IESA Headlines

2009 Seventh Grade Boys State Basketball Tournaments Begin Saturday

For the third time in Illinois Elementary School Association (IESA) boys basketball history four champions will be crowned in the Seventh Grade State Basketball Tournament series. Competition in the Class 1A, Class 2A, Class 3A and Class 4A State Final Tournaments begins Saturday (Feb. 7) and concludes Thursday (Feb. 12) at four sites.

Class 1A will be played at the Shirk Center on the campus of Illinois Wesleyan University in Bloomington and will be hosted by Saunemin. Class 2A will be at Riverton High School. Clinton Junior High will host Class 3A at Clinton High School. Dwight JHS will host Class 4A at Dwight High School.

The time schedule for all four tournaments will be the same. Quarterfinals are scheduled to 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 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 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 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 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 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 2009 Seventh Grade State Final Tournaments:

Class 1A

In a class where the combined seventh-eighth grade enrollment of the eight qualifiers is just 447, all but one has at least 10 players on their rosters. The one with the smallest roster (Sigel St. Michael's), however, has one of the tallest teams in the field. And while the eight qualifiers have an average enrollment of 56 students in seventh-eighth grade, the outcome of this year's third Class 1A State Final could prove that dynamite does come in small packages.

Gifford (18-5) meets Joliet Laraway (11-4) in the first quarterfinal game Saturday at 10:00 a.m. Then Springfield Calvary (21-2) plays Sigel St. Michael's (15-5) at 11:30 a.m. In the third quarterfinal, Peoria Limestone Walters (17-3) battles Decatur Holy Family (16-6) at 1:00 p.m. Virginia (18-3) meets Grand Ridge (18-6) in the 2:30 p.m. game. The winners of the quarterfinals meet in semifinal games at 5:00 and 6:30 p.m. Saturday.

The combined win-loss record of the Class 1A field is 134-34, a winning percentage of .798. The only team with more than 18 wins is Springfield Calvary at 21-2.

Gifford's seventh grade girls team took second place in Class 1A last December and the boys team is looking to equal or surpass that performance. The Eagles have put a combined 90 points on the scoreboard in the last two state series games. Tallest player is 5-8 forward Shane Starkey. Forward Hunter Adkins is 5-7.

Joliet Laraway, the only school returning from the 2008 field, was the youngest team in the state final last year with a roster of four fifth graders, five sixth graders and five seventh graders. The Lancers' roster this year includes six players from a year ago. They are seventh graders Jonah Coble, Sherron Brooks, Devon Smith and Tavon White and sixth graders Sheldon Wright and Blaique Morgan. Forward Sherron Brooks is the tallest player on the roster at 5-8. Center Devon Smith is 5-7 and forward Jonah Coble is 5-6. No other player is taller than 5-4.

Springfield Calvary has only three seventh graders on the roster. They are 5-10 center Joe Isringhausen, 5-9 forward Tonyo Thompson and 5-1 guard Ben Schubert. The Saints nipped Raymond Lincolnwood 41-40 in the sectional after scoring 45 points in both regional games.

Sigel St. Michael's, a perennial contender in both girls and boys basketball, has only six seventh graders on the roster, including 5-9 center Ted Jansen and 5-7 center Todd Jansen. Forward Dakota Hoene is 5-7, guard Jacob Vogt is 5-3, guard Justin Deters in 5-1 and guard Cody Ruholl is 4-10.

Peoria Limestone Walters has one of the tallest teams in the field. The Rockets have 5-8 Trey Barnes and 5-8 Greg White in the post with 5-8 Chase Stroud, 5-7 Leroy Rosenbohm and 5-7 Connor Peacock at forward. Peoria Limestone Walters rolled past Monmouth ICS 54-23 in the sectional.

Decatur Holy Family has nine players on the roster. The Knights have only two players taller than 5-foot-2. They are 5-7 center Adam Peters and 5-4 forward Jordan Laukaitis. Decatur Holy Family beat Lincoln Chester-East Lincoln 36-35 to advance from the sectional.

