Archive for March, 2014

2014 IHSA State 3A/4A Finals

Posted on March 23, 2014. Filed under: Basketball, Boys High School Basketball | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , |

2014 Boys State finals are in the books…

March 22, 2014

In short, what a weekend… in some cases, it felt like a well-written independent film that got a lot of buzz during pre-screening, in others, it felt like a Tyler Perry movie, where a third of the way through it, you knew the ending, but sat threw it.

Overall, it was entertaining and amateur sports at it’s best!


IHSA BOYS Class 3A CHAMPIONSHIP: Morgan Park 59, Lincoln 49

R-E-P-E-A-T for Chicago Public School’s Morgan Park (24-6) as they defeated Lincoln 59-49. There guard play is so underrated that, well, on this big stage, they led the way. It was the sophomore Charlie Moore and Jarrin Randall show. YUP, sophomores!

Under a nine-point deficit at the half, the Mustangs came out with more urgency as Randall hit a 3-pointer that cut the deficit to one with a little more than 7 minutes. Shortly after that he tossed a soft pass to Moore who nailed a 3 that tied the score at 41 with 6:52 left. These shots came during a 26-2 run that spanned the third and fourth quarters.

“A lot of people said my sophomores can’t come through,” Morgan Park coach Nick Irvin said. “I decided to take a gamble and they came through.”
Moore finished the championship game with 12 points, while Randall added eight.

“I didn’t feel any pressure,” Moore said after the game. “(Billy) Garrett (former Mustang now playing at DePaul) taught me a lot last year. This win feels so great. It wouldn’t hurt to come back here.”

Big man, 6’8″ Josh Cunningham, had the high-score of 13 for the Mustangs.
On the other side of the ball, Gavin Block, led Lincoln (34-3) with 19 points.

See the box score provided by Amateur Sports News Network & MaxPreps by click here.

IHSA BOYS Class 4A Third Place: Orr 55, Rockford Luthern 45

IHSA BOYS Class 4A Third Place: Stevenson 70, Edwardsville 63

Talk about a drama filled Third place game…. WHEW!!!!

As reporters, fans and even players heard about the early news from the Illinois High School Association (IHSA), that junior phenom, Jalen Brunson was suspended from the third place contest, the atmosphere was totally buzzing during pregame and opinions were flying. Why? A low-quality photo of Brunson appearing to make a middle-fingered gesture during his record-setting 56-point performance and loss to Young in the 4A semifinal game circulated on Twitter after the game.

After the contest, Brunson took to the social media to apologize for “the hand gestures towards the end of the game – completely an accident just frustration.” And followed up with clarification that he had apologized for the appearance of the image, but he said he “did not do what was portrayed.”

With sportsmanship being paramount for any stage under the IHSA umbrella, executive director Marty Hickman decided to suspend the star junior.

IHSA-Statement-Brunsonclick to read

Then, Stevenson high school appealed to the board of directors, which overturned Hickman’s decision.

In the end, Brunson played, Stevenson won, and IHSA had no comment after initial statement.


The Patriots defeated the Tigers 70-63 in the Class 4A third-place game at Carver Arena.

One night before, Brunson scored a state-finals record 56 points Friday against Young in the loss, and tonight, his play was visible, but not as many points (18). It was senior Matt Morrissey who played big under the circumstances and his final high school game as he was 4-7 from teh behind teh arc and finished with 16 points. Teammate Connor Cashaw added 17, followed by Matt Johnson who contributed 10 and five steals.

“We had a tough night shooting (Friday),” Morrissey said. “It was a good day for all of us (today). It was good way for me to go out.”

Edwardsville was led by senior guard Trevor Clay, who knocked down 21 points and snagged 8 rebounds, followed by Armon Fletcher, who added 15 points.

When asked after the game, Brunson, who has no history of behavior issues on or off the court, did not want to discuss the incident Saturday night. He was also asked whether he was concerned people were going to get the wrong idea about him.


“I know who I am and who I have around me,” Brunson said. “It is going to be an up-and-down ride through life. This is different but I think I’m handling myself pretty well, and the people who are supporting me know the real me. I think once this clears out I’ll be fine.”

A WORD FROM THE PHOTOGRAPHER: When Photos Lie: Sticking Up for Jalen Brunson ~click here


His father, and former NBA player Rick Brunson, warned his son about the potential pitfalls of social media, and in this case it was Twitter.

“I’ve told that guy about Twitter,” Rick Brunson said. “Stay off Twitter. Now I have something to say, ‘I told you.’ Every day is a learning experience. If he learns from this, great.”

