p.m. Saturday in the first semifinal game and the lower bracket winners meet at 6:30 p.m. The third place game will be played at 6:00 p.m. Thursday (Feb. 18) and the championship game will be at 7:30 p.m. Thursday.

Monmouth-Roseville JHS has five players 5-10 or taller led by 6-3 center Trayvon Smith. At 5-10 are center Cesar Perez and forwards Dalton Hottle, Junior Godina and Jacob Winebright. Guard Martel Hunter is 5-9. The Titans are averaging 42 points per game in three state series contests and are giving up an average of 28. They gave Dunlap Valley MS its 4th loss in 22 games by a 34-26 margin in the sectional.

Lincoln JHS has outscored three state series opponents 119-68. The Trojans have five players 5-10 or taller. They are 6-1 forward Josh Varboncoeur, 6-0 forward Richard Coit, 6-0 guard Max Cook, 5-11 forward Austin Krusz and 5-10 forward Wes White. Bobby Dunovsky is a 5-9 guard.

St. Joseph has rolled past three state series foes by a combined 149-69. The Panthers pounded then 19-4 and a perennial contender Paxton-Buckley-Loda, 45-25, in the sectional. Center Derek Lambert is 6-2, center Brent Schluter is 6-0, forward Dalton Walsh is 5-11 and forward Hunter Hart is 5-10. Guard Jake Stewart is 5-9.

South Holland McKinley has a high-powered offense and is averaging 51 points per game while giving up an average of 37 to three state series foes. The Monarchs have 6-1 Spencer Dunn at center, 5-11 Christian Scott at forward, with 5-10 Lewis Sockwell at forward, 5-10 Damerius Johnson at center, and 5-10 Kelvin Dorsey at guard. Davon Smith is a 5-8 guard.

Casey-Westfield has 6-2 Brandon Wolfe at guard, 6-0 Zack Murphy at forward, 5-10 Colton Sewell and 5-10 Jordan Brandenburg at forward with 5-8 Jacob Sexton at guard. The Braves are another team averaging 50 points a game in three state series contests and have outscored their opponents 151-76. They gave Teutopolis its second loss in 25 games in the sectional, 49-33.

Eureka stopped 20-3 Washington Central 32-30 in the sectional to advance to the state tournament. The Hornets have 6-3 Kent Hinrichsen, 5-11 Dylan Troyer and 5-10 Josh Myers listed as centers. Tate Taufer is a 5-11 guard and Phil Schmidgall is a 5-10 forward.

Pleasant Plains has allowed three state series opponents only a combined 66 points while scoring 118. The Redbirds have 6-2 Devon Sabo at center, 6-0 Bryce Anderson at center, 6-0 Walker Miller at forward, 5-11 Drew Leverton at forward and 5-10 Taylor Kaufmann at forward. Guards Ryan O'Donnell and T.J. Long are 5-8.

Nine of the 15 players on the Litchfield roster are 5-8 or taller. Forward Ryan Krabbe is the tallest at 6-0. At 5-11 are forwards Austin Bryant and Ryne Elvers. Forward Joseph Moore is 5-10. The Panther Cubs overwhelmed their regional opponents by a combined 111-47 and then got by always tough Madison 43-42 in the sectional.

Of the 115 players listed on the eight rosters, 12 are seventh graders and 103 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: Casey-Westfield 164, St. Joseph 209, Litchfield 230, Eureka 243, Monmouth-Roseville JHS 244, Pleasant Plains 244, South Holland McKinley 263 and Lincoln JHS 268.

Class 4A

This year's Class 4A tournament has all the earmarks of one that again will "separate the men from the boys" as they say in the long standing sports cliché. Six of the eight finalists have earned their spot in the field and the remaining two are scheduled to be determined Thursday (Feb. 11).

The tournament's first quarterfinal game Saturday at 10:00 a.m. matches unbeaten heavyweights Bolingbrook Jane Addams (20-0) and Springfield Grant (24-0). Their seventh grade teams played Thursday night in the boys Class 4A third place game. The winner of Sectional 2 (19-5 Sauk Village Rickover or 13-8 University Park Crete Monee) plays Coal City (18-7) at 11:30 a.m. Alton (18-3) battles Frankfort Summit Hill (24-1) at 1:00 p.m. Then Normal Kingsley (17-7) meets the winner of Sectional 6 (21-3 Monticello or 12-8 Champaign Franklin) at 2:30 p.m.

The upper bracket winners meet at 5:00 p.m. Saturday in the first semifinal game and the lower bracket winners meet at 6:30 p.m. The third place game will be played at 6:00 p.m. Thursday (Feb. 18) and the championship game will be at 7:30 p.m. Thursday.

