TOLONO — They were supposed to be tired.
Not only did St. Joseph-Ogden play a physical sectional semifinal Thursday night but the Spartans also needed an extra four minutes to dispatch Kankakee Bishop McNamara in overtime after weather postponed both semifinal games.
DANVILLE — Cissna Park’s high school has fewer than 100 students, but a basketball team that is the envy of many.
During Kevin Long’s 18-year tenure as head coach, the Timberwolves have emerged as the area’s most dominant program.
CHAMPAIGN — Michael Finke had five points at halftime.
Yet the Urbana boys’ basketball team elected to throw a box-and-one defense at the Centennial big man and Illinois commit to start the third quarter.
Dedric Byrd, Phillip Wright and Mike McCray made sure Urbana coach Vashoune Russell’s move backfired Friday night.
TOLONO — Louis Acklin makes plays.
Not the flashy ones, per se.
The shot fakes that result in layups.
The charges taken that lead to extra possessions.
The clutch free throws in the waning seconds that extend leads. The rebounds gathered amid a handful of opponents that secure leads.
DANVILLE — Andrew Maxwell was the hot-shot basketball player Thursday night.
Very hot. Unexpectedly hot.
The Arthur-Lovington senior drilled three three-point shots in a 21/2-minute stretch of the first quarter as the Knights started the sectional semifinals on an 8-0 run and went on to upset seventh-ranked Salt Fork 56-43 in a Class 1A tournament game at Schlarman.
CHAMPAIGN — Imagine if Donald McKinley was fully healthy.
Then what would the Urbana senior guard accomplish on the basketball court?
TOLONO — The goals were identical for the semifinalists Wednesday in Unity’s Class 2A boys’ basketball tournament.
It was all about advancing to Friday’s championship game. Nothing else between the teams was similar.
The methods that Monticello and Clifton Central chose were contrasting from their defensive differences to their offensive philosophies and to their personnel.
NORMAL — The basketball game started on time, but in reality, it ended early.
That happens when the opposing team scores 14 points — and allows none — on its first five possessions.
CHAMPAIGN — The trend started before Illinois coach John Groce and son Conner settled into the wooden bleachers on the second deck at Centennial.
Two of the top seeds in the Class 3A Mount Zion Sectional — Springfield Southeast and Decatur MacArthur — had lost by the time No. 1 Centennial tipped off its regional semifinal game against No. 4 Rantoul.
OAKLAND — After Charlie Carver’s last year as Tri-County boys’ basketball coach (2008-09), he and his family relocated to Florida, where he coached for a year near Lake Wales. He found, “we were back and forth a lot,” so he returned to Illinois and landed at West Central (in Biggsville) for the past two seasons.