SULLIVAN — Like the postman, who delivers in rain or snow or sleet, basketball games aren't likely to be postponed just because the coach can't be on the sideline.
Sullivan's Sheri Adams McCain spent her Monday at the hospital instead of at courtside. At 2:05 p.m., she delivered her and husband Lance's first child, a 6-pound, 11-ounce girl the couple named Emma Faith McCain. She measured 19 1/4 inches. Mom missed the game, which the Redskins lost at Tuscola, but after checking the newcomer's size proclaimed, "I am thinking she will be my 5-11 shooting point guard."
Defense sparks Illineks
URBANA — Uni High's lineup features one of the area's top scorers (Jamie Blue, third with a 20.2 average) and one of the area's top rebounders (Emma Hoyer, eighth with a 10.2 average), but coach Allie Lindemann sees more than two players who have been instrumental for the East Central Illinois Conference leaders.
"I believe that the leadership from all of the upperclassmen has had a major impact on this team in a positive way and has set the tone for everyone else," Lindemann said. "Our consistency comes first from our defense and our ability to score off of our defense."
Three Illineks (Blue, Hoyer and Jaki Vipond) each are averaging more than two steals per game for a 16-win squad that is seeking to have the school's most successful season. The school-record win total for one season is 19 games.
Uni High is 5-0 in ECIC play and has been receiving votes in the Class 1A state poll, which Lindemann said "is a great tribute to this team. This is a team that will never let down, no matter the score and continues to work hard day in and day out."
Blue has narrowed her college choices to Kenyon (Ohio) College, Hope (Mich.) College, Case Western Reserve, in Ohio, and Macalester, in Minnesota.
Shooters galore at Shiloh
HUME — State-ranked Shiloh is the only area school with three players who have hit at least 25 three-pointers this season. Sophomore Bethany McGinness and junior Shelby Smith each have 35 treys, and junior Morgan Wood has made 25.
"We have a good combination of perimeter players who can shoot and attack the basket that complement our post play," coach David Tingley said. "We can go inside out or outside in."
The Raiders, 19-4 and ranked 10th in Class 1A, are led inside by senior Larissa Moses, who leads the area in rebounding (13.3 average).
No jinx here
LeROY — Over the years, coaches have taken note of the times a player is the subject of a cover story or selected as an Athlete of the Week and then follows up with a subpar performance.
LeRoy's Molly Marcum avoided that jinx. Hours after being interviewed as this week's Athlete of the Week, Marcum scored a season-high 34 points as the state's third-ranked Class 1A team improved to 19-1 with a 71-50 win against Heyworth.
It was the second consecutive 30-point game for Marcum, a Southern Illinois-Edwardsville golf recruit who has scored 89 points in her past three games.
Besides leading the Panthers in scoring (18.1 average), Marcum's aggressiveness has gotten her to the free throw line more than any other area player, 120 times. She is converting 80 percent of her attempts.
Another coaching opening
BROADLANDS — Heritage will join Oakwood as schools looking for a girls' basketball head coach next season.
Heritage coach Lisa Sappenfield Boyer has announced she will step aside at season's end, her fourth as the head coach. She will continue to coach the softball team.
"The time factor in basketball is immense, and two sports is too many," Boyer said.
The Hawks are 14-7 this season but are playing without injured freshman Micaela Childress, who is one of seven active squad members who have scored in double figures this season. Teammates who have had games of 10 or more points are senior Mariah Coleman, senior Bailey Griffin, junior Mary Happ, senior Katie Lannon, junior Dallas McCormick and sophomore Desi Westerfield.
Heritage's 47-45 loss to Villa Grove in a first-round LOVC tourney game last week evened the series between Boyer and her brother, Villa Grove coach Dan Sappenfield. The 2-2 tie will be broken Feb. 2 in the regular season finale for each school. That game will be played in Villa Grove.
Earlier this season, Oakwood's Rick Bough announced he'll retire from coaching at season's end.
Rematches often don't turn out the same as the first time teams played. However, Shiloh came close to duplicating its performance in a followup game against South Piatt. In the first meeting, Shiloh led 21-11 after one quarter and won 64-31. When the teams met again one week later, the Raiders led 19-9 after one quarter and won 65-31. In both games, Shelby Smith scored 18 points. ... Centennial's Chantal Meacham has made more three-pointers than any other squad member has attempted. The junior has 50 treys. Katelynn Martinez has attempted 48 three-point shots. ... Tonight's Vermilion County tournament championship game between top-seeded Bismarck-Henning and third-seeded Milford, at Danville's Palmer Arena, is a rematch between schools that met in December, with B-H winning 49-39. A third meeting is scheduled for next Thursday in Bismarck. Coach Mike Stephens' Blue Devils are seeking a fifth consecutive county crown.
News-Gazette Top 10
TEAM (PREVIOUS) RECORD COMMENT
1. Centennial (1) 20-3 Next: Saturday vs. Morton at Peoria Central
2. St. Thomas More (2) 19-4 Next: Saturday vs. SJ-O at Parkland College
3. Central (3) 15-6 Next: Tuesday, home vs. Normal Community
4. Shiloh (4) 19-4 Next: Saturday vs. Arcola at Lovington
5. St. Joseph-Ogden (7) 18-3 Next: Saturday vs. STM at Parkland College
6. Tuscola (5) 14-3 Next: Saturday vs. Maroa-Forsyth at St. Teresa
7. LeRoy (6) 20-1 Next: Saturday vs. El Paso/Gridley at Illinois Wesleyan
8. Bismarck-Henning (8) 16-5 Next: Friday night vs. Milford at Danville's Palmer Arena
9. Urbana Uni High (10) 16-3 Next: Saturday, home vs. Arthur Okaw Christian
10. Arcola (—) 17-3 Next: Saturday vs. Shiloh at Lovington