Schlarman wins state title

Schlarman wins state title

FINAL: Schlarman 53, Stockon 31

The dream is reality for Schlarman girls' basketball.

The Hilltoppers dominated the Class 1A state title game on Saturday afternoon, easily defeating Stockton 53-31 to claim the program's first-ever state championship.

The win capped a magical 33-1 season for Schlarman as the Hilltoppers ended the season on a 19-game win streak.

Led all season by Notre Dame commit Anaya Peoples, the talented roster coach Keith Peoples had also featured key contributions from the likes of Capria Brown, Janiah Newell, Syndey Gouard and a host of others on a three-month journey that saw Schlarman win 25 games by at least 20 points.

In the title game on Saturday, Schlarman jumped out to an 18-7 lead at the end of the first quarter and never looked back. The Hilltoppers forced Stockton into 22 turnovers, outscoring the Blackhawks 21-2 in points off turnovers.

Newell finished with a game-high 17 points for Schlarman, making 7 of 10 from the field, while Brown (15 points, five rebounds) and Peoples (11 points, eight rebounds) also hit double figures.

And the best part for the fans of the Hilltoppers? The entire roster should return next season as this year's team featured no seniors.

HALFTIME: Schlarman 30, Stockton 16

The Hilltoppers had little letdown in their second-quarter offense and plowed to a 14-point halftime advantage with two quarters to play.

Janiah Newell's 11 points show the way, while Capria Brown has eight and Anaya Peoples has seven. Stockton is at double-digit turnovers and has no player with more than five points.

The Blackhawks cannot run with the Hilltoppers, so they're going to need to find a way to take over the game's tempo. Forcing some turnovers of their own would be a good start. By this reporter's count, Schlarman had just one in the first half.

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END FIRST QUARTER: Schlarman 18, Stockton 7

The Hilltoppers have come out with a purpose here in the 1A final and hold a double-digit lead through eight minutes.

Capria Brown has six points for Schlarman, while Anaya Peoples and Janiah Newell each have five. The Hilltoppers are running the floor extremely well, and the Blackhawks have no counter for that.

This is exactly how the Hilltoppers came out yesterday, but Lebanon responded. Stockton will need to do the same, especially before halftime.

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PREGAME

Stockton is in the midst of a major program turnaround. Coach Tim Timpe is in just his second season with the Blackhawks and has improved them from 13-15 last year to 32-2 presently.

Stockton starts three seniors as well as a sophomore and a freshman. Three of those girls check in at 5-foot-10 or taller.

Going into the state tournament, senior Emily Offenheiser led the squad in scoring with an average of 15.4 points. Freshman Tiana Timpe follows that up with 12.5 ppg, and senior Aspyn Stewart averages just under 10 points a tilt.

We're about three minutes from the introduction of the starting lineups.

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PREGAME

Interesting fan setup today at Redbird Arena. Schlarman and Stockton fans are going to be situated side by side behind the benches.

You can actually see the two sections separated by a single line of flags. Yesterday, Lebanon's fans were seated right behind their own bench, while Schlarman's supporters were looking across the court at theirs.

It's not clear if the fans will be behind their own benches or the other team's, but it'd make sense for everyone to stay on their "right side." Having riled-up opposing rooters behind a team seems like a bad combination.

(Update: Each bench is in front of its corresponding fan base.)

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PREGAME

Schlarman girls' basketball is 32 game minutes from capturing its first-ever state championship.

The Hilltoppers (32-1) will take on the Stockton Blackhawks (32-2) today at 12:45 p.m. inside Illinois State's Redbird Arena for the honor of leading Class 1A.

Schlarman defeated Lebanon 51-40 in the semifinals Friday, while Stockton disposed of Okaw Valley 58-43.

The Blackhawks have reached the state tournament twice, though not for some time before 2018. Their previous appearances came in 2001 and 1993, and neither time did Stockton advance to the title game.

Stockton has not lost since Jan. 5, while Schlarman has not experienced defeat since Dec. 30. So something will have to give in this matchup of big — the Blackhawks have four kids at 5-foot-10 or taller — and small, as the Hilltoppers boast no 6-footers.

Here's some pregame reading/viewing from yesterday's semifinal tilt.

Game story after Schlarman upended Lebanon in its first state tournament affair.

Notes from Friday on fan support, playing on a bigger court and more.

Robin Scholz's images from the victory.

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Bwp 5P wrote on February 24, 2018 at 4:02 pm

Well Done Lady Toppers! What a Fun team to watch. Great defense, Playing Hard the entire game, and sharing the ball!!! All the ingredients of a WINNER!

Danville Is Proud of You!

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