How sweet it is for the small schools

How sweet it is for the small schools

Since class expansion went into effect a decade ago, The News-Gazette has had 30 small-school boys' basketball teams reach the Sweet 16. Either Monticello or St. Joseph-Ogden will make it that far after the two Illini Prairie Conference rivals duke it out tonight in a Class 2A Maroa-Forsyth Sectional semifinal game. A look back at those who have reached this stage since 2008:

YEAR, SCHOOL, OUTCOME

2017, Monticello Sages, reach state — where they finish fourth — after 51-49 win against Quincy Notre Dame.

2017, Paxton-Buckley-Loda, Panthers give Monticello all it can handle, but lose 41-32 in OT in 2A sectional title game.

2017, Watseka, First Sweet 16 appearance since 1994 closes with 60-44 loss to Kankakee McNamara.

2017, Ridgeview, Mustangs rout Cissna Park 59-30 in Sweet 16 before losing to Newark in 1A super-sectional.

2017, Cissna Park, Timberwolves close out at 14-19 following sectional title game loss to Ridgeview in Arcola.

2016, St. Joseph-Ogden, Spartans finish 24-9 and win Class 2A state title with 61-43 victory against Rockridge.

2016, Paxton-Buckley-Loda, Panthers couldn't slow down host SJ-O 62-42 in Sweet 16 defeat in 2A sectional title game.

2016, LeRoy, Matt Chastain, Panthers (28-5) win 1A state title with 38-35 win against Chicago Leo.

2016, Ridgeview, Mustangs nearly upset LeRoy before losing 42-39 in 1A sectional title game in Colfax.

2015, St. Joseph-Ogden, Christian Williams and St. Teresa take down Spartans 49-35 in 2A sectional title game.

2015, Ridgeview, Current Illinois State standout William Tinsley helps Mustangs (32-2) finish third in 1A.

2015, Milford, Bearcats stumble 60-48 against Ridgeview in 1A sectional title game at Schlarman.

2014, St. Thomas More,STM makes Elite Eight in 1A for first time, but loses to Heyworth at Redbird Arena.

2013, St. Joseph-Ogden, SJ-O beats Riverton in Elite Eight before first trip to state ends with fourth-place finish in 2A.

2013, Monticello, Sages fall in Sweet 16 after Monticello beat Clifton Central in 2A sectional semifinal game.

2013, Cissna Park, Timberwolves make Elite Eight, but can't get by Illini Central in super-sectional in Normal.

2013, Ridgeview, Mustangs lose 72-64 to eventual state champ Illini Central in 1A sectional title game.

2013, Arthur-Lovington, Knights upset Salt Fork in 1A sectional semifinal before falling to Cissna Park in Sweet 16.

2012 Fisher, Bunnies beat Arthur 43-31 in Sweet 16 but couldn't get past Illini Central in 1A Elite Eight.

2011, Rantoul, Eagles' foray into 2A proves successful before Teutopolis wins 60-48 in sectional title game.

2011, Chrisman, Cardinals reach Elite Eight in 1A before falling 45-40 to Deer Creek-Mackinaw in Normal.

2011, Blue Ridge, Knights put up fight before losing 64-61 to Deer Creek-Mackinaw in 1A sectional title game.

2010, Paxton-Buckley-Loda, Panthers wrap 28-3 season with 66-56 loss to Hales Franciscan in 2A sectional title game.

2010, Salt Fork, Salt Fork caps 33-1 season with 55-42 win against Sesser-Valier in 1A state title game.

2010, LeRoy, First sectional title evades Panthers with 48-43 loss to Peoria Heights in 1A Sweet 16.

2009, Ridgeview, Mustangs win 1A sectional title on home floor before losing to Meridian in Elite Eight.

2009, Salt Fork, Eventual 1A state champ Meridian beat the Storm 67-41 in sectional title game at Tuscola.

2008, Bismarck-Henning, Blue Devils' 2A stay stops with 65-63 OT loss to Olney East Richland in sectional title game.

2008, Fisher, Warrensburg-Latham handles the Bunnies 54-28 in 1A super-sectional at Redbird Arena.

2008, Gibson City-Melvin-Sibley, Falcons' run ends with a 53-37 loss to Fisher in 1A sectional title game at Parkland College.

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