Centennial awaits Big 12 bout
CHAMPAIGN – With a little more than five weeks left in the Big 12 Conference boys' basketball race, three teams have one or fewer league losses. Two will meet Friday at Centennial in a game with major title implications.
The Chargers – top-ranked in Class 3A – will host Decatur MacArthur at 7:30 p.m. Centennial (17-1) leads the league at 7-0, while the Generals (10-5) are second at 5-1 – a half-game in front of Normal Community (4-1).
"We always talk to our kids about being ready to play," Chargers coach Tim Lavin said. "They certainly better be ready Friday."
Under first-year coach Felipe Phillips, MacArthur has made a remarkable turnaround after going 1-12 in the Big 12 last season. The Generals had losing conference records each of the past five seasons.
However, with four of five starters back – including 2008 All-Big 12 honorable mention choice Monty Wilson – MacArthur has risen to title-contender status. The Generals enter Friday's showdown with a five-game winning streak.
"They're athletic, shoot the ball very well, very explosive," Lavin said. "In some of the (newspaper) articles I've seen, they keep talking about winning the Big 12, so I'm sure they're going to be hungry coming in here on Friday."
The outcome could clarify the race or make it even more muddled.
"They've only got one conference loss," Lavin said, "so a win goes a long way as far as the Big 12 goes."
Gilenson earns recognition
CHAMPAIGN – Central wrestler Aryn Gilenson is winning matches and getting recognition for it.
In last week's state rankings, compiled by The Illinois Best Weekly, Gilenson was not listed. In this week's compilation, the undefeated senior (28-0) has vaulted into the No. 2 spot at 125 pounds in Class 2A.
The area's other four ranked 2A grapplers held their position: Mahomet-Seymour's Jared Ernst (third at 135), Central's Brandon Ward (second at 160), M-S; Andrew Brewer (first at 171) and Urbana's Caleb Blaney (fourth at 215).
Individually, there's no change in Class 1A. LeRoy's Devin Bullington stays third at 103, teammate Tyler Wilfley remains second at 140, GCMS teammates Stephan Birt (152) and Colten Unzicker (160) kept their fourth and third spots, respectively, and Argenta-Oreana's Cody Force hasn't budged from the No. 4 position at 215 pounds.
Folts, Lacine look for titles
CHAMPAIGN – Centennial's Paul Folts, who won two individual events and swam on a first-place relay, will be among the returning champions at the Twin City Championships swimming and diving meet Tuesday at Unit 4 Pool.
Diving begins at 4 p.m., with the first swimming event set for 6:30 p.m. at Centennial.
Folts is the defending champion in the 50-yard free and 100 back. During his career, the senior has won five TC titles, including three relays.
Other defending champions include senior Mike Lacine of Central in the 100 breast, Maroons senior Colin McGill in the 100 butterfly and Urbana junior Austin Zarbuck in the 200 free.
Including relays, Lacine has captured five TC crowns, the first as a freshman on a 200 medley relay unit. McGill also is a multiple TC titlist, with two of his three wins coming in relays.
Central is the defending team champion and has won five of the last six Twin City meets.
M-S injury list could shrink
MAHOMET – Mahomet-Seymour's injury- depleted boys' basketball team is closer to getting at least two players back on the court. Brannon Kwiatkowski, a starting guard, is scheduled to have the broken knuckle on his left hand re-examined by a doctor Monday. The Bulldog junior is left-handed.
Junior guard Ryan Ohl, sidelined by mononucleosis, was scheduled to make a doctor's visit Wednesday. Junior forward Kyle Storm (knee) is out for the season.
"We could have a couple guys back shortly," M-S coach Chad Benedict said this week.