Cerro Gordo, Oakwood program close in on 1,000th win

Boys' basketball teams from Cerro Gordo and Oakwood are pursuing the same goal, and it's one which each high school could achieve.

The schools are within reach of winning the 1,000th game in their history.

Tigers get back on track after return to Aquatic Center

URBANA – Karl Heine never will take his high school pool for granted. Not after being without the Urbana Indoor Aquatic Center for nearly two months last season.

"I'm glad that we have it back," the Urbana sophomore swimmer said. "I think we can train much better in this pool than we could in Campus Connections."

Zook finalist for award

Illinois coach Ron Zook is one of seven finalists for the Paul "Bear" Bryant College Coach of the Year Award.

The winner will be determined in voting by the National Sportscasters and Sportswriters Association and will be revealed Jan. 17 in Houston.

Illinois, Legion can talk

CHAMPAIGN – Alex Legion, a highly regarded freshman who is leaving Kentucky, has been granted permission by Kentucky to speak with Illinois.

Legion was released by Kentucky to have discussions with Illinois early today. That came after a few precarious days, when it was uncertain if Kentucky would allow Illinois in the mix for the 6-foot-5 guard.

Chargers' newcomers ice victory

RANTOUL – After replacing an injured teammate in the starting lineup Tuesday night, Jeff Johnson was in need of an ice pack himself.

While scrambling for a loose ball during the third period, the Centennial center took a painful knock to the knee.

Late lapses get Chrisman's attention

WESTVILLE – Jordan Kindred's Chrisman teammates know the senior guard is going to attract more than his share of attention from opposing defenses. They also know that when that happens they must step up and knock down shots.

Now if the Cardinals can just figure out how to close out games, coach Shawn Nugent and his staff would sleep much easier.

Roses are red ...

A look at the Rose Bowl-bound Illini:

Tate: A gray area for guards

CHAMPAIGN – Derek Harper, who became arguably the greatest guard turned out by the University of Illinois, didn't exactly hit the ground running here.

While setting the then-school record with 156 assists in 1980-81, the Florida product was erratic from the perimeter in averaging 8.3 points as a freshman. He was 0 for 10 at Indiana, scoreless at Minnesota and Purdue, and a distressing 0 for 7 in the UI's 57-52 loss to Kansas State in the NCAA regional. This was the beginning of a career in which he showed dramatic improvement every year for a decade.

Lineman O'Donnell is Grade A: All-American

CHAMPAIGN – For the first time in 48 years, The Associated Press named an Illinois offensive lineman to its All-America team. And the recipient was as surprised as anyone.

Martin O'Donnell was busy Tuesday working on a project, part of his graduate school requirements, when he found out about the honor. The senior from Downers Grove didn't have an acceptance speech ready.

Purple Riders of all ages come back to help honor Stiff

Nancy Stiff's 35-year tenure as the only girls' basketball coach in Arcola High history means there's very little about the program which she does not know.

Several dozen former players, however, helped pull off the ultimate surprise for Stiff last month.