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CASEY – The dozens of fans who waited outside the Bismarck-Henning locker room to greet the team after the Blue Devils' 56-48 Class 2A sectional semifinal win against Effingham St. Anthony on Wednesday were all smiles.
High-fives, fist pounds and hugs were flying around.
CHAMPAIGN – A fan of the sport, Deon Mennenga would love to watch Friday's boys' basketball showdown between Champaign Central and Centennial.
Trouble is, he's busy.
CHAMPAIGN – Cinderella is still dancing.
That translates into an encore performance Friday night for the unheralded Gibson City-Melvin-Sibley boys' basketball team.
CHAMPAIGN – His teammates in the starting lineup all have seniority, but Bruce Hendricks doesn't make it obvious.
The only junior regular in Gibson City-Melvin-Sibley's boys' basketball lineup, Hendricks has been a catalyst in the Falcons' late-season surge into state prominence. At 6-foot-3, he's one of the team's tallest players.
CHAMPAIGN – Centennial never trailed in its 62-48 Class 3A regional semifinal victory against Urbana.
But that doesn't mean it came easily.
Rayvonte Rice had 16 points and 12 rebounds and Jeff Johnson added 15 points and nine rebounds as the Chargers (21-7) won on their home floor Tuesday night.
CASEY – For about 12 minutes of its Class 2A sectional semifinal game against Olney East Richland, Monticello looked like it would cruise toward an upset of the sixth-ranked Tigers.
Unfortunately for the Sages, it's a 32-minute game.
HERSCHER – Barry Bauer created the game plan. His Watseka High School boys' basketball team carried it out, but it still wasn't enough for the Warriors to score an upset Tuesday in Herscher's Class 2A sectional semifinals.
To contend with favored Chicago Christian, Bauer knew his Warriors needed to contain all-state candidate Joel Kamp.
GIBSON CITY – The girls' basketball trophy case catches the eye when you walk through the doors of Gibson City-Melvin-Sibley High School.
It's stocked with hardware and mementos from great teams past. There are plaques commemorating regional champions from 1995, 1996 and 2005.
CHAMPAIGN – The Urbana Tigers found victories hard to come by during the regular season but were able to win when it mattered most.
The Tigers (3-20) held off a Rantoul comeback and defeated the Eagles 62-59 in the opening round of a Class 3A regional at Centennial High School.
CHRISMAN – There's a reason good plays have several options.
Clayton Meyer hit a three- pointer on a seemingly broken play with 13 seconds to go to give Tuscola its third regional title in four years with a 63-61 win against Chrisman on Saturday.