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2013 Eighth Grade Boys Basketball State Finals Begin Saturday

For the seventh time in Illinois Elementary School Association (IESA) boys' basketball history, four 8th grade champions will be crowned and it all begins this Saturday (Feb. 9) at four sites. Competition in the Class 1A, 2A, 3A and 4A State Final Tournaments begins Saturday and concludes Thursday (Feb. 14). This is the 84th year IESA has conducted a state basketball series.

Class 1A will be played at Auburn High School, while Class 2A will tip-off at Downs Tri-Valley High School. Monticello Middle School is set to host Class 3A and rounding out the group is Class 4A hosted by Bartonville Limestone 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 evening with the first of two games set to begin at 5:00 p.m. Third place and championship games will be played Thursday (Feb. 14) 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 Website 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 link at the top of the IESA Website Home Page.

Here is a look at each of the 8th Grade State Final Tournaments:

Class 1A

Needless to say, there is no shortage of storylines coming into the Class 1A State Tournament. Game one is a prime example of that, as the Crusaders of Oglesby Holy Family (24-0) are bidding to become the first unbeaten 1A state champs since the Warriors of Catlin Grade School accomplished the feat back in 2007. Standing in their way will be the battle tested Shamrocks of Jacksonville Our Savior (16-9), who return to the big dance after placing second in 2011. Peoria St. Mark (13-7) and Gardner (15-2) keep the excitement going in game two, with both teams making their first ever 8-1A state appearance. Sigel St. Michael's (22-3) has championship gold on their minds after finishing the 7th Grade Class 1A State Tournament of a year ago as state runner-up. The Sharpshooters draw the tough task of knocking off a 20-2 Crescent City squad that has been near dominate since the state series began a week ago. Wrapping up quarterfinal action will be the Lancers of Decatur Our Lady Lourdes (23-2) facing off against the 2012 7th Grade Class 1A 4th place finishers in Pana Sacred Heart (16-7).

Class 2A

With a tremendous variety of tradition and continuity showcased, the Class 2A field may be the most experienced group seen in years. Getting things going will be a 7-2A state qualifier of a season ago in Champaign St. Matthew (19-6) taking on the Hornets of Mt. Sterling Brown County (22-3). Game two features two squads who both took part in the 7-2A State Tournament of a season ago, as third place finisher Elmwood (19-4) takes on Altamont (22-2). After posting back-to-back-20+ win seasons, these Wildcats hope to avenge their quick exit of a year ago. On the cusp of IESA history, Decatur Robertson (19-3) enters the 2013 tournament a year removed after completing a sweep of both the 7th and 8th grade 2A state titles. With the 7th Grade Wildcats vying for tonight's 7-2A state title, an unprecedented four state championships in just two years could be at stake for Decatur Robertson by tip-off on Saturday. Standing in the way of history are the Vikings of Peoria St. Vincent de Paul (17-8), who carry with them an impressive state resume of their own. These young men qualified for state as 7th graders, while the 8th grade team of a year ago finished 4th overall in Class 2A. Capping off the quarterfinals will be a head-to-head contest between a pair of 2A newcomers in La Harpe (18-5) and Joliet Laraway (22-2). While foreign to 8-2A, the Lancers of Joliet Laraway have been a fixture in the 1A state tournament, recently taking home first in both 2010 and 2012.

Class 3A

A potential championship rematch looms large within a Class 3A field that shouldn't disappoint. Teutopolis (20-6) is back after a one year absence still in search of their first 8-3A state title as they square off against Rockford Marshall (14-9) in game one of quarterfinal action. This will serve as the Rockford Marshall's inaugural state debut for any activity, after recently becoming a member of the IESA. El Paso-Gridley (21-3) returns to the state scene following an early exit back in 2011. The Titans will be faced with the tall task of handing South Holland McKinley (18-0) their first loss of the season, as the Monarchs return with unfinished business following a crushing 7-3A state title loss a season ago. The battle tested Vikings of Roxana (15-8) are coming off an impressive Sectional Championship as they hope to carry that momentum into game three against St. Joseph (17-5). The Panthers will be making their third 8-3A appearance which is highlighted by a second place finish back in 2010. Finally, the last of the quarterfinal contests pits the 2012 7-3A state champs of Pleasant Plains (20-4) against the Mustangs of Chillicothe (19-3). With both South Holland McKinley and Pleasant Plains returning to state as eighth graders, could the folks packed into Monticello Middle School be treated to a championship rematch?

Class 4A

The Class 4A State Tournament will play host for a team bidding for a three-peat as well as an unbeaten streak that has stretched over 40 games. Over the past five seasons, the Cavaliers of Normal Kingsley (20-6) have gone a combined 10-2 in the 8-4A state tournament, most recently taking home first in 2011 and 2012. They look to continue their historic run against a New Lenox Liberty squad (23-2) who debuted at the state tournament a season ago, promptly taking home 4th place. State qualifiers as seventh graders, Champaign Jefferson (22-2) is primed for a serious tournament run this time around, as they square off against the Tigers of East St. Louis Lincoln (20-1). Game three of the afternoon highlights the first unbeaten squad of the day, as the Falcons of Flossmoor Parker (21-0) do battle against Bolingbrook Jane Adams (22-2). The final quarterfinal matchup has the potential to be one for the ages for many different reasons. Springfield Jefferson, fresh off an unbeaten 7-4A title run last year, is once again looking for perfection as they enter the state tournament a combined 45-0 since the beginning of last season. It won't be easy, as the Jaguars must first knock off the Indians of Channahon (23-0) who fell within a game of facing Springfield Jefferson in last year's state championship.

For more information, please contact IESA Associate Executive Director and Basketball Administrator Nicole Schaefbauer at nicole@iesa.org.



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