Overall, his father sees the ordeal as a learning experience.

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IHSA BOYS Class 4A CHAMPIONSHIP: Young 46, Benet 44


This was a Whitney Young type of season as both the Girls and Boys win State championships. The Boys defeated Benet 46-44 to win their first state title since 2009.

Chicago Public Schools have dominated the last six Class 4A titles between Young and Simeon, they have won all of them during this period. And on top of that, the Public League swept the 3A and 4A tournaments for the second straight year.


Going into the game, we all wanted to see the number one player in the country, Jahlil Okafor, go up against another big man in the state, Sean O’Mara. Well, they battled but it was Miles Reynolds who performed on this stage, knocking down 19 points and keeping the Dolphins ahead all night.

Reynolds, a St. Louis recruit, had the hot hand early, hitting a pair of 3-pointers and scoring eight first-quarter points to stake the Dolphins (29-5) to an 18-10 lead.


“Jahlil made it real easy for me tonight,” Reynolds said. “He was getting doubled all night. Jahlil and Sean O’Mara was supposed to be a great match-up but it didn’t live up to some of the expectations because both teams play great defense. I knew it would be my night.”

The RedWings (25-8) trailed by 10 at the half and never drew even, but they did managed to make things interesting during the last two minutes as then went on an 8-0 run cut Young’s lead to 44-42 with 24 seconds to play.

But another Division-1 one recruit, Paul White, Georgetown, answered with two clutch free throws five seconds later, and Young did not have to inbound the ball after Benet’s Liam Nelligan made it 46-44 with five seconds left. White finished with 8 points and 7 rebounds.

“It was down to one game, and it was a hard battle to come out on top,” Okafor said. “Me, Paul and Miles came in together as freshmen, and to finally do it as seniors, it’s all we wanted. I heard Sean O’Mara on an interview last night; he said he was hoping for some one-on-one. I figured that would mean they would match up. I was a little disappointed they were helping out. I just tried to keep my composure, and Miles did a great job leading us.”

Okafor finished the game with 8 points and 6 rebounds. Colin Bonnett led the RedWings with 12 points and 6 rebounds, while  O’Mara had 8 points and 8 rebounds.

IHSA Girls State Finals
Class 4A Champs
Young 60, Rolling Meadows 44

Class 4A third place
Marian Catholic 45, Geneva 34

Class 3A Championship
Montini 57, Joliet Cath 44

Class 3A third place
Quincy Notre Dame 64, Burlington Central 40

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2014 Girls 4A State Finals

Posted on March 7, 2014. Filed under: Basketball, Girls High School Basketball, High School Basketball | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , |

It’s March which means it’s State Finals Time…

March 8, 2014 – updated

March 7, 2014


Four teams came down…. two are left to play for the Title!

Rolling Meadows 44, Whitney Young 60 (title game)

The tip that started the Girls Class 4A championship…

NORMAL, Ill. — It was a sophomore who led them to this years’ championship – none other than 5’8″ Kiara Lewis, who secured the Class 4A girls basketball state championship Saturday evening and their third state championship and second in three years.
She knocked down 20 points and was 8-for-13 from the field, including perfect from the charity stripe.

Lewis scored seven points in the third quarter and her 3-pointer and assist to Taylor Malone on the ensuing possessions gave the Dolphins a 40-24 lead. During this period, they never looked back.
“I just came out real intense and I wanted a state championship after what happened last year and not being able to play,” Lewis said. “I came out strong. The whole weekend we came out fast and strong.”

What a fantastic way to end this season especially as Lewis missed all of last season with a knee injury.

“She was huge for our team this year and today,” Young coach Corry Irvin shared about Lewis. “As a team, I thought our defense on Alexis (Glasgow) was huge, and Jackie (Kemph) had to work extra hard to get shots off.”

On the other side of the ball, the Mustangs (29-5), senior Jenny Vliet, played her heart out keeping them in the game as best she could. They even received a surprised gift when Texas A&M recruit, Khaalia Hillsman fouled out on a normal foul (her fourth) then she received a quick technical. This all occurred with a little more than 4 minutes left in regulations, but the Mustangs couldn’t capitalize only scoring just two points the rest of the game.

Vilet finished the game with the game-high of 21 points to go with 10 boards.
“I think it’s a pretty safe bet to say they’ll be the best group that I’ll ever coach,” Rolling Meadows coach Ryan Kirkorsky said. “It will probably be the best group to go through Rolling Meadows, and maybe the Mid-Suburban League.”