Of the 12 players on the Virginia roster, six are seventh graders, three are sixth graders and three are fifth graders. The seventh graders are 5-7 guard Tyler Ring, 5-5 forward Tyler Harrell, 5-7 guard Trent Horney, 5-5 forward Delivan Cox, 5-3 guard Dirk Winkleman and 5-7 center Hayden Moore.

Grand Ridge can put 5-8 Cahill Horner, 5-7 Alec Grabowski, 5-6 Dane Lehr or 5-6 Nick Smeets on the front line. The Mohawks were seeded first in their regional and beat Ransom, 34-31, to win the sectional.

Of the 92 players listed on the eight rosters, 7 are fifth graders, 26 are sixth graders and 59 are seventh graders.

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 by size: Sigel St. Michael's 26, Springfield Calvary 50, Gifford 51, Virginia 59, Peoria Limestone Walters 57, Decatur Holy Family 63, Joliet Laraway 67 and Grand Ridge 74.

Class 2A

Six of the eight teams in the state final have won at least 18 games. The finalists have a combined win-loss record of 151-31, a winning percentage of .830.

Champaign Holy Cross (20-5) battles Elmwood (19-5) in the first quarterfinal game Saturday at 10:00 a.m. Seneca (17-6) faces Normal Epiphany (21-2) in the second game at 11:30 a.m. Then Liberty (19-1) meets Greenfield (24-1) at 1:00 p.m. In the final quarterfinal game at 2:30 p.m. it's Stewardson-Strasburg (18-5) versus Lockport Fairmount (13-6). The winners advance to semifinal games Saturday at 5:00 and 6:30 p.m.

Champaign Holy Cross did not have an easy road into the state final. The Crusaders were seeded No. 1 in the regional and beat rival Champaign St. Matthew 33-30 in the regional final before stopping Arthur 38-34 in the sectional. Holy Cross has 5-11 Christopher Caulfield, 5-10 Sam Powers, and 5-8 Austin Tabeling available for the front line.

Elmwood has a pair of 6-foot centers in seventh grader Nick Groeper and sixth grader Andrew Jordan. The Trojans also have four other players 5-7 or taller. They are 5-8 Collin Reinecheker, 5-7 Matt Almasi, 5-7 Sam Kepple and 5-7 Tom Almasi. Elmwood has scored double digit wins in all three of its state series games.

Seneca's tallest player is 5-11 guard Conlan Callahan. The Raiders have 5-9 Clayton Cole at center and 5-7 Austin Applebee at forward. No other player is taller than 5-5.

Normal Epiphany was seeded fourth in the rugged Bloomington Holy Trinity regional, beat No. 1 seed Bartonville Monroe 37-34 in the regional semifinal and No. 3 seed Normal Metcalf 38-34 in the regional final before a 20-point win in the sectional. The Knights have a pair of 6-0 centers in Brian Eakle and Joe Craven along with 5-10 forward Jake Wolf.

Liberty has nine players on the roster and none are taller than 5-4. The two at 5-4 are guard Connor Wolf and center Lane Ippensen. The Eagles beat perennial contender Carthage, 38-30 in the sectional.

Greenfield also has nine players on the roster, but all of them are 5-5 or taller. Three of them are 5-10 and all are listed as centers. They are Marc Jennings, Sam Krotz and Luke Hatley. Forward Dakota Coffey is 5-9 and guard Riley Marsh is 5-8.

Stewardson-Strasburg's size is in 5-10 forward Jason Fry and 5-9 center Garret Ferguson. The Stars were seeded No. 1 in the regional and beat traditional power Effingham St. Anthony 26-25 in the regional final before stopping traditional power Nokomis JHS 34-24 in the sectional. Stewardson-Strasburg is in a coop with Stewardson Trinity Lutheran.

Lockport Fairmont entered the state series with a 10-6 record, won the regional with wins by 26 and 18 points and then stopped Bourbonnais St. George 40-32 in the sectional.

