1A Dual Team State Meet, at Grossinger Motors Arena, Bloomington, 11 a.m.
WRESTLING STATE FINAL HIGHLIGHTS
Kuehl’s state title leads PantherHawk quartet: Lena-Winslow senior Ian Kuehl can add a wrestling championship to his state football championship.
Nearly 3 months after he led the Panthers to a 1A football championship, Kuehl found state championship success once more Saturday at the IHSA State Finals at State Farm Center in Champaign.
Kuehl pinned Keaton Fogler of Standorf Olympia in the 285-pound championship bout in 3 minutes, 25 seconds. The pin was Kuehl’s fourth in four state final matches. Only Kuehl and Hononegah’s Anthony Cassioppi (3A, 285) recorded four pins at state.
In his semifinal bout, Kuehl held down Immaculate Conception’s David Vargas long enough to barely beat the first period buzzer, scoring the pin in 1:59. Before that, Kuehl scored pins against Prairie Central’s Alex Steidinger (3:11) and Hope Academy’s Reginald Young (1:17).
Kuehl became Lena-Winslow’s seventh state champion since the co-op with Stockton began. He took third place last year at 285. Vandalia’s Anthony Enlow, who took third, was the only wrestler to defeat Kuehl this season, at the Litchfield Tournament.
Rahveon Valentine (170) couldn’t score a takedown against Prairie Central’s Drew Hoselton in his championship bout, and an escape point he allowed proved to be the difference in the 1-0 loss.
Valentine broke free from Clifton Central’s Jacob Smith in a semifinal bout during an ultimate tiebreaker, escaping from the bottom position in a 3-2 win. Valentine started his tournament with a pin of Westchester St. Joseph’s JaVontay Bright in 1:17, and followed that with a 16-8 major decision against Mt. Carmel’s Ryan Johnson.
Valentine became the first wrestler in PantherHawks history to win state medals in each of his four appearances. He was fourth as a freshman at 132 pounds, fifth as a sophomore at 138, and third as a junior at 170.
Hunter Luke (138) placed fourth for the PantherHawks. He scored an 11-4 decision over Litchfield’s Collin Davidson and pinned Knoxville’s Reuben Cantu in 3:31 before falling 5-1 to Immaculate Conception’s Joey Bianchini in a semifinal. Luke eventually lost to Rockridge’s Nolan Throne 9-8 in the third-place bout.
Jaden Rice (106) dropped his only match, losing to Althoff’s Matthew Minick 4-2.
Tyler Fleetwood’s third leads Steamers: Tyler Fleetwood went from being on his back to being back in familiar territory.
The Fulton senior rebounded from a rough semifinal round to win two bouts Saturday and claim third place at 132 pounds.
A two-time defending state champion, Fleetwood adds to quite a collection, as he also finished fourth as a freshman.
That made the position he was in Friday so shocking. In the semifinals, he was pinned in 3 minutes, 40 seconds by the eventual champion, Jared VanVleet of Stillman Valley. VanVleet needed overtime to subdue Fleetwood in the Oregon Sectional.
Fleetwood began his Saturday with a 3-0 win against Belleville Althoff’s Anthony Federico. A takedown 35 seconds into the bout staked Fleetwood to an early lead, and he added a third-period escape.
In the third-place bout, Fleetwood avenged another sectional loss by taking a 5-3 decision against Alleman freshman Jack Patting.
Tyler’s twin brother, Taylor, also capped off his high school career with a medal. He placed fourth at 285 pounds, matching his place as a sophomore. He was a state runner-up as a junior.
Taylor Fleetwood had all kinds of trouble with Vandalia sophomore Anthony Enlow, who won a pair of bouts between the two. The first came in the quarterfinals on Friday afternoon, when Enlow took a 5-0 decision.
The second came in the third-place bout, which Enlow won 1-0, with the only point being an escape at the 1:16 mark of the second period. Fleetwood was unable to escape in the third period to gain the tying point.
Taylor Fleetwood got into the medal round with a 9-7 win against Orion’s Logan Lee in the wrestleback quarterfinals. It was the fourth meeting between the two this season. Lee pinned Fleetwood the first two times, then Fleetwood won a 10-9 decision at the Rockridge Regional, followed by a 9-7 decision at state.
