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2009 Eighth Grade IESA Girls Basketball State Finals 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. 12) and concludes the following Thursday (Dec. 17) at four sites. This is the fourth 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 Middle School hosts Class 3A. Rochester Junior High School will be the host of Class 4A.

Seven 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 Bartonville Monroe, Odell and Springfield Christian in Class 1A, Onarga Iroquois West in Class 2A, and El Paso-Gridley, Litchfield and Lockport Kelvin Grove in Class 3A.

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 2009 Eighth Grade State Final Tournaments:

Class 1A

There are only two schools with 20 or more wins in the Class 1A field, but the combined won-loss record of the field is 148-26, a winning percentage of .851. And last year's seventh grade champion, Springfield Christian, is one of two teams in the field with only one loss.

Mazon-Verona-Kinsman (18-7) faces Springfield Christian (19-1) in the first quarterfinal game at 10:00 a.m. Bartonville Monroe (17-7) meets Gifford at 11:30 a.m. Champaign Judah Christian (20-2) squares off against East St. Louis Jackson (13-3) at 1:00 p.m. Then Effingham St. Anthony (19-1) plays Odell (23-2) at 2:30 p.m. The semifinal games will be at 5:00 p.m. and 6:30 p.m.

Outscoring two regional opponents by a combined 91-37, Mazon-Verona-Kinsman stopped Kankakee Aquinas 32-28 in the sectional. The Mavericks' roster of 12 players includes only sixth eighth graders. Tallest player on the team is 5-8 seventh grader Lexi Wilkinson. Eighth graders Taylor Creed and Danielle Hauch are 5-6.

Springfield Christian has 5-9 Mel Bremhorst in the middle with 5-6 Tori Piper and 5-4 Kayla Nevil at forward. The starting guards are 5-4 Sabrina Salvacion and 5-5 Kate Varner, and 5-6 Julia Dierker comes off the bench. The Wildcats have outscored three state series opponents by a combined 108-44. Last year, Bremhorst scored 48 points in three state tournament games, Varner added 20 and Nevil 18.

Bartonville Monroe has only five eighth graders on its roster. They are 5-3 forward Caylee Friday, 5-6 center Mariah Chrestensen, 5-3 guard Sydney Bontz, 5-6 center Sara Bane and 5-4 forward Phoebe Tanner. The Flyers have five seventh graders and four sixth graders on the roster. Bartonville Monroe was seeded No. 3 in the regional.

Gifford is averaging 42 points per game during the state series outscoring three opponents 126-52. The Eagles have 6-1 Kennedy Magee at center with 5-7 Hannah Cargo at guard.

Champaign Judah Christian is one of the tallest team in the state tournament with six of its 10 players 5-7 or taller. Center Jasmine Kyler is 6-0 and center Mackenzie Joop is 5-10. The Tribe outscored two regional opponents by a combined 62-24 and then won a slowdown game in the sectional over Homer Heritage, 16-15.

East St. Louis Jackson also brings height to the state tournament in 6-0 center Sade Valuters, 5-11 center Zaria Wicks, both seventh graders, and 5-8 eighth grade forwards Shumara Appleby and Lakiera Jones. The Jets were seeded No. 2 in the regional and beat No. 1 Carrollton St. John 35-33 in the title game before stopping Bluffs 31-23 in the sectional.

Traditional power Effingham St. Anthony has only eight players on the roster, all eighth graders. Tallest are 5-11 center Maggie Mumm and 5-10 center Lane Steppe. Forward Kate Richards is 5-9. The Bullpups have outscored three state series opponents by a combined 100-45.

Odell has lost only to Mazon-Verona-Kinsman and Fairbury Prairie Central this year. The Rams can even the score with Mazon-Verona-Kinsman if they meet either in the third place of title game because they are in opposite brackets. Odell's starting lineup includes 5-9 Kaela Hodges, 5-6 Julie Hogan, 5-6 Alyson Wiemken, 5-8 Sami Battle and 5-4 Rachael Fearman.