Of the 101 players listed on the rosters of the eight finalists, three are fifth graders, 11 are sixth graders and 87 are seventh 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 by size: Lockport Fairmont 75, Stewardson-Strasburg 76, Normal Epiphany 78, Champaign Holy Cross 86, Greenfield 86, Liberty 95, Elmwood 111 and Seneca 124.

Class 3A

Monticello (24-0), Casey-Westfield (23-0) and Monmouth-Roseville (20-0) are unbeatens in a Class 3A field that boasts a combined win-loss record of 150-24, a winning percentage of .862. Seven of the eight have four or fewer losses. Half of the field has won at least 20 games. Repeaters from last year's state final are Madison, which finished third and Lincoln JHS, which lost in the quarterfinals.

Madison (17-3) plays Monticello (24-0) in the first quarterfinal game Saturday at 10:00 a.m. South Holland McKinley (17-1) faces Casey-Westfield (23-0) at 11:30 a.m. Eureka (18-4) battles Lincoln JHS (11-14) at 1:00 p.m. Paxton-Buckley-Loda (20-2) plays Monmouth-Roseville JHS (20-0) at 2:30 p.m. The winners meet in the semifinals Saturday at 5:00 and 6:30 p.m.

Returning for Madison is 5-4 guard Demetrius Kirkwood who scored 29 points in three state final games last year. The Spartans have 5-9 forward Jimmy Jones, 5-8 center Cortez McDowell and 5-7 center Jawan Brawley up front. Madison has outscored three state series opponents by a combined 149-59, including a 62-12 win over Blue Mound Meridian in the sectional.

Monticello has a huge team with seven of its 13 players 5-11 or taller. Ben Splittstoesser is the tallest player on the team and in the state final at 6-4. The Sages have outscored three state series opponents 130-79.

South Holland McKinley has 6-0 center Romeo Bryant, 5-10 center Spencer Dunn and 5-9 forward Christian Scott. The Monarchs have outscored three state series foes by a combined 158-89.

Casey-Westfield's path to the state final was a rugged one. The Braves played three perennial contenders along the way, beating Paris Mayo 67-24 in the regional semifinals, Robinson Nuttall 57-42 in the regional final and Teutopolis 37-23 in the sectional. Tallest player for the Braves is 5-10 guard Brandon Wolfe. At forward are 5-9 Colton Sewell, 5-9 Zach Murphy and 5-8 Jordan Brandenburg.

Eureka was the No. 2 seed in the regional and beat top-seeded Germantown Hills 45-35 in the regional final before slipping past Washington Central 29-27 in the sectional. The Hornets have 6-0 Kent Hinrichsen and 5-9 Tylor Hartl at center with 5-8 Tate Taufer and 5-8 Philip Schmidgall at forward.

Lincoln JHS entered the state series with an 8-14 record. Only three of the 15 players on the roster are taller than 5-5. The Trojans have sixth graders Will Cook and Shawn Cannon with seventh graders Max Cook, Wes White and Josh Varboncouer in the usual starting lineup, and rotate in Adam Conrady, Grant Cooper and Bobby Dunovsky. The Cooks are brothers. Max Cook scored 24 of the team's 36 points in its 36-17 sectional win over Rushville Schuyler Industry. Seeded No. 3 in the regional, Lincoln JHS beat Athens 45-14, then second seed Pleasant Plains 30-9 followed by No. 1 seed Williamsville 21-15 in the title game.

Paxton-Buckley-Loda has outscored three state series opponents 123-73. Six of the 13 players on the Panthers' roster are 5-8. They are forward Grant Iverson, forward Trey Pound, guard Drew Schrodt, forward Kyle Sanders, forward Jerry Gerndt and center Wil Boman.

Monmouth-Roseville JHS has outscored its three state series opponents by an average of 49-22. The Titans stopped Dunlap Valley MS 38-28 in the sectional at Farmington after wins of 46-18 over Stronghurst West Central and 62-20 over Aledo in the regional. Tallest player for the Titans is 5-11 center Trayvon Smith. At 5-7 are center Junior Godina and forward Dalton Hottle.

