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IESA Eighth 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. 8) and concludes the following Thursday (Dec. 13) at four sites.

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

Five 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, Class 1A; Jacksonville Our Saviour, Class 1A; Glasford Illini Bluffs, Class 2A; Springfield Christ The King, Class 2A; Havana, 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 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 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.

The inaugural eighth grade four-class series state champions were: Pana Sacred Heart in Class 1A, Normal Epiphany in Class 2A, Petersburg PORTA JHS in Class 3A and Bolingbrook Humphrey in Class 4A. Normal Epiphany won the final seventh grade Class A State Tournament in 2005 with a 27-0 record and took the 2006 seventh grade Class 2A crown with a 28-0 record and virtually the same team as in 2005.

Complete pairings for each state final, plus the FanZone, can be found at 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 2007 Eighth Grade State Final Tournaments:

Class 1A

Six of the eight teams advancing to the Class 1A state final have won at least 20 games, including last year's seventh grade Class 1A state champion Springfield Calvary. The combined won-loss record of the field is 157-21, a winning percentage of .882.

LaSalle Trinity Catholic (17-6) meets Springfield Calvary (20-1) in the opening quarterfinal game at 10:00 a.m. Bartonville Monroe (22-2) faces Ottawa Wallace (20-4) at 11:30 a.m. Hardin St. Norbert (14-3) plays Rossville-Alvin (23-1) at 1:00 p.m. The last quarterfinal game matches Sigel St. Michael's (20-2) against Jacksonville Our Saviour (21-4).

Four teams in this year.s field played in the inaugural Class 1A tournament a year ago. In addition to Springfield Calvary, the returnees are fourth place finisher Jacksonville Our Saviour and quarterfinalists Ottawa Wallace and Sigel St. Michael's.

There are only seven players on the LaSalle Trinity Catholic team. The Saints have 5-9 eighth grader Kayla MacDavitt at center, 5-8 eighth grader Casey Kaprowich at forward and 5-7 eighth grader Lauren Kunkel at forward.

Springfield Calvary's only loss this year was to Class 4A perennial power Chatham Glenwood, 35-29. Calvary has wins this season over Havana, Litchfield and Williamsville, three of the teams in this year's Class 3A state final. The Saints return nine players from last year's Class 1A seventh grade state championship team, including guards Ali Mattsson and Zahna Medley. Both the 5-2 Mattsson and the 5-5 Medley scored 10 points in last year's Class 1A title game. Calvary has 5-8 Danielle Rhodes at center along with 5-5 Cristen Seiders and 5-5 Alyssa Huffman at forward. Springfield Calvary has outscored three state series opponents 157-49.

Six of the 10 players on the Bartonville Monroe roster are 5-6 or taller. The Flyers have 5-8 Danyelle Ortman at center with 5-7 Hannah Becker, 5-9 Jessica Armour and 5-8 Emily Bontz at forwards. Then there's 5-8 guard Brooke Johnson and 5-6 guard Reilly Dunne, the leading scorer on the school's seventh grade team that played for the Class 1A title Thursday night.

Ottawa Wallace can put a front line of 5-9 Alyssa Winchester, 5-7 Madi Smith, 5-7 Celeste Harrison or 5-7 Mikaela English on the floor at the same time. And the Warriors have 5-6 Rosa Williams and 5-5 Jessica Jessen at guard.

Hardin St. Norbert has only seven players on a roster that includes four seventh graders and three eighth graders. The Wolves have 5-10 eighth grader Jocelyn Klocke at center and can have 5-8 eighth grader Morgan Stein and 5-7 seventh grader Shelby Hayn in the front line at the same time. Abby Rose is the only eighth grader at guard. The others are Jenny Knight, Courtney Squier and Kalyn Baalman. St. Norbert is averaging 42 points per game in its three state series contests to date.

Rossville-Alvin is led by 5-2 forward Emily Weinard and 5-3 guard Lori Haas. The Bobcats have 5-7 Megan Grimes and 5-6 Hannah Ritter at center, but rely on their quickness. Rossville-Alvin's only loss was to arch rival Bismarck-Henning, a Class 3A school. The Bobcats avenged that defeat in the county tournament.