The Dolphins (32-3) opened and closed this season in an ironic manner – first game (December 7) they defeated the Mustangs 54-40, defeated them tonight for state bragging rights.

FUN FACTS: To date, the Dolphins are on a 16 game winning streak.

Marian Catholic 45, Geneva 34 (third place game)

NORMAL, IL – It wasn’t perfect but it was a victory as the Spartans defeated the Vikings 45-34 in the third place state finals.
Marian Catholic stretched out to a lead and never let it go behind the play of senior, DePaul-recruit Ashton Millender, who knocked down 16 points and 7 boards.

“As a senior I was out there enjoying my last moments of playing basketball in high school,” Millender said. “We just said to forget about Friday. We can’t do anything about it, so we just have to move on and win tonight.”

But this contest was a tale of 2 halves because in the third quarter, they went super cold, and only scored three points to the Vikings 11, making the score 26-21. All of the Vikings points except two were from the free throw line.
The Vikings did get the game down to three points at the 7:40 mark in the fourth when Abby Novak nailed a couple of shots from the charity stripe making the game 26-23.

Shortly after that, sophomore guard Gabrielle Cooper knocked down a big three, 29-23. Geneva scored a field goal and Ms. Cooper did it again – nailed a needed three. This stopped the Vikings momentum and slowed down the tempo, and the Spartans will return to Chicago Heights 1-1 in this years’ state finals.

After last nights loss, this was a good win for the young team to develop from.

“I thought we got a couple of good looks, but we missed a couple of layups and some shots within the paint,” Marian coach Dan Murray said. “The biggest thing in the third quarter was that we couldn’t get into some of our pressure [defense] and it became a little bit of a half-court game, which worked to the strength of Geneva.”

Geneva was led by Abby Novak who scored 13 points.

Below are the updates from Friday – the semifinal games…

Geneva 43, Rolling Meadows 51

Nice win for the Mustangs behind the play of there three-headed monsters: Jackie Kemph (13 pts), Jenny Vilet (11 pts), and Alexis Glasgow (18 pts).
The Vikings lost some of their momentum when 6’1″ senior Sidney Santos fouled out with 2:54 left in regulation. She finished the game with 2 points and 4 assist, but her presence in the point was huge.
Rolling Meadows will face the winner of the next contest between Chicago’s Whitney Young and returning champs, Marian Catholic.

Young 60, Marian Catholic 20

In a word… thorough! What a difference a year makes. Last year, the Spartans jumped out early and often against the Dolphins, this year, TOTAL opposite as they advance to the state finals today winning 60-20 Friday night at Redbird arena.
“The feeling of last year always lingered with me, so I’m glad we were able to pull this out,” Young senior center Khaalia Hillsman said.

Marian (27-5) shot 3-for-23 and Ashton Millender was held to four points during the first half. Young made 15 of its 26 first-half shot attempts for a 35-8 edge.

Marian Catholic didn’t reach the double-digit mark until Kauai Bradley’s 3-foot running banker in the lane 44 seconds into the second half.

Kiara Lewis led all players with 15 points and 10 boards, followed by teammate Hillsman, who also had a double-double 10 points and 10 rebounds.

The Dolphins will face Rolling Meadows Saturday night at 8:15 p.m. for the Girls Class 4A title. Young defeated the Mustangs 54-40 in its first game this season.

To see there road traveled to the Illinois State semifinals… click here!

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2014 Girls 3A State Finals

Posted on March 7, 2014. Filed under: Basketball, Girls High School Basketball, High School Basketball | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , |

It’s March which means it’s State Finals Time…

March 8, 2014 – updated

March 7, 2014


Four teams came down…. two are left to play for the Title!
Montini 57, Joliet Catholic 44 (title game)

NORMAL, IL – The Broncos (34-2) shot with lots and lots of confidence from behind the arc to win this years’ Class 3A state title game against Joliet Catholic, 57-44.
They shot 11-for-20 from downtown led by Kelly Karlis, who knocked down four, and teammates Lea Kerstein and Kateri Stone tagged teamed for three each.

“We saw a tendency in their defenses, and we used our bigger kids to that side,” coach Jason Nichols said after the game. “We did a little bit of shifting to there, and our girls had easier looks off that. … We put shooter to shooter on the same side. That’s where they have a tendency to shift their smaller girls, and that’s where we shifted.”

Kerstein finished the game with 13 points, while Stone added 12.