Of the 104 players listed on the rosters of the eight finalists, 10 are sixth graders and 94 are seventh 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 by size: Madison 136, Casey-Westfield 191, Eureka 239, Paxton-Buckley-Loda 245, Monmouth-Roseville JHS 246, Lincoln JHS 266, Monticello 274 and South Holland McKinley 278.

Class 4A

Four teams bring unbeaten records into the Class 4A state final, and the battle for the 2009 state title should be a wild one. The combined win-loss record of the eight finalists is 150-21, a winning percentage of .877. Six of the eight have two or fewer losses.

East St. Louis Clark (20-0) and Bolingbrook Jane Addams (25-0) square off in the first quarterfinal game Saturday at 10:00 a.m. Then Phoenix Coolidge (18-2) tangles with Matteson Colin Powell (15-6) at 11:30 a.m. Shorewood Troy (10-11) plays Morton JHS (24-0) at 1:00 p.m. In the last quarterfinal game at 2:30 p.m. Rantoul Eater (17-2) meets Springfield Grant (20-0). The winners meet Saturday at 5:00 and 6:30 p.m.

It was a bit of a struggle for East St. Louis Clark to get out of the regional with a 34-33 win over rival East St. Louis Younge in the semifinals and a 34-30 win over Cahokia Wirth in the final. The Cardinals took a 45-36 win over Alton in the sectional. Three of the 11 players on the roster are 5-8 or taller. They are 5-9 forward Damarna Cannon-Powers, 5-8 forward Darrell Jackson and 5-8 forward Alonzo Phiffer.

Bolingbrook Jane Addams has one of the tallest teams in the state final. Centers for the Mustangs are 6-2 Marcus Yarbrough, 6-1 Kenneth Williams and 5-10 Jarred Rogers.

Of the 13 players on the roster for Phoenix Coolidge, six are 5-0 or shorter and the remaining seven are 5-8 or taller. Five of the 13 are sixth graders and eighth are seventh graders. The Tigers list 6-1 Justin Taylor and 6-0 DeAndre Mahaffey as centers with 6-0 Xavier Robinson 5-10 Deon Benton and 5-10 Bobby Johnson at forward.

Matteson Colin Powell was seeded No. 3 in the regional and escaped it with a 33-31 win over sixth-seeded Frankfort Hickory Creek, then a 49-47 semifinal win over Mokena and a 34-31 win over Frankfort Summit Hill in the title game. The 44-34 sectional win over Kankakee JHS was easy in comparison. The Eagles have only one player taller that 5-6 on a roster of 13 and that is 5-7 guard Alton Whitted.

Shorewood Troy was fourth last year in Class 4A. For height the Trojans have 5-10 Elliott Fizer at center with 5-9 Sylvester Bellamy and 5-8 Trevor Kloberdanz at forward.

Morton JHS has only three players 5-7 or taller. They are 5-7 center Damon Lemoine-Munoz, 5-8 forward Ian Saathoff and 5-7 forward Breck Swinford. The Junior Potters beat Normal Kingsley 30-25 on Kingsley's home court to win the sectional after beating East Peoria Central 42-14 and Canton Ingersoll 44-26 in the regional on their home court.

Rantoul Eater lists only one center on the roster, 5-9 Javen Cobb, and only two forwards, 5-7 Davon Thompson and 5-6 Tyrin White. The other nine players are guards. In three state series games the Bulldogs have poured in a total of 153 points, an average of 51 per game.

Led by 6-3 center Scottie Wallace, who is seven inches taller than the next tallest players on the team - 5-8 center Dakota Zubeck and 5-8 forward Larry Austin - Springfield Grant has outscored its three state series opponents by a combined 176-67. In the 67-17 win over Chatham Glenwood in the sectional, the Generals raced to a 31-4 lead after the first quarter.

Of the 103 players listed on the rosters of the eight finalists, 7 are sixth graders and 96 are seventh graders.

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: Rantoul Eater 289, Phoenix Coolidge 353, East St. Louis Clark 399, Morton JHS 446, Springfield Grant 459, Bolingbrook Jane Addams 477, Matteson Colin Powell 552 and Shorewood Troy 855.

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