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CHAMPAIGN – Centennial faces a crucial stretch next week, playing Big 12 rivals Danville and Champaign Central.
"When we play disciplined defensively and we screen out on offense and look for the extra pass, we're pretty good," Centennial coach Tim Lavin said. "At times we look really good and at times we struggle, and hopefully as we get closer to the end here, it will be the better part of good."
PAXTON – Kendall Cox had 28 points and made 11 of 14 free throws, including 9 of 10 in the final minute, and Paxton-Buckley-Loda beat Momence 64-52 in boys' basketball Friday night.
The win fortified PBL's stranglehold on the Sangamon Valley Conference, moving the team to 6-0. Momence, St. Joseph-Ogden and Watseka all have two losses.
ARTHUR – Asked if he's been looking forward to tonight's Little Okaw Valley Conference championship game against Lovington, Cerro Gordo coach Scott Bacon responded without hesitation.
"Yes. Yes," Bacon said after Cerro Gordo defeated Tri-County 67-59 in the semifinals Friday. "Very much so."
ST. JOSEPH – The dynamics within the St. Joseph-Ogden girls' basketball team have changed this season.
No longer are the Spartans the "hunted," the team that everyone wants to beat to reach their elite level, which included a state tournament berth last year and four successive 20-win seasons.
DANVILLE – Schlarman officials will induct two former athletes to their Athletic Wall of Fame today.
Judge Glenn Collier, a 1968 graduate, and Mike Christian, a 1970 graduate, will be honored at Schlarman's Shebby Gymnasium during a halftime ceremony at the boys' varsity basketball game against Salt Fork.
RANTOUL – Someone once said the best officials are the ones you don't notice.
On the other side are the colorful characters you can't forget.
DECATUR – At the end of a cold night outside the gym, the team that started out hot raised the trophy above its head.
The Monticello Sages stormed out of the gate and withstood a late surge by Unity to win 57-53 and capture the Okaw Valley Conference tournament.
The IHSA will start drug testing at its member schools next school year.
We can only hope that the positives were surrounding last week's announcement and not the ultimate result.
CERRO GORDO – The magic number around the Cerro Gordo basketball program this season is 1,000.
The program, which started in 1929, is seven wins shy of 1,000. The Broncos, who have won 11 straight games, have seven games remaining before the IHSA regionals begin.
DANVILLE – If ever there was a team facing pressure, it was Bismarck-Henning's.
The Blue Devils had won every game this season except the two where they played in tournament championship games.