In the wrestleback semifinals, Taylor Fleetwood was a 2-1 overtime winner against IC Catholic’s David Vargas. Fleetwood rode out Vargas in the first 30-second OT period, then quickly escaped from the down position to nab the win.
Eli Pannell (195), the Steamers’ single-season pins leader, lost a 7-2 decision to Beardstown’s Chad Grimm in the wrestleback semifinals, then dropped a 7-5 contest to Stillman Valley’s Drake Jennings for fifth place.
Newman 2-for-2 in medal winning: Kyle Tunink and Brody Ivey were the only Comets to advance to the state finals, and both earned medals for the respective finishes – Tunink fourth, and Ivey sixth.
Tunink (120) reached the semifinal round before falling to Coal City’s Alex Friddle 5-2. He bounced back to win an 8-0 major decision against Bishop McNamara’s Caleb Magruder in the wrestleback semifinals. A takedown and three back points midway through the second period put him in the driver’s seat.
Ivey (145) also reached the semifinal round before falling to eventual state champion Trey Hild of PORTA 5-0. Ivey then lost 5-2 to Roxana’s Alex Maguire in the wrestleback semifinals, then fell 6-2 to Aurora Christian’s Eli Ibarra in the fifth-place bout.
Garcia’s fourth leads Golden Warriors: Turner Garcia’s state finals didn’t start off on the right foot, but it ended with a 2A fourth-place medal at 160 pounds.
Garcia needed the wrestler who beat him in Thursday’s preliminary round, Grayslake Central’s Alex Cramer, to win again just to be eligible for wrestlebacks. When Cramer obliged, Garcia was in. He opened with a 4-2 win against Champaign Centennial’s Cam Nesbitt on Friday.
On Saturday, Garcia drew Crystal Lake Central’s Frank Carone in the wrestleback quarterfinals and eked out a 6-4 decision. Garcia was penalized twice for stalling, once in the second period and again in the third, but gained a match-deciding reversal with a mere 19 seconds remaining. It got him into the medal round.
The magic continued in the wrestleback semifinal round, where he trailed 10-3 after two periods against Dalton Hall of Champaign Central. Garcia, however, got Hall to his back and won by pin at the 4:48 mark.
In the third-place bout, however, Garcia ran into a force he couldn’t overcome in Hampshire’s Casey Allen, who won by pin in 56 seconds.
Isaiah Figueroa (138) lost both of his state bouts; falling to eventual state champion Riley Palm in 1:11, and being on the wrong end of a 12-1 major decision against St. Rita’s Jake Viloria.
Doty makes history: Eastland freshman Ethan Doty, who wrestles as part of the West Carroll-Eastland co-op, became the first wrestler from his school to win a state medal as a freshman.
Wrestling at 120 pounds, Doty finished in fifth place. He is the fourth wrestler from Lanark High or Eastland to place at state, following Pat Dapkus and Nathan Hoffberg (both in 2001), and Mike Nansel (1983).
Doty split a pair of bouts Saturday to wind up fifth. He opened with a 9-0 major decision loss against Lutheran’s Schrank, but rebounded with a pin of McNamara’s Magruder in the fifth-place bout.
Doty pinned Magruder twice. The first came at the 1:13 mark of a quarterfinal bout on Friday morning. The second came in a mere 59 seconds in the fifth-place bout.
“I wrestled that guy before, so I already knew I had fifth place locked in,” Doty said. “It’s just really fun being here.”
Morrison duo eliminated early: Augustus Linke and Reilly Dolan had to wait to see if they got a chance to continue their seasons in wrestlebacks following opening-round losses. However, that didn’t happen.
Linke lost 11-4 to Belleville Althoff’s Max Kristoff at 138 pounds, while Dolan fell 14-2 to Murphysboro’s Ryan Chambers at 145.
GIRLS BASKETBALL SCHEDULE
Country Financial 1A Three-point Showdown preliminaries, 5 p.m.
1A State semifinal at Redbird Arena, Normal, Belvidere Supersectional winner vs. Salem Supersectional winner, 11:15 a.m.
