Each Tuesday, prep sports coordinator Fred Kroner takes your questions. Submit them any time.
It's that time of the week to talk a little prep sports. Looking forward to this week's assortment of questions. Thanks to all for your participation.
After seeing Shiloh in the LOVC championship game and completely dominating Heritage, who just beat Arthur the night before, I believe that they are vastly underrated as a team in 1A. They're a VERY young team.They're losing only one starter next year, all their tops scorers and top defenders are returning next year. Could you see them making it pretty far in the post season, maybe state this or next season? Their offense is impressive but their defense is really something that really stands out.
You are right. Shiloh is underrated, but that's easy to understand. Coming into this season, the school had lost at least 20 games in each of the last seven boys' basketball seasons, winning a total of 26 games in that span. Logically, no one expects such a quantum leap from seven wins a year ago to an LOVC title the following year. It would be easy to discount the team, too, if I hadn't had the chance to see a couple of their games in the Christmas Tournament at Heritage. The best players are sophomores, which certainly speaks well for the future. But the group is playing well right now under first-year coach Charlie Carver (former Tri-County coach). I think I wrote in a blog, or a note somewhere after first seeing Shiloh that sophomore Andrew Donithan uses his non-dominant (left) hand around the basket as well as any player I've seen this year, or in recent years. As far as how far the team will go in the postseason, the regional seeds will come out later this week (Thursday) followed by the pairings a day later, but we know that the Raiders will be in a tough, tough 1A regional at Chrisman, where state-ranked Salt Fork will be the favorite and Schlarman Academy will be a formidable force. Salt Fork already owns a victory over Shiloh this season. That sets up an interesting scenario for the future as well, because Schlarman has two freshmen who either start or play significant minutes and the majority of the best Salt Fork players are underclassmen. If regional assignments don't change in the future, whatever site hosts those schools could easily have one of the premier small-school tournaments in the area, if not the state.
Was enjoying the St. Thomas More girls team early in the year, but lately i have been soured becasue of their sportsmanship. My question is why do they need to press teams when they are up by 40+points? I had to leave the Salt Fork game last week... embarassing.
Dear Anonymous. You're asking me to comment on something I didn't see, so I don't know all of the facts in that particular game. Were the Sabers pressing with starters in the game late? Did it happen in the first half, or in the fourth quarter? All of these things make a difference. Here's my thought. If I were a coach (and no, I'm not lobbying for a job) my first thought going into late-season games is to get all of my players ready for the postseason. That means getting them time in the roles in which they could be thrust if called upon (injuries, fouls, ineligibilities) down the tournament trail. There will certainly be games where teams need to press. While a game may seem out of hand to a casual observer, is it fair to the second-team players not to get the chance to work on where they need to be in a press situation, for example, just because the game is lopsided? What may come across as unsportsmanlike to some could well be the need to make sure every varsity player is comfortable in what the team is doing on offense and defense.Those players could be critical in a tournament game and it's wise to have them ready for whatever they may face. Do you stop running a fast break when you're ahead by a lot of points if the second team is playing in the third quarter? Certainly, there comes a point when you let up, pull back and do things differently. Now, if you tell me that STM was pressing in the fourth quarter with its starters on the court, that's a different story, but if they were pressing in the second half with reserves in the game, while it may not look good, it's prudent for the coach to have all of his players prepared and in situations that may not occur in a practice. So, until I know more about the actual situations in this particular game, I'm not going to blast it as an unsportsmanlike move.
Did anyone notice that the Villa Grove girls beat the number 7 team in the state last night? Or that they have now beaten the number 1 and 2 seeds in that upcoming regional? You'd have to think the winner of that Villa Grove Regional has a shot to go quite a ways.
