NEW LENOX – In Monday’s 66-41 win over Resurrection, Providence Catholic coach Eileen Copenhaver recorded her 300th win as the Celtics’ coach.
Copenhaver started her coaching career as an assistant at Loyola University in Chicago before becoming the head coach at Illinois-Chicago from 1990 to ‘98. After a five-year hiatus from the bench, she returned to coaching at Providence Catholic, where she has been ever since.
Among other things, it’s that commitment to which she attributes her achieving the milestone.
“I have never been a hopper,” she said. “It seems like we live in the portal age now, but I guess I’m old and want to finish what I start. It’s how I was brought up.”
She said she chose to work at Providence because it had strong support from its administration and was the right fit for her family, which has lived in Orland Park for the past 27 years.
“I’ve been fortunate to have great kids, especially at Providence,” she said. “They are fantastic kids. I have also been very blessed to be around good people. My staff has been together for a long time, and that helps keep the continuity in the program.”
Under her leadership, the Celtics have won five regional championships and a sectional title.
“Out of the 300 wins, the regional and sectional championships stand out,” Copenhaver said. “That’s what we play for. Those are the games the kids remember most, and there’s a plaque in the trophy case forever.
“The thing we take great pride in is how we play the game. We may not be the most talented, but we want the kids to play hard and get the most out of what they have.
“We are a high school. My job is to try to create the best high school experience possible for these kids. We want the kids to live in that moment and enjoy it.”
Unbeaten no more
The Peotone Blue Devils are having a magical season. A little shine came off last week when they suffered their first loss in a closer-than-the-final-score-indicates 60-42 decision against Fieldcrest, but it certainly doesn’t diminish what they have accomplished so far.
“No doubt, I like where we’re at,” Peotone coach Steve Strough said. “We had a very competitive week, and I told our kids it was good for us to come over here [to Minonk] and get this game against a quality team.
“It was a measuring stick for the rest of the season to get us ready for the postseason.”
The Blue Devils (24-1), who dropped from No. 5 to No. 10 in this week’s Associated Press Class 2A state poll, returned to their winning ways Monday night with a 54-14 win over Lisle and have six more games on the schedule before starting action in the Class 2A postseason.
Fieldcrest, ranked No. 7 in Class 2A this week, is in the same 23-team Coal City Sectional as Peotone. If the Blue Devils can survive the sectional, the supersectional will be on their home court against the winner of the Timothy Christian Sectional.
Bolingbrook down a star
The Raiders’ train keeps on rolling, as they have put up an impressive 22-3 record, with only one loss coming to a school from Illinois, a 53-49 defeat at the hands of Homewood-Flossmoor. H-F is coached by former Bolingbrook coach Anthony Smith, who guided the Raiders to four state titles, two runner-up finishes and a fourth-place finish in the seven-season span from 2004-05 through 2010-11.
Bolingbrook, ranked No. 2 in Class 4A, has been without the services of standout forward Persais Williams, but that has allowed other players to see more playing time. Raiders coach Chris Smith said Williams most likely will not play again until the postseason starts.
Morris’ record may not be where it would like it, but it got a glimpse of what looks like a promising future in a recent win over Plano.
That’s because freshman Landrie Callahan put up a performance to remember, scoring 32 points and hauling in 20 rebounds in the 53-44 victory.
“She’s a special player, and I love watching her get the ball and perform,” Morris coach Nick Virgl said after the game. “She certainly carried us on her young shoulders tonight.
“And to think we’ve got her for another three years? Wow!”