Briefs: L-P’s John Senica named IBCA Class 3A District 12 Coach of the Year

St. Bede’s Mickley, Fieldcrest’s Hahn, Earlville’s Fruit also honored

L-P head basketball coach John Senica watches his team play Fieldcrest during the 49th annual Colmone Classic on Friday, Dec. 8, 2023 at Hall High School.

Four NewsTribune area high school basketball coaches were named Illinois Basketball Coaches Association District Coaches of the Year.

First-year La Salle-Peru coach John Senica was named the Class 3A District 12 Coach of the Year after leading the Cavaliers to a 24-9 record and their first regional championship since 2015-16.

Fieldcrest’s Jeremy Hahn was selected as the Class 2A District 12 Coach of the Year, and Earlville’s Gerald Fruit was named the Class 1A District 12 Coach of the Year.

Hahn guided the Knights to a 33-2 record to set a program record for wins along with a regional title and a sectional final appearance.

Fruit coached the Red Raiders to a program-best 28-5 record, breaking the record set in 1937-38.

St. Bede’s Stephanie Mickley was selected as the Class 1A District 11 Coach of the Year after leading the Bruins to a program-best 29-9 record and a fourth-place finish at state in the Bruins’ first state tournament appearance. She resigned after the season.

At the junior high level, Mendota Holy Cross boys coaches Aaron Eddy and Lucas Tillman were named Class A District 12 Coach of the Year in seventh grade and eighth grade, respectively, while Oglesby Washington seventh grade boys coach Tyler DeBrock was named Class AA District 12 Coach of the Year, and Putnam County seventh grade girls basketball coach Nicholas Heuser was selected as Class AA District 12 Coach of the Year.

The coaches of the year will be honored at a luncheon May 4 at Illinois State University’s CEFCU Arena in Normal.

Princeton’s Bennett Williams named to IHSA All-State Academic Team

Princeton High School senior Bennett Williams was one of 26 student-athletes across the state named to the 2024 IHSA All-State Academic Team.

The IHSA described its honorees as a “team of incredible individuals who excel in the classroom, in athletics and activities, and in their communities.”

Each of the 512 IHSA member schools is able to nominate one male and one female athlete each school year.

Williams joins Tiah Romagnoli (1999-00) and Ryan Bebej (2000-01) from PHS to be named to the IHSA All-State Academic Team.

Williams, who is a three-sport athlete in football, basketball and track and field, will play football at the Air Force Academy.

Mendota honors reporter Kip Cheek

Mendota High School honored Kip Cheek of the Mendota Reporter at the Don Gooden Invite with a small announcement and plaque, which read, “We would like to honor Kip Cheek of the Mendota Reporter for 40 years of service to the Mendota Community and Mendota Athletics.”

Cheek came to Mendota in 1984 and has been a staple reporting Mendota High School sports ever since. He was inducted into the IBCA Hall of Fame as a media member last year.

“We appreciate the four decades of outstanding support and coverage he has provided to the district and community,” Mendota superintendent Denise Aughenbaugh said.

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