Cross-court, senior Michigan State-recruit Jasmine Lumpkin finished the game with a double-double, 12 points, 10 rebounds and 4 steals, but that wasn’t enough
“They shot the ball well, and when they’re shooting like that there’s nothing we can do,” Lumpkin said after the game in Normal. “They were hot and they were hitting them. They really had that corner 3 knocked down.”

The Angels (27-3) did cut the deficit to two late in the third quarter following a needed basket by Nicole Ekhomu’s, but the Broncos Kaylee Bambule and Kerstein responded by drilling back-to-back 3s to end the third.

In the end, the Angel leading scorer was sophomore Nicole Ekhomu, who scored 14 points.

FUN FACT: Montini seniors Stone, Karlis and Sara Ross wrapped up their careers with a 138-10 record.

This is Montini’s fourth Class 3A state title in five years after placing third last season, and will be moving to the Class 4A bracket beginning next season. This is due to Illinois High School Associations new success advancement formula.

Quincy Notre Dame 64, Burlington Central 40 (third place game)
NORMAL, IL – Quincy Notre Dame leaves the state finals with a win as they run past Burlington Central, 64-40, in the IHSA Girls 3A 3rd place contest Saturday afternoon.

The Raiders were led by Kristen Gengenbacher, who scored 20 points, followed by teammate Mary Beth Hugenberg, who added 19.

The Rockets were led sophomore Sam Pryor who scored 10 points. Burlington Central is the only team here at State that doesn’t start any seniors and they made this much noise? Wow, they have a very bright future ahead of them and should have a few more trips back down here.

Below are the updates from Friday – the semifinal games…

Burlington Central 26, Montini 34

NORMAL, IL – Slow game, but the Broncos did enough to hold on and advance to the IHSA State Finals behind the play of Ohio University-recruit Kelly Karlis, who scored 10 points 5 boards and 3 steals. Teammates Lea Kerstein knocked down 8 points, followed by Kaylee Bambule who added 6.

The Broncos only scored six points in 16-plus minutes spanning three quarters. Unheard of for their style of play. Then, senior guard Kateri Stone, a veteran of three previous trips to state, ended her own scoreless drought with a steal at midcourt that was followed by a layup.

Inspired by Stone’s steal, the Broncos scored seven points in 49 seconds to rally back into the contest and seal the win.

“You have to keep fighting, and we found a way to win,” Montini coach Jason Nichols said. “It was not pretty.”

The Broncos (33-2) will face either Joliet Catholic or Quincy Notre Dame at 2 p.m. Saturday, the program’s fourth title game appearance in five years.

On the other side of the ball, the Rockets were led by Sam Pryor who scored 11 points and 6 boards.

Joliet Catholic 70, Quincy Notre Dame 59

NORMAL, IL – This game presented lots of trivia-style questions that no one “would” have ever thought “would” happen: Would the return State Class 3A finalist, Quincy Notre Dame, come out rusty on the big stage? Would the Lady Spartans captain, Jasmine Lumpkin, who have fouled out of a State semifinals game? Or would the size of Joliet Catholic be a little more than Quincy ND could handle?

Lumpkin, a Michigan State recruit, finished the game with almost the game high as she scored 15 points and snagged 6 boards. Nicole Ekomu led the the team with 16 points, 6 boards, and 3 steals, followed by Jnaya Walker who added 15.
In the end, it was the size of the Angels that won the game, and defeat last years’ champs. They will face Montini tomorrow afternoon at 2pm. Lumpkin won a couple State Championships with them prior to this weekends festivities… should be interesting!

“I’m not shocked because of their experience in summer ball, and we never bought into that philosophy,” Joliet Catholic coach Ed Schodrof said of his team’s youth. “I was confident. We’re 30 games into this season.”

Can the Angels win their first State title? Or, will Montini be able to win another Class 3A title?

To see there road traveled to the Illinois State semifinals… click here!

People also read the following…


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2014 Girls State Final Preview

Posted on March 7, 2014. Filed under: Basketball, Girls High School Basketball, High School Basketball | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , |

100 Days Later – 8 teams still stand – four from each class: 3A / 4A

March 6, 2014



Burlington Central (27-4) vs. Montini (32-2), 12:15 p.m.

Burlington Central is making its first appearance in the state finals, but it’s not likely to be the Rockets’ last. The Rockets’ has lots, I mean lots of young talent in the pipeline led by 6-foot sophomore Samantha Pryor, 5-8 sophomore guard Shelby Holt and 6-foot junior Alison Colby. They are facing a playoff-veteran, and State champion caliber team led by a pair of four-year players – 6-1 Kateri Stone and 6-2 Kelly Karlis – and featuring a deep and talented bench.