Bolingbrook Jane Addams has two members of the seventh grade team on the roster, 5-9 forward Prentiss Nixon and 5-8 guard Brodrick Thomas. In the paint the Mustangs have 6-3 Marcus Yarbrough with 6-1 Kenneth Williams at center, 5-10 Jonathan Lubonza at forward and 5-10 Demetrius Williams at center. The Mustangs have scored 171 points in three state series games, but have given up 147.

Springfield Grant also has two seventh graders on the roster, 5-4 guard Jordan Tribbet and 5-6 guard Dante Womack. The Generals have 6-4 Scottie Wallace at center with 6-0 guards Malik Turner and Larry Austin, Jr. Springfield Grant has scored 50, 53 and 67 points in three state series games and has given up 21, 38 and 21. The 46-point win over Taylorville JHS in the sectional was a stunner.

Sauk Valley Rickover has three centers taller than 6-0. They are 6-1 Nick Johnson, 6-1 Harold Scott and 6-2 Chris Thomas. University Park Crete Monee has 6-2 center Raman Smith with 10 other players 5-8 or taller.

Coal City has only three players shorter than 5-7 on its 13-player roster. The Warriors have 6-1 forward Nick Peters and 6-0 center Lane Cowherd underneath. Coal City was seeded No. 4 in the regional and beat No. 5 Braidwood Reed-Custer 33-25 in the quarterfinals, No. 1 Shorewood Troy 40-34 in the semifinals and No. 2 Minooka 48-31 in the finals. In the sectional, Coal City stopped Ottawa Shepherd 41-24.

Alton may be the shortest team in Class 4A but the Junior Redbirds can light up the scoreboard. In the regional they scored 60 points in the semifinals and 59 in the title game. In the sectional, Alton gave Cahokia Wirth only its second loss in 25 games, 51-48. Tallest player on the team is 6-1 center Antario Simon. Center Tristan Fisher is 5-10 and guard Deion Lavender is 5-10.

Frankfort Summit Hill is averaging 44 points a game on offense and is giving up an average of 32 per game. The Spartans are in a position to control the paint with 6-1 Nick Bucci or 6-0 Ken Christensen at center and 6-1 J. T. Limon, 6-0 Erik Eggert or 6-0 Julian Hylton at forward. Guard Holt Erikson is 5-7.

Normal Kingsley has eight players 6-0 or taller. They are 6-0 guard Tyler Seibring, a seventh graders, and 6-2 forward Ben Wylde, 6-2 forward Jake Guest, 6-1 center Eric Spencer, 6-0 forward Ryan Frye, 6-1 center Drew Leman, 6-2 forward Grant Donath and 6-3 center Tanner Lowe. Normal Kingsley was the No. 2 seed in the regional and beat No. 3 Bloomington JHS 40-28 in the semifinals, No. 1 Normal Chiddix 42-36 in the finals and then handed 24-1 Morton JHS a 40-29 loss in the sectional.

Either Champaign Franklin or Monticello will challenge Kingsley underneath.

Champaign Franklin has four players 6-0 or taller. Forward Michael Finke is 6-3, center Raytwon Exum is a 6-3, center Ryan Gizzard is 6-2 and center Donovan Newman is 6-0.

Monticello's unbeaten season was ended in last year's seventh grade Class 3A championship game in a 33-30 loss to Monmouth-Roseville JHS. The Sages ended 26-1. All the players on the eighth grade roster were on that team. At guard is 6-2 Nick Stokowski, who scored 49 points in three state tournament games a year ago as a 5-11 guard. With 18 points last year is 5-11 forward Sam Parrish while 6-2 guard Colton Gibson scored 18 points last year as a 5-11 guard and Travis Purcell scored 6 points as a 5-11 forward and now is 6-3.

Center Dan Bruce, who scored 2 points last year, was 5-11 and is 6-3 this year. Guard Josh Lockmiller was 5-6 last year and is 5-11 this year. Forward Eric Woolley was 5-8 last year and is 5-10 this year. Monticello was seeded No. 3 in the regional, beat No. 2 Danville South View 36-35 in the semifinals and No. 4 Danville North Ridge 27-19 in the finals.

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: Monticello 280, Coal City 346, Champaign Jefferson 360, Sauk Village Rickover 366, Springfield Grant 405, Bolingbrook Jane Addams 489, Normal Kingsley 679, University Park Crete Monee 762, Frankfort Summit Hill 879 and Alton 978.



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