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DANVILLE – Mike Ahrens' Coach for the Day designation required more than saying, "Go get 'em," to the Danville boys' basketball team.
Serving as the Vikings' interim coach Friday as Gary Tidwell served a one-game IHSA suspension for his ejection from a game last week, Ahrens had to alter the lineup when two regulars arrived late to the gym and started on the bench.
PAXTON – Dakota DeMoss scored 19 points and Kendall Cox added 16 as Paxton-Buckley-Loda beat St. Thomas More 59-43 in a Sangamon Valley Conference boys' basketball game Friday.
The Panthers fell behind 9-2 but rallied for a one-point lead at the end of the first quarter.
DeLAND – Nestled along the north side of Illinois 10, 23 miles west of Champaign, is a high school many passers-by have seen en route to other destinations, such as Clinton Lake.
Brielle Jones is doing her part to make DeLand-Weldon High School a stopping point.
URBANA – Improved confidence appears to be the key to success for the Urbana girls' basketball team.
"We started to play better as a team once we got our confidence up," senior Camille Parsons said Thursday after scoring 14 points to lead the Tigers to a 38-18 Big 12 Conference win against Danville. "I felt real confident tonight and was able to hit my shots. We've also been able to run the ball better lately."
FITHIAN – Like many successful coaches, Dave Markwell was a multisport high school standout who went on to play in college.
Unlike many successful coaches, Markwell has thrived in a sport in which he never participated.
ST. JOSEPH – If Tyler Johnson had his way, Tad Worley would catch passes from him on the football field like he is now on the basketball court.
"I think he could be a receiver," said Johnson, SJ-O's quarterback in the fall and forward in the winter. "He's an athlete, that's for sure. A lot of guys said he's got some pretty good hands."
It's the most highly anticipated boys' basketball game of the season in these parts. Scott Davis, left, and Champaign Central (11-3), the state's fifth-ranked Class 3A team, will visit Tim Lavin, right, and No. 9 Centennial (13-3) at 7:30 p.m. Friday in the first of two regular season meetings between these crosstown rivals. Staff writer Jeff Huth, who has covered this series since 1998, previews the latest edition of the Battle of Champaign.
SPRINGFIELD – Mikel Brigham is not just drawing attention from opposing basketball players intent on stopping him.
He's receiving equal scrutiny from opposing coaches seeking to devise ways to curtail his production.
CHAMPAIGN – As recently as Thursday, Chester Dols' availability for the Charger Invitational was a major question mark.
"I didn't even know if I would be swimming at this meet," the Urbana senior and reigning News-Gazette Area Swimmer of the Year said. "I couldn't lift my arm past 90 degrees without severe pain a few days ago."
CHAMPAIGN – It took a do-or-die comeback in the fourth quarter, but the Centennial basketball team made sure Tim Lavin notched his 100th career victory on the first try Friday night.
Afterward, the Charger coach could be thankful his players limited the celebration to hearty handshakes and words of congratulation.