Sigel St. Michael's has one of the tallest teams in Class 1A. The Sharpshooters list seventh grader Alyssa Platz as a 5-10 center, and 5-9 eighth grader Erica Hotze at center. Forwards include 5-7 Jessie Wendt and 5-6 Emma Baker. At guard are 5-6 players Amber Kreke, Jenette Vogt and Courtney Cornell. Kreke is a seventh grader, the others are eighth graders.

Jacksonville Our Saviour has a roster of seven seventh graders and eight eighth graders. Five of the seventh graders played on the school's seventh grade team in Thursday's Class 1A title game. The other two seventh graders are 5-5 center Rachel Birdsell and 4-8 guard Mallory Halpin. Center Kate Barker is the tallest player on the team at 5-8. Darcy Arendt is a 5-7 forward. No other member of the team is taller than 5-5.

Of the 75 players listed on the rosters of the finalists, 25 are seventh graders and 50 are eighth graders.

In IESA competition, school enrollments are determined by the students in seventh and eighth grade. Class 1A is the smallest class. Enrollments of the eight finalists are: Hardin St. Norbert 26, Sigel St. Michael's 26, LaSalle Trinity Catholic 44, Springfield Calvary 60, Rossville-Alvin 67, Jacksonville Our Saviour 69, Bartonville Monroe 70, Ottawa Wallace 78,

Class 2A

All eight of the teams in the Class 2A field are making their first appearance at the state final in the four-class format, but their IESA basketball pedigrees are impressive.

Table Grove VIT (22-2) meets Glasford Illini Bluffs (16-6) in the opening quarterfinal game at 10:00 a.m. Springfield Christ The King (20-4) battles Gardner (20-3) at 11:30 a.m. Then Tuscola East Prairie (15-8) faces Lexington (17-6) at 1:00 p.m. In the 2:30 p.m. game, Cowden-Herrick (17-5) plays Nokomis JHS (16-8).

It will be a rematch when Table Grove VIT and Glasford Illini Bluffs open the tournament. Early in the regular season Illini Bluffs beat VIT by four points in overtime. In the combined 24 players on the rosters of the two teams there is one sixth grader, nine seventh graders and 14 eighth graders. Table Grove VIT has a trio of seventh graders and nine eighth graders. Glasford Illini Bluffs has one sixth grader, six seventh graders and five eighth graders.

Table Grove VIT has six players 5-6 or taller. Centers are 5-7 eighth grader Bhrea Wright and 5-8 seventh grader Alyssa Batterton. Forwards are 5-7 Carly Beebe, 5-6 Taylor Maloney, 5-6 Destini Bollinger and 5-7 seventh grader Molly Lascelles. The South Fulton Rebels are averaging 41 points a game through their first three state series contests.

The seventh grade team from Glasford Illini Bluffs played for the Class 2A state title Thursday. The eighth graders leading the way for the Lady Tigers are twins Hannah Wall and Kenzie Wall, Whitney Walker, Quincy Merritt and Allie Rupp. Kenzie Wall is 5-8 and plays the post.

Springfield Christ The King has outscored its three state series opponents 109-56. The Cougars can put 5-9 Corrine Brent, 5-8 Claire Varney, 5-7 Rachel Reents, or 5-7 Lauren Aiello on the floor in combination with a group of small, quick guards.

Gardner nipped perennial power Seneca, 21-20, to take the sectional after outscoring Donovan and Herscher JHS by a combined 77-37 margin in the regional. The Tigers are one of the shortest teams in the field. Tallest player for Gardner is 5-7 forward Kelly Netvral. The only other players taller than 5-4 are 5-6 forward Brenna Hyslop and 5-6 center Kaitlin Everette.

Tuscola East Prairie has 5-8 Jessica Hardwick at center along with 5-6 Jodi Twedell. Forwards at 5-6 are Emily Stumpe and Leslie Borries. The Hornets have six guards on the roster, including 5-4 Emma Comerford and 5-4 Samantha Kohlbecker.

Lexington has only nine players on its roster, led by 5-6 guard Sydney Freed and 5-7 guard Maggie Hayes.

Cowden-Herrick is the tallest team in the Class 2A field. In the middle for the Hornets are centers Micah Jones (5-11 seventh grader) and Marissa Klee (5-9). Forwards are 5-8 Katlynn Kersey, 5-6 Mackenzie Morrison, 5-8 Rebecca Finley, 5-7 Alex Russell and 5-7 Kelcie Hudson. Cowden-Herrick beat perennial power Effingham St. Anthony, 28-22, to win the sectional.