Country Financial 1A Three-point Showdown finals, 12:45 p.m.
1A State semifinal at Redbird Arena, Normal, Brown County Supersectional winner vs. Pontiac Supersectional winner, 1 p.m.
1A State consolation game, at Redbird Arena, Normal, 11:15 a.m.
1A State championship game, at Redbird Arena, Normal, 1 p.m.
GIRLS BASKETBALL HIGHLIGHTS
Blackhawks top Eastland in 1A Aquin Sectional: Stockton’s quest to win its first sectional title since 2010 first ran through a rather familiar opponent.
Eastland had suffered a pair of defeats against the Blackhawks, but had a win against them early in the season at the Forreston Tournament.
The Cougars came into the sectional semifinal game Feb. 13 used to playing from behind. Two fourth-quarter comebacks at the 1A Newman Regional lifted Eastland to a second regional title, and they were poised to pull off a third straight come-from-behind win after Lydia Coatney converted a three-point play to put Eastland up by one in the final minute.
However, a layup by Elizabeth Eisfeller with 29 seconds to go and a free throw from Katie Wright sealed the Blackhawks’ 48-46 victory.
Stockton led from the gate until Eastland took its first lead at 37-36 just a minute into the fourth quarter, and Coatney tied the score at 43 with 2:07 to play. The Cougars hit just 5 of 13 free throws, and couldn’t get a final shot with 1.4 seconds to go with the ball.
The Blackhawks led 17-6 after the opening quarter. Emily Offenheiser had six points and three offensive rebounds in the first, while Tiana Timpe had nine points for the Blackhawks.
Stockton was just 1-for-11 from the field and 3-for-5 from the free-throw line in the second quarter, but still led 22-17 at halftime after Kali Haas’ layup at the intermission buzzer. Eastland couldn’t catch up due to a 7-for-29 performance from the floor in the first half.
Eastland cut it to a one-possession game twice before a Henze 3 knotted the score at 26 with 5:38 left in third quarter. But the Blackhawks pulled down six offensive boards in the third, and kept a 34-32 advantage despite Katie Krogman’s jumper right before the horn.
Stockton shot 40 percent (18-for-45) from the field, and sank 11 of 20 foul shots. Offenheiser dominated the paint with 18 points, 16 rebounds and a block. Tina Timpe finished with 10 points, Eisfeller chipped in nine points, and Megan Gille added eight points and 10 boards.
Eastland shot just 37 percent (19-for-51) from the floor. Coatney and Henze led the Cougars with 12 points apiece.
Stockton went on to win the Aquin Sectional championship with a 71-65 win Thursday over the hosts.
The Blackhawks had three players score in double-figures. Timpe led the way with 18 points, Aspyn Stewart scored 15 points, and Elizabeth Eisfeller added 13 points.
Stockton advanced to the 1A Belvidere Supersectional Monday to try for its first trip to the state finals since 2001. The game was played after Prairie Advocate’s press deadline for the Feb. 14 edition.
Sterling sees history, but bows out in regionals: The Golden Warriors on Wednesday couldn’t follow up a historic performance from junior Josi Borum on Monday, seeing their season end against the Rockford Lutheran Crusaders in a 3A Dixon Regional semifinal, 58-40.
In a 73-44 win over Freeport, Borum recorded the first triple-double in Sterling history: 15 points, 11 assists, 10 rebounds.
She achieved the feat with a couple of minutes remaining in the game in one motion: she grabbed an offensive board, and after that, in the midst of a scrum, poked the ball low toward her freshman sister Brooklyn – who jumped up for a bucket.
The accomplishment didn’t quite hit her until after the game.
“I didn’t even realize it,” said Borum, who scored 13 points in the first quarter. “I was just kind of playing. I was just having fun out there.”
For the first 8 minutes of Wednesday’s game, Sterling ended the first quarter trailing 22-18.
Grace Gould hit her first four shots for nine points in the first quarter to keep the Warriors close, but Lutheran’s dynamic duo of Ambranette Storr and Madison Davis combined for 17 points in the opening 8 minutes.