“Burlington Central is a nice young team that’s going to be hungry and eager to knock us off,” Nichols warned.

Joliet Catholic (27-2) vs. Quincy Notre Dame (29-3), 2 p.m.

Maybe it’s not the same team that won the Class 3A state title last year – 6-2 Jordan Frerichs and Kassidy Gengenbacher have both moved on – but there’s still enough talent at Quincy Notre Dame to make a serious bid for a fourth straight state title. The leaders of this year’s group are 5-11 senior Mary Beth Hugenberg and 5-10 senior Kristen Gengenbacher, who get a lot of help from 5-9 senior Cassidy Foley and her younger sister, freshman McKenzie Foley. Joliet Catholic has not been downstate since 1985. Quincy Notre Dame hasn’t missed since 2009. On the other side of the court, is a championship roster as well led by Michigan State-recruit Jasmine Lumpkin, who is averaging 18.3 points and 9.2 boards. And to add a little more fire power, teammate, Nicole Ekhomu, has superb court-vision orchestrating the offense and breaking down defenses. And to top it off, she’s a sophomore who’s averaging 14.3 points, 3.0 assists, and 2.8 steals per game.  This should be an exciting game.

3A players to watch: Burlington Central –- Sam Pryor, 6-0, So., F (14.4 points, 5.9 rebounds); Alison Colby, 6-0, Jr., F (8.2 points, 6.0 rebounds). Montini – Kateri Stone, 6-1, Sr., G (11.8 points, 5.1 rebounds, 93 3-pointers); Kelly Karlis, 6-2, Sr., G (9.9 points, 3.4 rebounds). Joliet Catholic – Jasmine Lumpkin, 6-0, Sr., F (18.3 points, 9.2 rebounds); Nicole Ekhomu, 5-9, So. G (14.3 points, 3.0 assists, 2.8 steals). Quincy Notre Dame – Mary Beth Hugenberg, 5-11, Sr., F (16.3 points, 6.2 rebounds); Kristen Gengenbacher, 5-10, Sr., G (15.7 points, 3.5 assists).



Marian Catholic (27-4) vs. Young (30-3), 8:15p.m.

Dolphins seek revenge after being caught by the Spartans last year on the same court, same game as they loss 63-39…

Coach Corry Irvin said it plain and simple “We were horrible!”

Top-ranked Dolphins (30-3) will get a chance to avenge that loss when they face defending state champion Marian Catholic (27-4) in a Class 4A semifinal at Redbird Arena Friday at 8:15 p.m. The game will follow the 6:30 p.m. semifinal between Rolling Meadows (28-4) and Geneva (26-5).

Marian Catholic is riding a 14-game winning streak heading into the state finals. The Spartans have not lost since a 60-33 thumping at the hands of Incarnate Word (St. Louis, Mo.) back on Jan. 11, although they needed a little late heroics to turn back Oak Lawn in overtime in the sectional finals. Teniya Page and Ashton Millender have carried the offensive load for first-year coach Dan Murray.

Geneva (26-5) vs. Rolling Meadows (28-4), 6:30 p.m.

Is there a hotter team around than Geneva? The Vikings have won 14 in a row and recently got Michaela Loebel back off the DL. Grace Loberg has been a revelation for the Vikings. Since coming up to the varsity, the 6-2 freshman has averaged 14 points and eight rebounds per game. But the Vikings are facing a team that has a little bit of incentive after losing in the final seconds of the 2013 state title game. “We’ve used that game as motivation,” Rolling Meadows’ Jackie Kemph said.

4A players to watch: Geneva — Grace Loberg, 6-2, Fr., C (14.3 points, 9.0 rebounds); Morgan Seberger, 5-11, Sr., G (11.0 points, 53 3-pointers). Rolling Meadows — Jackie Kemph, 5-6, Sr., G (21.2 points, 8.3 assists); Jenny Vliet, 6-2, Sr., F (14.4 points, 9.4 rebounds). Young — Khaalia Hillsman, 6-5, Sr., C (13.4 points, 14.4 rebounds); Kiara Lewis, 5-8, So., G (12.1 points, 8.3 assists). Marian Catholic — Ashton Millender, 5-10, Sr., G (16.4 points, 3.8 rebounds, 62 3-pointers); Teniya Page, 5-7, Sr., G (15.1 points, 4.7 assists).

To see there road traveled to the Illinois State semifinals… click here!

People also read the following…


bleacherreportLOGO2 maxprep NFHSCoachEd1


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Amateur Sports News Network
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