Nokomis JHS has only two players taller than 5-5. They are 5-9 seventh grade center Makalynn Ismhael and 5-7 eighth grade center Laura Brady.

Of the 92 players listed on the rosters of the finalists, 1 is a sixth grader, 13 are seventh graders and 78 are eighth graders.

In IESA competition, school enrollments are determined by the students in seventh and eighth grade. Class 1A is the second smallest class. Enrollments of the eight finalists are: Cowden-Herrick 84, Gardner 86, Lexington 100, Springfield Christ The King 100, Table Grove VIT 119, Nokomis JHS 123, Tuscola East Prairie 139 and Glasford Illini Bluffs 141.

Class 3A

Only one of the teams in the Class 3A field has lost more than three games heading into the quarterfinals. The combined won-loss record of the eight finalists is 145-19, a sizzling winning percentage of .884.

Williamsville (19-5) meets Downs Tri-Valley (20-2) in the first game at 10:00 a.m. Then Lockport Kelvin Park (14-3) faces Havana (24-1) at 11:30 a.m. Washington Central (20-2) plays Gibson City GCMS (20-4) at 1:00 p.m. In the 2:30 p.m. quarterfinal finale, Litchfield (22-3) battles Robinson Nuttall (20-2).

Five players on the Williamsville basketball roster were members of the school's third place team this fall in Class AA girls softball. They are 5-0 Kathryn Spenn, 5-2 Paige Peterman, 5-4 Jessie McEvoy, 5-1 Caitlyn Constant and 5-2 Torey Soernsen. Joining them in the front line are 5-9 center Melissa McCormick and 5-7 forward Anna Butterfield. The Bee Bees have outscored their three state series opponents 114-48.

Only three of the nine players on the Downs Tri-Valley roster are shorter than 5-6. The Vikings have 5-9 Allison Johnson and 5-9 Kara Neisen in the post. At forward are 5-8 Mikaela Carr, 5-6 Jessica Neumann, 5-6 Niki Cerven and 5-2 Amber Fisher. Becky Dail is a 5-6 guard, along with 5-4 Christine Peterson and 5-3 Tiffany Masters.

Lockport Kelvin Grove has 5-10 Breanna Nehrenz and 5-8 Sarah Wasilewski at center. All five of the forwards are 5-5 or taller with Jessica Kubinski at 5-8 and Jessica Walden at 5-7.

Havana will counter Kelvin Grove's height with 5-9 Abby Kachanuk or 5-9 Channing Holtman at center, 5-6 Destany Jones at forward, and 5-6 eighth grade guards Emily Eakle, Samantha Ellsworth and Keely Coulter. Havana's seventh grade team played for third place in the seventh grade Class 3A state final Thursday night. Six members of the seventh grade team play on the eighth grade team. Marissa Potts is a 5-4 guard from that team.

Washington Central can put a trio of 5-10 forwards on the court at the same time. They are Lauren Dwyer, Ashley Hinrichs and Amanda Mullin. Paige Ely is a 5-6 guard and Brooke Bambrick is a 5-7 guard. The Trojans averaged 33 points per game in the three state series contests prior to the state final against Washington MS, Germantown Hills and Wenona Fieldcrest.

Gibson City GCMS has a pair of 5-10 post players in Sarah Bielfeldt and Madison Young. But the Falcons go big and deep up front. Nine of the 15 players on the roster are 5-6 or taller. At 5-9 is Angel Gaesser. At 5-8 are Bonny Eyer, Kaiti Bowen and Jackie Freehill. At 5-6 are Jessica Hunter, Regan Romshek and Courtney Gramley.

Litchfield is one of the smallest teams in the field with 5-8 Shelby Smith and Kelsey Going the tallest at 5-8.

Robinson Nuttall is the biggest team in the tournament and can put a front line of 6-3 Kelsey Dirks, 6-0 Morayo Akande and 5-11 Elizabeth Blake on the floor. The Raiders have only two players shorter than 5-5 on the 15-player roster. They are 5-3 guards Caitlyn Hodson and Kylee Hannahs, a seventh grader. To earn its spot in the state final field, Robinson Nuttall beat perennial powers Lawrenceville Parkview and Paris Mayo in the regional and Newton Jasper County in the sectional.

