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CHAMPAIGN – They won 21 games. They were ranked in the Class 3A state poll throughout the season. And they return four starters, along with several key reserves.
Even as one season ended for the Centennial Chargers on Friday night, there was reason to eagerly anticipate the next.
CASEY – The big showdown was only a part of the overall show.
Murad Abbed provided the biggest storyline Friday night in the championship game of Casey-Westfield's Class 2A boys' basketball sectional.
CHAMPAIGN – As Fisher coach Deon Mennenga was cutting down the net after the Bunnies' 53-37 sectional championship win against Gibson City-Melvin-Sibley, a couple hundred orange-clad fans made their way to the floor in Parkland's gym.
Kids asked for autographs. Adults jumped around and celebrated as if they had just played. Most players already had slipped on their "Elite Eight" T-shirts.
CHAMPAIGN – One had to figure it would end soon. Gibson City-Melvin-Sibley scorched the nets to the tune of 28 three-pointers in three games on its way to Friday's sectional final against rival Fisher at Parkland College.
But the three-point shot was not kind to the Falcons in their 53-37 loss to the Bunnies on Friday. They connected on 1 of 14 tries from beyond the arc and shot 39 percent from the field.
CHAMPAIGN – Maybe it's because Donald Stewart's been there, done that. Twice before, in fact.
So while the Champaign Central Maroons and their fans reveled in a Class 3A regional basketball championship Friday night, the senior had his eyes on far bigger prizes.
Former Urbana AD has rooting interest in semis
NORMAL – Junior Camille Parsons and senior Janelle Hensold were near opposite ends of the three-point spectrum Thursday when the state's premier Class 3A shooters competed at Illinois State University.
PAXTON – Gregory Wood, an Urbana High School physical education teacher and assistant varsity football coach, is expected to be recommended as the next Paxton-Buckley-Loda football coach tonight.
A special committee – made up of PBL Superintendent Cliff McClure, Principal John Rawdin, athletic director John Overstreet, Board of Education members Dean Swan and Dave Dowling, and two citizen committee members – is to advise the PBL Board of Education that Wood become the next coach for the Panthers, who went 1-8 last season under Jim Zenner.
CHAMPAIGN – Scott Davis held tryouts Monday at Combes Gymnasium, but he wasn't seeking more players for his state-ranked Class 3A boys' basketball team.
Davis was letting his athletes determine who would participate in the IHSA three-point shootout with a team contest open to all varsity players. The winners were Carter Billingsley, Jerry Exum, Chris Lehmann and Jake Slesinski.
DANVILLE – The basketball season is over for Danville, but senior Janelle Hensold has one last contest before her career as a Viking officially ends.
Late this afternoon, Hensold will compete against 31 opponents at the IHSA Class 3A three-point shootout state finals in Normal.
CHAMPAIGN – It was only a short spurt, but it won a big game.
Fisher's Mitch Elkins scored 10 consecutive points in a four-minute span in the first half and the Bunnies' defense took over from there as Fisher defeated Tuscola 39-25 in a sectional semifinal Wednesday night at Parkland College.