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CHAMPAIGN – Boys' basketball in the Big 12 Conference this season has developed into a series of stellar offensive showings.
Champaign Central has eclipsed the 100-point mark once and hit 93 in two other games.
DECATUR – When Nathan Swarts thinks about sitting on the bench, he displays a puzzled look on his face and just shakes his head. His face becomes almost as red as his hair, and he can't even put into words how angry the prospect of watching his Monticello teammates from the sideline makes him feel.
"Geez, I don't even want to talk about that," Swarts said after his Sages dropped a 69-60 Okaw Valley Conference tournament semifinal game to Meridian on Tuesday. "I know that I just hate sitting on the bench."
DANVILLE – With each day, Trey McCorkle thinks he's one step closer to fully recovering from an ankle injury that cost him a month of his senior season.
Bismarck-Henning's 6-foot-10 center is running up and down the court, blocking shots and hitting the floor for loose balls. He's just not doing it in long enough stretches to suit himself or his sixth-ranked Class 2A teammates.
Which area teams will strike gold? What area stars will shine brightest? Prep sports coordinator Fred Kroner previews the winter-sport postseasons for the three classes in which area schools have been assigned.
ARTHUR – Cerro Gordo coach Scott Bacon knows about the history his team is making this season, and so do his players.
"It's been a long time," Bacon said after his Broncos wrapped up the Little Okaw Valley Conference tournament championship. "Too long if you ask me."
NORMAL – When Mikel Brigham does a self-evaluation, he sees something missing.
"I feel underrated," the Danville junior said.
HOOPESTON – Westville's playoff run to the Class 2A state title football game last fall took its toll on junior Dusty Zaayer.
In December, the 171-pound standout was diagnosed with a pinched nerve in his neck, a popped disk in his back and a minor spinal injury that cost him three weeks of the wrestling season.
BLOOMINGTON – It was the No. 1 goal from the very first practice. And the Champaign Central Maroons never forgot it, ending each workout with the chant Big 12 champs.
Maroons coach Jeff Scott targeted a conference title not only because he thought it was reachable, but because it had been sooooo long. Forty-one years ago, to be exact.
NORMAL – Second-chance points were instrumental Friday night as Danville rallied to beat Normal Community 57-54 in a Big 12 Conference game.
These second-chance points weren't putbacks following offensive rebounds. They were points scored by two Vikings given a reprieve and receiving more playing time.
MAHOMET – Luke Radliff wasn't expecting a stellar performance against Prairie Central.
The Mahomet-Seymour junior can rarely predict nights when he will get in the zone. Instead, he just lets it flow. That's when he's likely to post his best numbers, which he did Friday night with a game-high 23 points to lead the Bulldogs to a 64-43 win against their Corn Belt Conference rival.