Of the 93 players listed on the rosters of the finalists, 5 are sixth graders, 25 are seventh graders and 63 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: East St. Louis Jackson 44, Gifford 53, Mazon-Verona-Kinsman 57, Springfield Christian 65, Champaign Judah Christian 74, Bartonville Monroe 77, Effingham St. Anthony 78 and Odell 78.

Class 2A

Four of the eight finalists in the Class 2A state tournament will have won 21 or more games before playing in the quarterfinals Saturday. Already in the field are undefeated Peoria St. Vincent de Paul (25-0) and last year's seventh grade state champion Springfield Blessed Sacrament (24-1). They are in opposite brackets.

Peoria St. Vincent de Paul plays Arcola (17-7) in the first quarterfinal game at 10:00 a.m. Then Carthage (23-1) faces Sparland Midland (14-10) at 11:30 a.m. Altamont (17-7) battles Springfield Blessed Sacrament in the 1:00 p.m. game. Onarga Iroquois West (18-5) plays the Bloomington Holy Trinity (22-1) at 2:30 p.m. The semifinals will be at 5:00 and 6:30 p.m.

Seeded No. 1 in the regional, Peoria St. Vincent de Paul has averaged 36 points a game against three state series opponents. The Vikings won games in the regional by 13 and 7 points before beating Peoria Heights St. Thomas 40-17 in the sectional. Center Caitlin Haisler is the tallest player on the team at 5-10. Next is center Hannah Wallace at 5-7.

Arcola got by Champaign St. Matthew 27-23 in the sectional after holding two regional opponents to an average of 15 points a game. The Purple Riders have 5-7 Olivia Catanzaro at center and 5-7 Samantha Reece at forward.

Carthage uses a three-guard lineup that includes 5-6 Katy Miller, 5-6 Graci Bastert and 5-1 Brook Cook along with 5-8 forward Lauren White and 6-0 center Morgan Martin. All are eighth graders. The only loss was to Camp Point Central in a tournament outside the state series. Carthage has outscored three state series opponents by a combined 121-60.

Sparland Midland has five players 5-7 or taller. They are 5-7 forward Sammi Bessler, 5-7 forward Sydney Foster, 5-9 center Erin McKee, 5-10 center Taylor Beach and 5-11 center Taylor Martin. Bessler is a seventh grader, the others are in eighth grade.

Altamont rolls into the state tournament scoring an average of 43 points and giving up an average of 15 points in three state series games. Of the 10 players on the roster four are 5-6 or taller. They are 6-0 center Gabby Alwardt, 5-7 center Alex Teasley, 5-7 forward Macy Wendling and 5-6 center Renee Tillman.

Springfield Blessed Sacrament went 27-0 last year to take the seventh grade Class 2A state title and nine players from that team are on the eighth grade roster this year. This group of girls has won 51 of 52 games over the past two seasons. Five returning players scored points in last year's championship game. They are 5-7 forward Kate Healy (15 points), 5-7 guard Tiffany Bertoni (11), 5-6 forward Cassie Kuizin (4), 5-5 guard Lydia Nelson (13) and 5-9 center Hayley Reed (5). The other returnees from a year ago are 5-3 Emily Willard, 5-5 Sarah Miller, 5-4 Hannah Bitzer and 5-6 Emily Malone. The Bruins have scored 96 points in three state series games and have given up 50.

Onarga Iroquois West has only three players 5-6 or taller. They are 5-7 center Mariah Schaefer, 5-6 center Angela Behrends and 5-7 center Fernanda Schaefer. The Raiders are averaging 29 points a game while limiting three state series foes to an average of 18.

Of the 84 players listed on the rosters of the seven finalists already in the state tournament, 1 is a fifth graders, 1 is a sixth graders, 17 are seventh graders and 65 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 nine teams remaining Thursday are: Decatur Holy Family 55, Carthage 90, Arcola 95, Bloomington Holy Trinity 110, Sparland Midland 112, Peoria St. Vincent de Paul 113, Springfield Blessed Sacrament 124, Onarga Iroquois West 126, Altamont 131

Class 3A

The combined won-loss record of the eight Class 3A finalists is a sizzling 159-23, a winning percentage of .874.

