Archive for February, 2013

2013 HS Girls Basketball State SemiFinals

Posted on February 28, 2013. Filed under: Basketball, Girls High School Basketball, High School Basketball | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , |

Knock knock…. who’s there? March… March who? MARCH MADNESS!!!!!

March 1, 2013

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It’s that time again basketball fans…. March Madness time as our calendars turn to March in a couple of days Illinois features the best of the best Girls 3A / 4A basketball teams on one court at Redbird Arena on the campus of Illinois State University in Normal – Friday and Saturday, March 1-2. This is the 37th annual edition of this tourney, the 22nd consecutive year that Redbird has served as the host and the sixth year of the four-class system.

Here’s our recap of Friday’s semifinals:

Class 3A

FINAL: Vernon Hills 48, Montini 45 OT

montini vernonhills

NORMAL, Ill. — Call it an upset? Sure…. But as many coaches always say, experience sometimes is the best learning tool a young team could ever have. Well, this proved to be the winning formula for Vernon Hills as they knocked off State finals foe Montini 48-45 in overtime at Redbird Arena Friday afternoon in the IHSA Girls Class 3A semis.

The Cougars showed their growth with a composed and methodical team effort as team leader Lauren Webb knocked down 21 points from Lauren Webb, followed by Meri Bennett-Swanson, a DePaul recruit, who added 10 points, 9 rebounds, 4 blocks and Alina Lehocky, who contributed 7 points, 9 rebounds, 3 steals.

“A lot of the experience from last year really carried forth,” Vernon Hills coach Paul Brettner said. “The little things, like we don’t go out for a timeout. Little things when they are not new, make you more comfortable.”

Montini (34-2) made just six of its first 30 shot attempts and didn’t take advantage of some shaky ballhandling by the Cougars in the first half.

The Cougars led 35-24 after three quarters, but Montini junior Kelly Karlis scored seven straight points late in regulation to give the Broncos a 40-38 lead with 1 minute, 22 seconds left. Webb made two free throws and Sydney Smith missed a 3-point attempt at the buzzer for Vernon Hills.

“I thought we struggled in all phases of the game today,” Montini coach Jason Nichols said. “I think our defensive rebounding was absolutely a killer.”

Vernon Hills outrebounded Montini 50-23, including 21-9 on offense. And in overtime, the Cougars scored the first six points in overtime, and Webb made all six of her free-throw attempts in that span.

The Cougars (31-2) advance to Saturday’s 2 p.m. title game against Quincy Notre Dame, a 67-51 winner over Morton. Vernon Hills avenged last year’s state title loss to Montini, ended the Broncos’ quest for a record-breaking fourth straight championship and halted their winning streak at 21.

3A CHAMPIONSHIP — Vernon Hills vs. Quincy Notre Dame, 2 p.m. Saturday.

Vernon Hills’ Sydney Smith (13.1 ppg), Lauren Webb (12.6 ppg) and 6-2 DePaul recruit Meri Bennett-Swanson (10.9 ppg) — who all average around 11 points per game — should get theirs against Montini. Montini’s 6-4 Malayna Johnson (8.4 ppg, 7.3 rpg) and the Broncos’ young depth, featuring freshman sharpshooter Lea Kerstein and 6-1 sophomore Rainey Kuykendall, could be the difference, along with junior guard Kateri Stone (11.7 ppg).

Montini has won state titles in 2010, 2011 and 2012, compiled a 136-10 record over the last four years and has chance to become the first girls team in Illinois history to win four consecutive state titles.

LIVE GAME STATS: We are providing ALL of the LIVE action including play-by-play for this game – click here

Quincy Notre Dame 67, Morton 51

Morton Quincy-ND
Morton (30-5) vs. Quincy Notre Dame (29-0)
Quincy Notre Dame was able to potentially extend their state championship streak to three after defeating Morton Friday afternoon at Redbird Arena 67-51.

Jordan Frericks (12 points, 8 rebounds, 5 assists, 4 steals), Kassidy Gengenbacher (15 points) and Kristen Gengenbacher (13 points) led QND (29-0). Chandler Ryan had 18 points in the Morton (30-5) loss.

There winning treak dates back to back-to-back titles at the Class 2A level before moving up to Class 3A this year. Prior to this contest, Morton won 18 in a row behind 6-2 Illinois recruit Sarah Livingston (27 points, 12 rebounds in the super).