Lutheran (20-10) extended its lead to double digits at 32-22 with 3:15 to go in the second quarter, and the Crusaders led 35-22 at halftime. Sterling (12-20) shot just 2-for-15 from the field in the second on its way to being outscored 13-4.
A 33-percent (10-for-30) performance from the floor in the first half, coupled with 11 turnovers, drastically damaged the Warriors’ chances of a comeback.
Sterling shot just 31 percent (16-for-52) from the field, including 22 percent (8-for-37) over the final three quarters of play. The Warriors made just 1 of 10 3-point attempts.
Grace Gould led the way with 15 points and four rebounds. Gretchen Gould added eight points and five rebounds for Sterling, while Josi Borum finished with six points and grabbed a team-high 10 boards.
Timpe, Frederick, advance to Three-point Showdown: Milledgeville’s Mady Frederick and Stockton’s Tiana Timpe will participate Thursday in the Country Financial Three-point Showdown, held at Redbird Arena in Normal.
Timpe made 11 of 15 shots Thursday to win the sectional challenge. Frederick qualified by making eight shots.
Also qualifying was Whitney Bramm of Erie, who will hold the distinction of being the final Erie High School athlete to participate as an Erie Cardinal. Her team will co-op with Prophetstown next year.
BOYS BASKETBALL SCHEDULE
1A Polo Regional, Newman vs. Eastland/Erie winner (from Monday), 6 p.m.
1A Amboy Regional, Milledgeville/Hiawatha winner (from Tuesday) vs. Rockford Christian Life/Amboy winner (from Monday), 7:30 p.m.
1A East Dubuque Regional, Pearl City vs. Stockton/Scales Mound winner (from Monday)
1A Dakota Regional, Lena-Winslow vs. Orangeville/Pecatonica winner (from Monday), 6 p.m.
2A Fulton Regional, Bureau Valley vs. West Carroll/Kewanee winner (from Monday), 6 p.m.
Rochelle at Sterling, 7 p.m.
1A Polo Regional championship, 7 p.m.
1A Amboy Regional championship, 7 p.m.
1A East Dubuque Regional championship, 7 p.m.
1A Dakota Regional championship, 7 p.m.
2A Fulton Regional championship, 7 p.m.
1A Eastland Sectional semifinal, East Dubuque Regional winner vs. Amboy Regional winner, 7 p.m.
2A Bureau Valley Sectional semifinal, Fulton Regional winner vs. Mendota Regional winner, 7 p.m.
BOYS BASKETBALL HIGHLIGHTS
Sterling 54, Ottawa 42: The Golden Warriors accomplished history in more ways than just one at Kingman Gym.
With its win over the Pirates, Sterling clinched a share of the Northern Illinois Big 12 West Division title for the third straight year; never before in program history had the Golden Warriors won three consecutive conference crowns.
The win was Sterling’s 61st in the past 3 years – the most in such a span.
With the teams tied 20-20 with 3 minutes left in the second quarter, Sterling scored the final eight points of the first half – four each from Alek Duran and Marquez Willams – to grab the halftime lead, and it never looked back.
Every time the Pirates tried to mount a comeback, Sterling shut it down. After back-to-back baskets by Tyler Carson got Ottawa within 34-28 in the third quarter, Sterling had another quarter-ending run, capping it by going over the top to Tyler Willman in the post in the final minute for a 39-28 lead lead going into the final 8 minutes.
Sean Gingrich then stuck in the dagger with the Warriors’ lone 3-pointer of the game after Ottawa had pulled within 43-35, and Kendrick sealed the deal with a score inside after the Pirates got within 50-42.
Gingrich has 103 3-pointers in his career; and is tied with Josh Brown for fifth place all-time behind the arc.
Kendrick scored 19 points, grabbed seven rebounds, handed out two assists and swiped three steals to lead the Golden Warriors. Gingrich added nine points, and Willman finished with seven points and 11 rebounds for Sterling.
Newman 60, Bureau Valley 55: The Comets avenged an earlier loss to the Storm with a home win to secure a share of the Three Rivers East Division title.
Entering the fourth quarter tied 37-all, it was the Comets’ seniors in their final home game who stepped up.