Chillicothe (19-4) plays Litchfield (19-4) in the first quarterfinal game at 10:00 a.m. El Paso-Gridley (23-2) meets perennial contender Teutopolis (23-1) at 11:30 a.m. Watseka Glenn Raymond (15-4) battles Green Valley Midwest Central (22-1) at 1:00 p.m. Perennial contender Williamsville (21-3) faces Lockport Kelvin Grove (17-4) at 2:30 p.m. The semifinals are at 5:00 and 6:30 p.m.

Seeded No. 1 in the regional, Chillicothe survived 31-26 in overtime in the title game against Mossville and then stopped rival Glasford Illini Bluffs 23-15 in the sectional. Nine of the 11 players on the roster are 5-6 or taller with 5-9 center Hannah Scherer, 5-8 Brooke Ratcliff and 5-7 Delaney Coats listed as centers. Scherer is a seventh grader.

Litchfield's seventh grade team played for the Class 3A title Thursday and none of those players are among the 12 listed on the eighth grade roster. The Panther Cubs have 5-9 Alexis Sielschott at center and only three other players taller than 5-4. All 5-6 they are guard Bethany Richardson, center Whitley Barto and center Brieanna List.

El Paso-Gridley has outscored three state series opponents 116-83 and the Titans have wins by 18, 6 and 9 points in those three games. Guard Codee Schlipf is 5-8 and the tallest player on the team. Center Anna Gauger is 5-7.

Teutopolis has 5-9 Haley Giles and 5-8 Morgan Deters at center, 5-8 Madeline Hartke and 5-8 Kaitlin Smith at forward, with 5-6 Kali Rieman and 5-6 Cierra Thompson at guard. The Wooden Shoes rolled by two regional opponents outscoring them 73-17 before topping Newton Jasper County 36-31 in the sectional.

Watseka Glenn Raymond has seven players 5-6 or taller with center Haley Gray 5-9, center Sam Hodolitz 5-8, forward Olivia Claire 5-7, forward Emily McCann 5-7 and guard Colleen Suchy 5-7. Guard Devin Curry and forward Kassidy Kunce are both 5-6. The Utes were seeded second in the regional and beat top-seeded Gibson City GCMS 29-11 in the regional final before stopping St. Joseph 25-17 in the sectional.

Green Valley Midwest Central starts a front line of 5-10 center Jennifer Berg, 5-7 forward Abby Forsythe and 5-3 forward Sarah Jacob along with 5-7 guard Sidney Blair and 5-3 guard Julia Hutton. The Raiders only loss was 35-31 to Williamsville.

Williamsville rolled into the state tournament with a 50-25 win over Pittsfield Pikeland in the sectional after taking wins of 39-13 over Petersburg PORTA JHS and 41-16 over Auburn JHS at Diveron in the regional. The Bee Bees can throw a front line that averages 5-7 or taller at their opponents. Center Emily Capranica is 5-9 and forward Caleigh Franklin is 5-8. Guard Jordan French is 5-8.

Lockport Kelvin Grove allowed two regional opponents only a combined 32 points before beating Dixmoor Rosa Parks 44-36 in the sectional. Tallest of the 10 players on the roster is 5-7 center Breanna Foster. Center Courtney Pietrzak is 5-6.

Of the 97 players listed on the rosters of the finalists, 3 are sixth graders, 9 are seventh graders and 85 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: Lockport Kelvin Grove 143, Teutopolis 166, Chillicothe 174, Watseka Glenn Raymond 185, Green Valley Midwest Central 190, El Paso-Gridley 192, Williamsville 218 and Litchfield 230.

Class 4A

If veteran sportscaster Keith Jackson were in Rochester Saturday for the Class 4A state tournament, the first words out of his mouth might well be: "Whoa Nellie, we're having a whale of a tournament!"

The top four teams in last year's Class 4A seventh grade tournament are back for eighth grade Class 4A this year. Three of them are unbeaten. The combined won-lost record of the eight teams is 157-17, a blistering winning percentage of .902.