Class 4A

whitneyyoung2 mariancatholic

Marian Catholic 63, Young 39


NORMAL, Ill. — Ashton Millender was truly in the matrix during the Illinois Girls Class 3A semifinals against highly-ranked Whitney Young, as she knocked down 29 points to lead the team to the championship game against Rolling Meadows.

“I knew that I had to get touches,” Millender said. “I had to get my teammates involved, but I had to shoot the ball.”

The 5-foot-10 Millender made five straight baskets in Friday’s game, spanning the first and second quarters.

It just seems as if the Dolphins (26-5) didn’t have a sufficient game plan for Millender who played several possessions at point guard. Millender closed the first half by driving to her right, crossing over to her left and hitting an off-balanced, underhanded, left-handed scoop banker at the buzzer to extend Marian Catholic’s lead to 29-12.

“I just knew I had to keep shooting,” Millender said. “But one person doesn’t win a basketball game. It was fun out there. ”

On the defensive end, the Spartans made life miserable for Young in the paint. Young’s Linnae Harper, a McDonald’s All-American selection, finished the contest shooting 3-for-19 from the field and nine points.

“I thought Ashton played phenomenal defense on her,” Byrne said. “She did a great job of keeping her in front of her, containing her, staying low instead of falling for things.”


And from here the Spartans never let up and stretched out to as much as a 25 point lead in the second half. The game play and lack of favorable calls forced Young to come undone as they received three technical fouls, two on players and one on coach Corry Irvin.

“A lot of things went well,” Marian coach Annie Byrne said. “We definitely beat them on the battle of the boards (43-33), and that’s something we had talked about.

This was the Spartans (32-1) 19th straight victory… they need just one more against the only team they lost to early in the season (December 21, 61-55).

“We want revenge and to get them back,” Marian Catholic senior forward Megan Walsh said of playing Rolling Meadows. Walsh finished this game with 15 points.

NOTE: Whitney Young was NOT available for post-game comments and questions.

4A CHAMPION GAME — Marian Catholic vs. Rolling Meadows, 8:15 p.m. Saturday.

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Rolling Meadows 61, Huntley 44

RollingMeadows Huntley
Rolling Meadows (30-3) vs. Huntley (26-7)
With both teams making their first appearance in the state semifinals. you could see early they were nervous but Rolling Meadows was able to shake that off and get several runs to defeat Red Raiders and proceed too the finals Saturday evening against Marian Catholic.

Jackie Kemph had 12 points and 6 assists, Jenny Vliet had 18 points and 9 rebounds, and Alexis Glasgow added 16 points for Rolling Meadows (30-3). The Andrews sisters – Ali Andrews (16 points) and Sam Andrews (11 points, 7 rebounds) led Huntley (26-7).

NOTE: Rolling Meadows is the only team to beat Marian Catholic this year, and seems to have recovered from consecutive losses to Quincy Notre Dame (in OT) and Fremd to end the regular season.


The games will air live on the IHSA TV Network (click for local listings – and will also be carried live on the internet at Fans can also get unprecedented coverage of the state finals on Twitter by following @IHSAState. Lee Hall and ISU legend Jill Hutchison will bring viewers the 3A action and Dave Bernhard and Patricia Babcock McGraw step in to call the 4A games. Matt Rodewald will handle the hosting and sideline duties, along with the Class 3A and 4A finals of the Country Financial Three-Point Showdown on Friday and the Country Financial Queen of the Hill three-point shooting on Saturday, which pits the four class winners head-to-head.

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Fighting Illini steal another victory in Big Ten play

Posted on February 7, 2013. Filed under: Basketball, NCAA Sports | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , |


FINAL: Illinois 74, Indiana 72

February 7, 2013


CHAMPAIGN – Coming into tonight’s contest everything seems to be clicking for the Indiana Hoosiers (20-3, 8-2), as they reclaimed the country’s No. 1 ranking behind three impressive wins last week, and they were hoping to open up to 5-0 on the road in Big Ten and avoided a 10th loss in Champaign, but that wasn’t the case tonight.


As the home team, Fighting Illini (16-8, 3-7), continue their winning ways at home against the Hoosiers with a 74-42 victory.

With .9 seconds, senior forward Tyler Griffey made the easiest, yet biggest shot maybe of his career to seal the win. Griffey left defenders Cody Zeller and Christian Watford behind on an inbounds play from the baseline, took the pass from Brandon Paul and delivered the uncontested buzzer-beater for the Illini.

