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2011 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 8th grade state series. Competition in the Class 1A, Class 2A, Class 3A and Class 4A State Final Tournaments begins Saturday (December 10) and concludes the following Thursday (December 15) at four sites. This is the sixth year of IESA four-class girls basketball.

Class 1A will be hosted by Auburn Junior High in Divernon. Class 2A will be hosted by Monticello Middle School. The 3A tournament will be hosted by Warrensburg-Latham Middle School while Rochester Junior High School will be the host of Class 4A.

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, December 15 with the third place game set for 6:00 p.m. and the championship game scheduled for 7:30 p.m.

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. Results will be posted on the web site after each game. Should weather become a factor, any change in the status of the tournaments will be posted on the IESA website.

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 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 current four class system has been in place.

Complete pairings for each state final, plus the FanZone, can be found at Click on the Girls Basketball link at the top of the IESA Web Site Home Page.

Here is a look at each of the four 2011 Eighth Grade State Final Tournaments:

Class 1A

Washington St. Patrick and Cissna Park will meet in the first quarterfinal contest of the day. Cissna Park is making their second consecutive appearance in this tournament and they finished with fourth place honors last year. Washington St. Patrick has competed in this tournament twice and are looking to top the 2006 runner-up trophy they received. The 11:30 a.m. game will showcase undefeated Elmwood Park St. Celestine and Tonica in a matchup of first time attendees of the Class 1A tournament. Effingham St. Anthony vs. Bartonville Monroe will be the third quarterfinal game of the day. The eighth graders of Bartonville Monroe are no strangers to state tournaments. They took home the seventh grade state title just a year ago. It has been two years since Effingham St. Anthony's last appearance in this tournament where they took home the state championship trophy. Griggsville-Perry grinded out a close game in sectionals to secure their spot at state. They will meet Pana Sacred Heart in the last quarterfinal game of the day. Pana Sacred Heart has one other appearance in this tourney, and it was in 2006 when they were crowned state champs.

Class 2A

The Class 2A tournament will get started with a matchup between Odell and Hardin Calhoun. Both of the teams are making their first trip to this tournament and both are looking to leave their mark. The Class 2A tournament has two teams that participated in last year's eighth grade tournament. One of those teams, Champaign St. Matthew, will square off against Roanoke-Benson in the second quarterfinal game of the day. Roanoke-Benson is another team who is also making their very first trip to this tournament. The other participant in last year's tournament was Brimfield and they will take on Carthage in the 1:00 p.m. game. The eighth graders of Brimfield took home a state championship last year in the seventh grade tournament and they look to do the same again this year. Carthage beat a tough Liberty team by three points to lock up their spot at state. In the last game of the day Springfield St. Agnes will meet Stewardson-Strasburg. Once again both of these teams are newcomers to this state tournament.

Class 3A

Undefeated South Holland McKinley vs. Paxton-Buckley-Loda will kick things off for the Class 3A tournament this year. Paxton-Buckley-Loda needed an overtime win in sectionals to get to state while South Holland McKinley defeated Lockport Kelvin Grove to secure their spot. In the second quarterfinal matchup of the day, Peoria Christian will face off against Pleasant Plains. Pleasant Plains took third place in this tournament last year and Peoria Christian will be making their first appearance in Class 3A. Teutopolis is making their third straight appearance this year and they will take on Assumption Central A&M. The eighth graders of Assumption are trying to have a perfect season for the second year in a row. In the 2:30 p.m. quarterfinal game, Washington Central will play Wenona Fieldcrest to round out the field. Wenona Fieldcrest will try to top their performance last year in this tournament and Washington Central is making their first appearance since 2007 when the finished second place.

Class 4A

The Class 4A tournament is loaded with many great teams this year. The field only has a total of eight combined losses on the season. To start the day, Homer Glen Homer will go back and forth with undefeated Champaign Jefferson. Homer Glen Homer is making their first appearance and Champaign Jefferson took home the championship trophy in 2008. The second quarterfinal game will be between undefeated Normal Kingsley and Rochester. Rochester is also a past champion of this tournament, they took home the first place trophy in 2009. This Normal Kingsley team took home the seventh grade championship trophy last year with an undefeated record. They are looking to duplicate that feat again this year. The third quarterfinal game will pit Piasa Southwestern against Lansing Memorial, both teams are making their first appearance in the Class 4A tournament. Fans should not leave before the last quarterfinal game of the day. Springfield Grant and Minooka will battle it out for the last spot in the semifinals.

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