Frankfort Summit Hill (24-1) plays Coal City (17-8) in the first quarterfinal game at 10:00 a.m. Then Bethalto Trimpe (17-0) meets Bolingbrook Humphrey (14-7) at 11:30 a.m. Rochester (23-0) battles Mahomet-Seymour (21-1) in the 1:00 p.m. game. Country Club Hills Southwood (17-1) faces Normal Kingsley (24-0) at 2:30 p.m. The semifinal games are at 5:00 and 6:30 p.m.

Rochester beat Normal Kingsley 30-20 in the championship game of the 7-4A tournament last year to finish unbeaten at 27-0. Normal Kingsley finished 25-2. Frankfort Summit Hill beat Bethalto Trimpe 21-19 for third place and had a final record of 25-1. Bethalto Trimpe ended 16-3.

Coach Jack Howard's six-player rotation for Frankfort Summit Hill includes 5-4 Erin Creedon, 5-8 Elly Waleski, 5-10 Shannon Murphy, 5-6 Sam Pietruszynski, 5-9 Amy Vos and 6-0 Casey Zimmerman. The Spartans' only loss was to Mokena. In three state series games they've outscored opponents by a combined 130-89.

Seeded No. 1 in the regional, Bethalto Trimpe nipped fourth seed Piasa Southwestern in the semifinal 15-14 and then beat No. 2 seed Hillsboro 28-23 in the finals. The Royals stopped once-beaten Edwardsville Liberty 33-23 in the sectional. Coach Jessica Tonsor has 6-0 Addie Ballard at center and 6-0 Megan Trost at forward.

Bolingbrook Humphrey can go with 5-11 Beverly Rogers and 5-10 Janae Dunn at forward. The Warriors stopped New Lenox Liberty 38-34 in the sectional after beating No. 1 seed Bellwood Roosevelt 44-35 in the regional final.

The same nine players that brought Rochester last year's 7-4A crown are the eighth grade team this year. Center is 5-7 Gabby Morgan. Forwards are 5-5 Jennifer Hart, 5-8 Grace Settles, 5-7 Allison Ayers and 5-4 Michaela Perry. Guards are 5-4 Emily Matsen, 5-0 Krissy Finley, 5-4 Cheyanne Cherry and 5-4 Stephanie Menezes. The Rockets outscored two regional opponents 79-22 and then beat rival Chatham Glenwood 37-27 in the sectional.

Mahomet-Seymour can throw a tall lineup at its opponents. Nine of the 15 players on the roster are 5-6 or taller. Forwards Emily Clark and Erica Penrose are 5-9. Forward Maggie Schmidt is 5-8. At 5-7 are forwards Karlee Deppe and Paula Carrisa. Guards at 5-6 are Colleen Sheehy, Ashley Stewart and Hannah Kyle. The Bulldogs haven't given up more than 19 points to an opponent in three state series games including a 29-6 win over Effingham JHS in the sectional.

Country Club Hills Southwood has 5-10 Nadika Jackson and Ariel Robinson available for underneath along with 5-7 Jasmyne Cameron, Tiera Doss and 5-9 seventh grader Kaylamarie Toy at center. The Wildcats struggled to win the sectional 25-22 over Glenwood Brockwood after wins of 20 and 12 points in the regional.

Normal Kingsley has gone 49-2 over the past two years with this group of players. They waltzed through their traditionally rugged road to the state tournament with a 47-24 win over Normal Parkside, a 20-9 win over Normal Chiddix in the regional and a 32-18 win over Morton JHS in the sectional on Morton's home court. The starters in the Morton game for the Cavaliers were 6-0 Destiny Ramsey at forward, 5-10 Carrie Pullins at center, 5-5 seventh grader Jalynne Zehr at forward, 5-6 Hannah Rodgers at guard and 5-3 Tori Doubet at guard.

Of the 80 players listed on the rosters of the seven teams that have qualified so far, there are 2 sixth graders, 5 seventh graders and 73 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: Rochester 328, Country Club Hills Southwood 383, Bethalto Trimpe 399, Mahomet-Seymour 413, Bolingbrook Humphrey 513, Normal Kingsley 679 and Frankfort Summit Hill 879.



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