”I just made a simple curl cut and left two guys behind me, and Brandon got off a heck of a pass,” he said. ”Zeller and Watford were both right in front of me and just kind of stayed there.”

indiana basketball

Coming down the stretch, Indiana was in charge until Illinois put together a run to take and then retake the lead.

On top of it all, 6-foot-11 Nnanna Egwu fouled out with just under 5 minutes to play, Indiana looked totally in control. Egwu is the only Illini player with the size to realistically match up with the 7-0 Zeller, but size wasn’t what the Illini needed, they needed scoring….

Watford made two free throws after Egwu’s fifth foul and, at 69-59, the Illini looked done. But with the clock under 3 minutes, DJ Richardson went on a run of his own, first burying consecutive 3-pointers and then hitting a midrange jumper on the run to tie the game at 70 with 1:17 to play. Victor Oladipo’s layup put the Hoosiers back on top with 50 seconds left, but Paul answered with two free throws, the first banked in, to tie the score again at 72.

With the clock under 30 seconds, Indiana had the ball for what would have been a last shot but Oladipo fumbled the ball. Richardson picked it up and sprinted down court. Oladipo slapped Richardson’s layup out of bounds to set up the final play – .9 on the clock, and well, bad defense and lack communication on Indiana’s part.

”We didn’t communicate,” coach Crean said after the game. ”They’re very deserving of the win, they never gave in,” he added, but he qualified that with, ”We didn’t put them away when we had the opportunities. I know this, when we turn the ball over we’re not very good and the biggest difference tonight was 28 points off turnovers to our 16.”

Coach Groce credited Richardson for sparking the comeback.

”I thought he was absolutely terrific on both ends of the floor,” Groce said. ”He battled, he fought.”

Indiana’s loss drops them into a three-way tie for first in the Big Ten with Michigan and Michigan State. For the Illini, the win means a move out of 10th in the 12-team conference up into a ninth-place tie with Iowa. More importantly, it’s a potential lifeline for an Illini team that still has to face No. 18 Minnesota on the road Sunday (Big Ten Network) and had been watching its season slip away. Indiana travels to Ohio to take on Big Ten foe Ohio State Sunday afternoon (CBS)

“I can’t answer that. I’m not sure,” Crean said. ”I just know that these games are 40-minute games. We played at a high level for most of the game.”


Richardson had 23 points for Illinois, Brandon Paul had 21 and Griffey finished with 14 points and eight rebounds.

Zeller led Indiana with 14 points, while Will Sheehey had 13, Watford 12 and Jordan Hulls 11.

Indiana shot 50 percent from the field (25 of 50), 52.9 percent from 3-point range (9 of 17) and 93 percent from the free throw line (13 of 14). The Hoosiers led by an 8- to 10-point margin for most of the second half.

”It was good to get back to having that toughness and togetherness and trust that we needed,” Illinois coach John Groce said.

FUN FACT: Illinois hadn’t beaten a No. 1 team since a 2004 win over Wake Forest. 

FUN FACT: No. 1 Indiana on Thursday night, the fifth straight week the nation’s top-ranked team lost.



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2013 Big Ten matchup – Illinois host Indiana

Posted on February 7, 2013. Filed under: NCAA Sports | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , |

2013 Illini host Hoosiers

February 7, 2013

Everything appears to be clicking for Indiana, which reclaimed the country’s No. 1 ranking behind three impressive wins last week.


The Hoosiers, though, could be hard-pressed to keep their celebrations going with two difficult matchups in store.

Looking to open 5-0 on the road in Big Ten play, Indiana tries to avoid a 10th loss in 11 visits to Illinois on Thursday night.

indiana basketball

Indiana (20-2, 8-1) opened 2012-13 ranked No. 1 and spent five weeks there before suffering an 88-86 overtime defeat to Butler on Dec. 15. While a 64-59 home loss to Wisconsin on Jan. 15 also raised some eyebrows, the Hoosiers have since won five straight by an average of 16.2 points.

That run includes a 75-70 victory over then-No. 13 Michigan State and a 97-60 rout at Purdue, but beating then-No. 1 Michigan 81-73 on Saturday was undoubtedly Indiana’s most notable result. Sophomore standout Cody Zeller had 19 points and 10 rebounds as all five starters scored in double figures.