Of the 100 players listed on the rosters of the finalists, 12 are seventh graders and 88 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. Enrollments of the eight finalists are: Gibson City GCMS 166, Downs Tri-Valley 167, Havana 167, Washington Central 168, Lockport Kelvin Grove 175, Williamsville 219, Litchfield 244 and Robinson Nuttall 261.

Class 4A

Every team in the Class 4A field except Shorewood Troy (14-12) has won 19 or more games. The combined won-loss record of the eight teams is 155-30, a sizzling winning percentage of .837.

The first quarterfinal game at 10:00 a.m. matches Quincy (22-2) vs. Shorewood Troy. Then Markham Prairie-Hills (20-4) battles Bolingbrook Jane Addams (19-2) at 11:30 a.m. Dunlap MS (21-4) faces Cahokia Wirth (19-4) at 1:00 p.m. Unbeaten Country Club Hills Southwood (19-0) plays Champaign Franklin (21-2) at 2:30 p.m.

Last year Quincy went undefeated (25-0) to claim the seventh grade Class 4A title. Six players who scored points for the Lady Comets in the title game a year ago are on this year's roster. Leading the way is 6-0 "do-everything" center Tori Kuhn. Forwards Morgan Conover (5-5) and Breanna Schofield (5-7) are joined by 5-1 Anna Leenerts, 5-7 Gracie Barnes and 5-2 Laken Frese at guard. To get to the state final, Quincy beat Jacksonville Turner 45-29, Springfield Franklin 49-33 and Rochester 40-22.

Shorewood Troy will match up well against Quincy. In the post for Shorewood Troy is 6-1 Ashley Clemmons. She can be joined in the front line by 5-9 Alessa Smith, 5-7 Kiley Saunders and 5-7 Erin McShane.

Markham Prairie-Hills relies on its quickness. Only three of the 14 players on the roster are taller than 5-6. They are 5-9 Elizabeth Tawose, 5-8 Shannise Heady and 5-8 Cierra Vaughn.

Bolingbrook Jane Addams can counter quickness with front liners 6-0 Morgan Tuck, 5-8 Bianca Johnson, 5-8 Cherell Hill and 5-8 Raelyn Williams. The Mustangs outscored their three state series foes 116-57 on the way to the state final, beating Romeoville Martinez 38-10, Bolingbrook Brooks 44-32 and Mokena 34-15.

Dunlap MS took third place in last year.s seventh grade Class 4A state final and six players on that team are on this year's eighth grade squad. They are 5-4 guard Alexus Hobbs, 5-4 guard Leah Brooks, 5-6 guard Haley Meeks, 5-9 forward Jamie Nichting, 5-9 forward Taylor Anderson and 5-7 center Jade Stewart.

Cahokia Wirth has the tallest team in the tournament with six players 5-9 or taller. Only two of them are eighth graders, 5-10 forward Diamond Suggs and 5-9 forward Mitanesha Moffett. The seventh graders are 5-10 Daria Bills, 5-11 Emmonnie Henderson, 5-10 Cornita Cannon and 5-11 Teykia Cooper. Wirth.s seventh grade team qualified for the seventh grade Class 4A state tournament this year, losing to Romeoville Martinez in the quarterfinals. The eighth grade team stormed past perennial power Edwardsville Liberty, 38-22, in the sectional.

Country Club Hills Southwood is one of the smaller teams in the field. Only four of the 13 Wildcats on the roster are taller than 5-6. All listed as centers are 5-7 Jamilah Hines, 5-9 Raven Logan, 5-9 Jahmia Phillips and 5-7 Adesola Ibitayo.

Champaign Franklin has 5-8 Destani Burton in the post, with 5-8 Cheyenne Hedrington and 5-7 Nikkel O'Neil at forward. The Knights can bring 5-6 guard Kewanee Garrett to that lineup. Franklin lists eight guards on its 15-player roster.

Of the 106 players listed on the rosters of the finalists, 2 are sixth graders, 11 are seventh graders and 93 are eighth graders.

In IESA competition, school enrollments are determined by the students in seventh and eighth grade. Class 4A is the largest class. Enrollments of the eight finalists are: Champaign Franklin 412, Country Club Hills Southwood 416, Bolingbrook Jane Addams 483, Dunlap MS 487, Cahokia Wirth 659, Markham Prairie-Hills 695, Shorewood Troy 846, Quincy 1,017.

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