Varsity Girls Basketball - February 28

St. Thomas More 63 - IHSA - State Semi-Finals: #3 Teutopolis 43

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Sabers halfway home

Fri, 02/28/2014 - 11:15pm | Fred Kroner
NORMAL — St. Thomas More’s girls’ basketball team is on a weekend business trip. Day 1 went well. The top-ranked Sabers survived a strong challenge from Teutopolis in the Class 2A semifinals Friday to pull away for a 63-43 triumph at Illinois State University’s Redbird Arena. While other competing teams in the 38th annual state tournament went to their motels to regroup, STM went home. They are the commuter team this week. That’s fine by the players, who don’t feel like they’re missing any of the weekend’s festivities. “I like having the same routine as on a normal game schedule,” sophomore Leah Allison said. “I like traveling back and forth,” senior guard Randa Harshbarger said. “I get to sleep in my own bed, and I totally enjoy that. We treated today like another game.” That was coach Chris Mennig’s mind-set. “They’ll be able to get home and in their own beds so they can get rested and refocused for Saturday,” he said. The Sabers most enjoyed their first and last quarters against T-Town. St. Thomas More forced nine first-period turnovers and built a 16-5 lead after eight minutes. “What happened was nerves,” T-Town coach Laurie Thompson said. “We took a little off our passes, and they were right there to get it. We didn’t come out confident. One thing St. Thomas More does well is play the passing lanes and jump to the ball.” The Sabers needed a jump-start from sophomore Tori McCoy in the final minute of the third quarter after the Wooden Shoes pulled within 33-30. McCoy scored on a drive to the basket and then hit a three-pointer, both times after she brought the ball upcourt. “We had to give them something,” Thompson said. “We were going to let her take that outside shot.” Courtney Wax wasn’t surprised by her teammate’s perimeter prowess or ball-handling skills. “Coach works with all of us to be more all-around players,” Wax said. “Tori is such a versatile player.” STM (32-2) tied its school record for wins in a season by outscoring T-Town 25-13 in the last quarter. “It’s a little more relaxing to see the confidence and smiles the kids brought to the arena,” Mennig said. “I’m along for the ride with this group. “This was a fun, fun battle. T-Town gave us everything we expected and then some.” Harshbarger scored seven of her 15 points in the fourth quarter, starting with her second three-pointer less than a minute into the period. “Being a senior, I knew I could take a chance,” Harshbarger said. Last year’s appearance at state — and the runner-up finish — helped alleviate many of the first-game jitters. “We know the surroundings and what to expect,” Harshbarger said. “It’s a lot less nerve-racking.” McCoy was the game’s top scorer (17 points) and rebounder (eight). She shared the team lead in steals (four) with Harshbarger. She picked up two fouls in the first 25 seconds of the second half — raising her game total to three — but Mennig didn’t immediately go to the bench. “Some of my mentors have taught me, you have to let the best players out there,” he said. “If we were going to lose, we were going to lose with our best players on the floor.” Four STM starters scored in double figures. Elizabeth Bristow and Lexi Wallen each had 13 points. Adding in a three-pointer by Wax, the Sabers’ starters scored every point until the final 11.3 seconds, when Allison hit a pair of free throws. Wallen said there was no panic when the Wooden Shoes made their third-quarter run. “Leadership is one of our main things,” Wallen said. “Courtney and Randa do a great job.” The key, Wax said, is “with the schedule we’ve played, we’ve faced that before. We knew to stay composed.” The Sabers’ business trip will continue tonight when they make the commute for the third day in a row. In the finals, they will take on sixth-ranked Prophetstown. STM also made the trip Thursday for a shootaround and the team banquet. St. Thomas More did not hold a pep assembly Friday, but the players received an unexpected farewell sendoff. When the athletes left their last-hour classes, they found the hallways lined with students and parents wishing them well. “It was a big surprise,” Wallen said. “The whole school cheered us on. The boys’ (team), the cheerleaders. Everybody was in the hallways.” From Wax’s perspective, there’s unfinished business. “This year means a lot,” she said, “because we were in the same position last year. We don’t want the same outcome. Last year, we were overwhelmed with the sounds and the noise.” Bring it on, Wallen said. “I’d play the championship right now if I could,” she said, speaking 30 minutes after the team’s semifinal triumph. Friday’s spectator section for each school might have been greater had the boys’ teams from both programs not been playing for regional championships at separate locations. The boys’ teams from each school were triumphant and qualified for next week’s sectionals. While the players relaxed following the game and headed for their homes, it was time for Mennig to go to work. “I have a late night ahead,” he said. “There’s a lot of game film to watch.” *** St. Thomas More’s title-game opponent will be a Prophetstown program, under the direction of 37th-year coach Don Robinson, that is making its state debut. The Prophets (31-2) have an even longer winning streak (24 games) than the Sabers, who’ve won their past 22 games by margins of at least eight points. Prophetstown’s tallest player (standing 5-foot-8) would be the fourth tallest in the Sabers’ lineup that features the 6-4 McCoy, 6-0 Wallen and 5-9 Wax, with 6-1 Allison in reserve. Prophetstown topped Elmhurst Immaculate Conception (25-7) 57-48 in the final semifinal, keeping the Knights off the free throw line in the first half. Clare Kramer led the Prophets with 17 points. Teammate Karlie Stafford had 13.