Travis Williams scored six of his 14 points and nabbed two of his four steals after fellow post Devon House fouled out with 4:20 to go and Newman trailing 51-48.
Cade Gorzny scored nine of his game-high 24 points in the final 8 minutes, six of them coming at the free-throw line with the Comets clinging to a slight lead. Gehrig Koerner scored all five of his points in the fourth, and held BV’s guards in check all game.
Newman, who led 21-20 at intermission, hit 13 of 18 foul shots and finished at 42 percent (21-for-50) from the floor. House picked up a double-double with 13 points and 12 boards for the Comets.
Bureau Valley sank 14 of 20 free throws, but shot just 34 percent (18-for-53) from the field. Andrew Petros led the Storm with 13 points.
Sterling 60, LaSalle-Peru 42: Tyler Willman led the way with 14 points for the Golden Warriors in a road win over the Cavs.
Micah Kendrick and Marquez Williams added nine points apiece. Sean Gingrich scored seven, and Aidan Shore chipped in six.
Milledgeville 66, Durand 46
Lena-Winslow 48, West Carroll 25
Pearl City 47, Lena-Winslow 44: The Wolves sealed the NUIC West championship with a narrow road win over Lena-Winslow.
Pearl City led 21-15 at halftime, but trailed 31-28 after three quarter before Seth Palmer came up big with a trio of fourth-quarter buckets to lift the Wolves to the win.
Palmer finished with 11 points, and Lucas Peterson led the Wolves with 12 points.
Ty Chrisman led the Panthers with 11 points.
Sterling 66, Geneseo 64: Tyler Willman sank a pair of free throws with 2.9 seconds remaining in a NIB-12 West win at Musgrove Fieldhouse.
Tied with 6.2 seconds remaining, Sterling inbounded the ball from its own left wing. Aidan Shore caught the inbounds lob at the top of the key and dished it to a driving Willman in the lane. Willman was fouled by Ty Johnson on the approach, with the Maple Leafs in the double bonus.
Geneseo took a 62-59 lead with 2:30 to play; Mick Haverland came up with a steal and dished to Isaiah Rivera for the three-point lead.
Sean Gingrich countered that by doing what he did best throughout the game. His seventh 3 of the game – a career-high for the Golden Warrior senior – tied it at 62 with 2:01 to play. Rivera made a pair of free throws for the Maple Leafs’ final lead of the game, then Micah Kendrick scored a bucket in the lane for a tie at 64.
With 50 seconds to play, Rivera missed a short jumper and Shore grabbed the rebound to give Sterling a chance to close it. The Golden Warriors tried to hold the ball as long as possible, but got it to the left corner with 6.7 seconds left.
Gingrich’s 21 points led the Golden Warriors. Isaiah Rivera led the Maple Leafs with 27 points.
Lena-Winslow 59, Eastland 57: Ethan Christians scored his 1,000th point as an Eastland Cougar, but Isaiah Bruce had the last laugh.
Bruce caught fire in the fourth quarter, scoring 16 of his game-high 23 points in a close NUIC West home win over the Cougars.
Eastland led 49-33 at the end of three quarters with three players – Ethan Christians, Reid Janssen, and Brett Swalve – already in double-figures. The Panthers outscored the Cougars 26-8 in the final quarter.
Parker Magee scored nine of his 17 points in the fourth quarter to help the Panthers’ comeback.
Erie 45, Morrison 44: Josh Hammer’s 27 points for the Cardinals were too much for the Mustangs to overcome in a TRAC West road loss.
In a back-and-forth game, the Mustangs led 15-12 after one quarter before the Cardinals jumped ahead 24-22 at halftime. Morrison again led 34-30 after three quarters, but Erie closed the game with a 15-10 run.
Kyle Stover added 11 points for Erie. Ben Brackemyer had 15 for the Mustangs with Britt Ottens adding 14 and Ethan Medenblik scoring 10.
Eastland 61, West Carroll 31: Ethan Christians scored 19 points to lead Eastland, and Reid Janssen added 13 in a balanced Cougars attack with 10 different players scoring.
Eastland’s win came just days after winning the program’s 600th victory Saturday against Dwight at the Riverton Shootout.
Dawson Wurster led the Thunder with eight points.