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.
SIDELL – Brock Bodine and Bryn Eakle never will have another basketball game like Friday's.
The Salt Fork seniors assuredly will score more points and they expect to be a part of more victorious teams, but none of those games will be played on their home court at Jamaica High School.
BISMARCK – The Salt Fork Storm might want to jot down whatever was said by first-year coach Aaron Hird during halftime of Saturday night's Hayden's Athletic Classic championship game and save it for a later date.
The Storm trailed by 10 points at intermission after watching Bismarck-Henning net 11 of 16 field goal attempts in the first half and looked out of sync at both ends of the floor. A change in defensive strategy and a spirited talk from Hird helped change that.
MONTICELLO – Lindsey Cresap figured prominently in Monticello's defensive plans in Saturday's championship game at the Monticello Holiday Tournament.
"Our game plan was to stop (Tuscola's Kelsi) Hoey," the Sages guard said. "I played her man-to-man while my four teammates played zone."
MONTICELLO – Accurate free throw shooting appears to be a lost art among many high school and college basketball players.
That wasn't the case, however, for Monticello on Saturday as the Sages converted 12 of 14 to stave off Tuscola 47-46 in the boys' championship game at the Holiday Tournament.
KISSIMMEE, Fla. – Verdell Jones and Donald Stewart each scored 25 points for Champaign Central in a 93-85 semifinal loss to Dr. Phillips (Orlando, Fla.) Friday night at the Great Florida Shootout.
"I think a couple things were the difference tonight. We missed 32 points we could have had off layups, and we dug ourselves in a 17-point hole in the first half," Maroons coach Scott Davis said. "You can't afford to get down like that to a team like Dr. Phillips. I was proud of our effort in the second half, but we missed easy ones and dug too deep of a hole."
MONTICELLO – Kelsi Hoey scored a team-high 15 points to help Tuscola defeat Neoga 38-36 Friday night at the Monticello Holiday Tournament.
"Tonight I thought the difference was defense and rebounding. We outrebounded them and that was big because we were the smaller team. We played our best defense of the year," Warriors coach Tim Kohlbecker said. "I thought Raechel Buck- ner did a real nice job stopping (Jaimee) Roy from Neoga. It was just an overall team effort tonight."
BISMARCK – The presence of a 6-foot, 10-inch high school center with skills is obvious. The absence of such an athlete might be even more so.
For the past two weeks, the Bismarck-Henning basketball team has been trying to adjust without senior center Trey McCorkle, who tore ligaments in his ankle in a game against Seeger (Ind.). With the Blue Devils' big man expected to miss four to six weeks, coach Mike Reynolds' team has been forced to adjust on the fly.
URBANA – Mandy Kirby, Amy Gray and Megan Roegge all scored nine points to help Urbana defeat Eureka 43-41 on Friday at the Girls' Winter Fast Break Tournament.
Whitley Pearson and Camille Parsons each added six points for the Tigers, who were outscored 23-20 after the break.