  Newspaper N-G Link II – NORMAL — Chris Mennig’s Friday night wardrobe didn’t include St. Thomas More’s school colors. It was orange and blue for the Sabers’ girls’ basketball head coach. It was a tribute to his former boss, ex-Illini coach Theresa Grentz, who was invited to speak to his team moments before they took the floor at Illinois State University’s Redbird Arena for a state semifinal game against Teutopolis. “She is the reason I am at St. Thomas More,” Mennig said. “I’m wearing orange and blue because of her.” Mennig entered the locker room a few steps ahead of Grentz and was greeted by a smiling, singing group of athletes. “I have a surprise for you,” he said. “Cookies?” one player responded. “Way better than cookies,” Mennig responded. Grentz stepped forward and received a thunderous ovation. In introducing the coach who needed no introduction to this group, Mennig said, “I know my limitations, so I brought in an Olympic Hall of Famer to motivate you guys.” Grentz was direct with her message. “I want to see you play with fire, play with enthusiasm, play with passion,” Grentz said. “Play like a team. You have your moment. Do not screw it up.” As Mennig concluded his pregame talk, which focused on the keys to the game, he questioned his players. “So here we are,” he said. “Was there any doubt in your mind that we’d be back? Was there ever a doubt? “Of course not. You’ve done everything I’ve asked of you. Actually, you’re above and beyond prepared. I couldn’t ask for a better team to take to the floor tonight.” STM won 63-43 and for the second year in a row will play for a state championship. Early-game jitters For Mennig, his anxiety is over shortly after the game starts. “The first three minutes,” he said. “I’ll be OK after that because I’ll know which direction we’re going. We’ll find out early if they want to play with us or play keepaway.” No game-day test Assistant coach Scott DeWitt has three varsity players — Lauren Croft, Allie Kreie and Tori McCoy — in a geometry class. Friday was test day. The players got a reprieve until Monday. “I’d do that for anybody in any sport if they were in this situation,” DeWitt said. “They didn’t need undue stress.” Not all of their teammates were so fortunate. Sophomore Leah Allison had a Friday test and said, “It might not have gone too well.” State champion shooter Senior Devin Curry from Watseka nailed 11 of 15 three-point shots and won the Class 2A three-point shooting contest. The runner-up was Mount Carmel’s Tyra Buss, the all-time state scoring leader. “I was more nervous today,” Curry said. “There were more people here (watching).” She also qualified for state as a sophomore but did not reach the final four. She wanted to make sure she gave everything she had for her final shot. “I’ve been staying after school every day and shooting,” Curry said. Curry was the second shooter in the finals. She was fine with that placement. “I prefer not to be last,” she said. “This definitely feels good. I was honored to be here.” Earlier in the day Friday, Curry was chosen for the IBCA all-state second team. The team is a combined 1A/2A unit. Varner state runner-up There was probably not a more unlikely player to advance to state in the IHSA three-point shooting contest than Fisher’s Hannah Varner. During the regular season, she attempted one three-point shot. “When we played Shiloh, with about five seconds left, I tried one,” Varner said. “I missed it.” She did much better on her subsequent attempts. Varner advanced through the regional and sectional rounds to qualify for state. On Thursday, she hit eight shots to reach the four-person finals. She returned Friday and nailed six shots to finish as the Class 1A state runner-up. Winner Amanda Cheek, from Ullin, made eight three-pointers. “I was more nervous today (than Thursday),” Varner said. “I don’t think anyone expected anything yesterday, but today I felt more pressure.” Varner not only didn’t shoot three-pointers in the regular season, but said, “I practiced about five minutes before regionals and not at all before sectionals.” Varner hit five of her final eight shots in the finals. The future University of Illinois student, and biology major, isn’t quite ready to turn in her uniform. She was selected for an all-star game later this month in Gibson City. She has an idea what to expect. “They’ll probably make me shoot three-pointers,” Varner said. Area flavor at state Twelve state officials were chosen to referee games at Redbird Arena, including Rantoul’s Mark Brooks, a third-time selection for the finals. Brooks had the opening Class 1A semifinal game. He is the lone area official working this weekend’s tournament. Tuscola’s 53-member band, under the direction of Alison Bowen, played throughout the day Friday. The group includes some eighth-graders. The individual chosen to sing the national anthem today is Judah Christian’s Cameron Cornell. Quote of the day Central A&M’s Taylor Jordan had a game-high 20 points in her team’s 40-38 loss to Carrollton in Class 1A. Afterward, the junior had a classy response when discussing the officials. “It was physical, but it’s not their fault,” Jordan said. “They’re there to help.” Stat of the day Top-ranked Annawan forced Eastland into 31 turnovers — in the first half alone — of the second Class 1A semifinal game. Eastland attempted 13 first-half shots in a game it trailed by 26 points at intermission. Eastland finished with 47 turnovers in a game Annawan won 71-45. In six postseason games for Annawan, its closest competitor was Cissna Park in Monday’s super-sectional. That final margin was 19 points.

IHSA - State Semi-Finals: #3 Teutopolis –– February 28
Player G FGM FGA FG% 3PM 3PA 3P% FTM FTA FT% Pts P/G Ast Ast/G O.Reb D.Reb T.Reb R/G TO TO/G Blk Stl S/G Chg Foul
Game Totals 0 0

میز اداری صندلی مدیریتی صندلی اداری تبلیغات کلیکی میز تلویزیون پاراگلایدر آگهی رایگان محسن چاوشی دانلود آهنگ جدید خرید اینترنتی عکس بازیگران