Hi LOVC fan. I'm sure I'm not the only person who noticed those outcomes. The fact that Villa Grove will also be the regional host is another point in their favor. The fact that the Blue Devils are a senior-laden team with multiple scoring threats and a nucleus of players who've been together for a long time helps their prospects as well. Villa Grove can wrap up an LOVC regular-season title on Thursday when it plays at Heritage. If successful, the team will go into the postseason with momentum from wins in nine of their last 10 games. I don't want to put a damper on your enthusiasm, however the fact is this. None of the teams in the Villa Grove Regional are so dominant that they can go into any game feeling like a prohibitive favorite. Wasn't it just last week (maybe the week before), that Shiloh defeated Villa Grove, and by a margin greater than the Blue devils' Monday win. Personally, I think it's a shame those teams will meet in the semifinals instead of the finals. Maybe I'm under-rating top-seeded Tri-County, but I think the best two teams (in some order) at Villa Grove are Shiloh and the hosts. Will the Villa Grove regional winner go quite a ways in the postseason? Again, I hate to sound like a Negative Nelly, but the sectional opener would likely be against a Central A&M team that was rated fourth in the state and I guarantee has played a tougher regular-season schedule. But, that's why they play the games. Anything can happen. Maybe the Villa Grove Regional winner will follow up with a 40-point win in the sectional, but that's not what I'm predicting will happen.
what schools declined to join the new Okaw ?
who do you think they might target to get up to the 8 schools they want?
i think it will be as competitive of a conference as any in central Illinois
Hi Brian. Some of the schools that declined were other current Okaw Valley membhers who had already left and departed for a new league effective 2014-15, Clinton and St. Teresa. I believe Paxton-Buckley-Loda was another one after deciding to stay in the Sangamon Valley (when Dwight committed) and Stanford Olympia. Right now, it's hard to say what schools would be good targets. I think as we see more movement from other conferences, the picture will become clearer. If you were to ask me who would be a good fit, I would say an ideal addition would be Tuscola. That's just one more team, but in my mind, it would make so much sense for the Warriors to be in this league which, like you say, could be as competitive as any in Central Illinois. I think you could easily call this a super conference in the making. There will be a bunch of rivalry games and super, super competiton across the board in all of the sports. I can't wait for the league to take off.
Fred,Well Cam is finally done with recruiting. Illinois loss is Malone's gain. Good chance he will start in the fall at QB. Running the Veer Option similar to Urbana. His dad,myself and his grandfather have checked out Malone.a A great Christian School that sold Cam on what was best for him. They have kids from California, Texas, Alabama, Florida and all over the country. Thery plan on starting over with their program and having great sucessand Cam was the last piece to their puzzle. His family,friends and I are making plans now for this fall.Looks like a lot of traveling. Thanks again Fred for all your support.
Hi Tom. To me, this is an amazing, amazing story. To think that on the morning of Jan. 21, the staff at Malone had not heard of Cameron Mammen and that exactly one week later, he had been on campus, wowed them with his skills, offered him a full-ride scholarship and he was calling back to accept is just not something you expect to happen in this day and age. I don't think you can over-emphasize the role that Cameron's father, Mark, had in this process with his email blitz to coaches throughout a large radius of the Midwest. Everything just fell into place perfectly, like it was meant to be. Even if it had been a week earlier when Cameron had visited the UI and was asked to be a preferred walkon, Malone might not have shown interest because they had another quarterback they felt would commit, but he went elsewhere the same week mammen was the the UI. And then, to not only get an offer, but tio get an offer from a school that plays a system somewhat similar to what he was used to in high school and at his preferred position just adds to the fairy tale nature of this story. Remarkable. I kept quiet (mainly) during the long, tedious wait with the UI, but in my mind I kept thinking, 'this is a mistake. He needs to be looking elsewhere to have other options to fall back on.' There was no doubt, he was good enough to land a scholarship, the doubt was how many would be available after how long it took the UI to make a decision. I still ahve to wonder why the other preferred walkons were all offered their status about a month sooner than Cameron. It makes me think that the feelin was if they waited long enough, he truly would have no other options and would settle for that. I'm happy he landed on his feet and in what appears to be a wonderful fit for him and his family.
How is Decatur LSA doing as well as the individual players doing?
At last check, coach Dave Kreps' team was 16-5 and continues to be led by senior sharpshooter Jeremy Pezelle. He's your ideal perimeter player because he doesn't think twice about continuing to shoot if he has missed a few. Some players will be reluctant and become tentative. The Lions have some other good players, too, particularly ballhandler Bobby Cherry. The school is hosting a seven-school regional, but it could be a tough one to win. ECIC rival Decatur Christian is in the field. Decatur Lutheran beat them the first time. there could be another meeting in the upcoming conference tournament and, possibly, again in the regional. Don't know what will happen, but I'm pretty sure the same school won't win all three of the games between the two rivals.
What an assortment of questions this week. I love it! Thanks again to everyone who participated. Catch you next week.