“It’s a huge accomplishment,” junior Victor Oladipo said of getting back to No. 1. “You know we started there, we had a hard road to get back here. We’re just going to continue to keep working.”

While Indiana is excited about the recognition, coach Tom Crean doesn’t want his team getting caught up in the hoopla.

“That’s not what they play for,” Crean said. “I think they truly are learning that those things are nice, but playing to improve, to win games like this, to face some adversity and fight through it, that’s what matters. When we were not No. 1 in December they heard those things. Were we any worse because we lost by two? We didn’t play very well that day.”


The Hoosiers haven’t played very well during their last several trips to Champaign, either. Indiana has dropped three straight and nine of 10 at Illinois, with its lone win coming 83-79 in double-overtime Feb. 7, 2008.

“We know that the challenge is great this week in going to Illinois and then to (No. 10) Ohio State (on Sunday),” said Crean, whose team took the last matchup in this series 84-71 at home last Feb. 9.


The Fighting Illini (15-8, 2-7), who’ve dropped six of seven while yielding 72.1 points per game, are hoping to avoid a season-worst fourth consecutive loss after falling 74-68 to Wisconsin on Sunday. Illinois has allowed opponents to shoot 51.3 percentage during the skid.

“Defensively, I thought we were atrocious (last week),” coach John Groce said. “And until we get that figured out, then obviously we’re not going to be where we want to be. At this point, we’re kind of at a crossroads with our defense, we’ve got to get better.”

The Illini figure to have their hands full against a Hoosiers team that’s averaging 83.8 points, the country’s second-best mark. Indiana’s 50.1 field-goal percentage ranks sixth.

“Obviously, they bring several challenges. They’re a really good basketball team, they’re well coached,” Groce said. “They’ve got size, they’ve got depth, they’ve got shooting, they’ve got point-guard play.

“But to be honest, as we approach this week, it’s more about us. … We’ve got to get recommitted and be more difficult to score against, regardless of who we play.”

Senior Brandon Paul is averaging a team-leading 17.4 points for Illinois but has posted 13.8 per game in his last four.

Indiana freshman point guard Yogi Ferrell is averaging 12.8 points over his last four contests – 5.1 more than his season mark.

The Hoosiers haven’t won their first five league games in opposing arenas since opening 6-0 in 1992-93.



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Future NFL Superbowl locations

Posted on February 7, 2013. Filed under: Football, Sporting News, Sports Business | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , |

The game you love will be at the following locations….

February 4, 2013


Bring your parka to the Super Bowl next year because it is going to be cold. The Super Bowl breaks from tradition in 2014 as it heads to a cold-weather city in an outdoor stadium. The NFL, however, didn’t seem too concerned about the weather when it gave New York the big game a few years ago. MetLife Stadium is wide open, so even if there’s no precipitation, fans who pay thousands of dollars for tickets might want to drop a few more bucks for a warm winter coat.

Things will get a little warmer for America’s favorite game in the proceeding years. For more, click here.

The host site for the Super Bowl is only determined through 2015, but the finalists have been determined through 2017.

2014 Super Bowl: East Rutherford, N.J.

Date: Feb. 2, 2014

The Giants and Jets will be showcasing their home stadium, which opened in 2010.

Of course, this site has drawn plenty of attention. For starters, it’s the Big Apple, and anything that goes on there is going to get extra attention, but we also have the weather.

We’ve grown accustomed to seeing the Super Bowl be played beyond the reach of Mother Nature, but it would be a shock if the elements didn’t come into play in some shape or form.

2015 Super Bowl: Glendale, Ariz.


Date: Feb. 1, 2015

Back to the desert for the 2015 Super Bowl. The big game will be held at the University of Phoenix Stadium.

It was last at this site in 2008. You remember that one—I know David Tyree does.

We can only hope this Super Bowl will be as entertaining as that one.

2016 Super Bowl: TBD


–  49ers

Miami Dolphins Football Stadium                                     future stadium of 49ers

This will be the 50th Super Bowl. To commemorate the honor, the NFL will decided on the host city between the familiar South Florida location and the new 49ers stadium, which is currently being built in Santa Clara.

2017 Super Bowl: TBD


For the 51st Super Bowl, Houston will throw its hat into the ring against the site that loses out on the previous year’s Super Bowl.

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