MBB notebook: Morgan starting strong for Illini

NICEVILLE, Fla. — One of the bright spots early in the season has been the play of Maverick Morgan. After playing sparingly as a freshman and sophomore, the center has been a fixture in the Illini rotation this season, averaging 6.6 points and 3.0 rebounds in 13.2 minutes per game.

Friday's highlights: GCMS, LeRoy boys hoops to meet in finale

In boys’ basketball
Adam Lopez Thanksgiving Tournament

Rockets overwhelmed by Fightin' Irish in title game

DeKALB — Unity football coach Scott Hamilton choked up as the trophy for finishing in second place in Class 3A sat in front of him, the second time in the last week he fought off tears after an emotional playoff game.

Last week, his emotions overflowed after a win. This time, he reacted to a big loss.

Volleyball team falls in finale

ANN ARBOR, Mich. — Illinois had to win three of its final four matches to put itself in the best possible situation as a potential host for the first two rounds of the NCAA tournament. Instead, the Illini lost three of their last four, including Friday at Michigan in a 23-25, 25-22, 27-25, 25-20 victory for the Wolverines in the regular-season finale for both teams.

Arcola routs Stark County for 1A football crown

DeKALB — Arcola football coach Zach Zehr followed a swath of white jerseys with purple numbers and jogged along the Huskie Stadium sideline Friday while a crowd half the size of Arcola cheered wildly as the Purple Riders hoisted a trophy that, a few years ago, they never thought they’d hold.

Football state championships notes: Arcola's win particularly special

DeKALB — Last season’s 41-34 second-round playoff loss to Camp Point Central served as Arcola’s “pure motivation” during its run to Friday’s Class 1A state title, senior running back Wyatt Fishel said.

The Purple Riders clearly learned their lesson from that game. Last year’s loss was sealed by a Camp Point Central kickoff return for a touchdown that stymied a comeback attempt.

HS Football: Unity vs. Bishop McNamara Class 3A Championship

 The Unity Rockets accept the runner-up trophy after being defeated by Bishop McNamara at the IHSA Class 3A Champions Game at Northern Illinois University in DeKalb Friday Nov. 27, 2015.

How they line up: Illini vs. Wildcats

ILLINI (5-6)
No.     Position    Player    Ht.    Wt.    Yr.
12    Quarterback    Wes Lunt    6-5    225    Jr.

How Northwestern analyst sees it

We asked Chicago Tribune beat writer Teddy Greenstein for his take on the Wildcats going into Saturday’s Northwestern-Illinois game at Soldier Field. Here’s what he had to say:

Final Word: Squad soldiers on

CHICAGO — Illinois will be listed as the home team Saturday against Northwestern. The seniors will trot out for the last time. But make no mistake, they are on the road.

“It’s like an away game,” Illinois interim coach Bill Cubit said.

So, Cubit’s plan for Friday was to treat it like a typical trip.