Preps coordinator Anthony Zilis is DeKalb-bound later this week for a pair of state championship games. Will Arcola return home with its first state title since 1988? Can Unity's somewhat unexpected run end in Scott Hamilton's first state championship in his fifth trip? Zilis can answer those questions — and more — at 12:30 p.m. Wednesday.
The Illinois men's basketball team escaped Springfield with a buzzer-beating win against Chicago State, saving the Illini from what would have been one of the worst losses for the program — perhaps of all time. Jalen Coleman-Lands' game-winning three-pointer also kept Illinois from its first 1-4 start since the 1906-07 season. It's safe to say the Springfield experiment didn't really pan out.
CHAMPAIGN — Mike Thomas may be gone, but one of his least-popular decisions as University of Illinois athletic director will play out this weekend — in downtown Chicago and its far-west suburbs.
TOLONO — Unity football coach Scott Hamilton knows he has plenty to worry about in Kankakee McNamara running back Jonathan Ward.
The Central Michigan commit, who coach Richard Zinanni said is still being pursued by bigger schools, torched Immaculate Conception for 196 yards and four touchdowns Saturday in a 42-14 win in the Class 3A state quarterfinals.
ARCOLA — The day after his team advanced to the Class 1A state finals, Arcola football coach Zach Zehr woke up early and drove northwest.
First, he stopped in Bloomington, where he picked up former Deer Creek-Mackinaw coach Jim McDonald, his high school coach. Then, he dropped off his children at his parents’ house in Mackinaw.
In boys’ basketball
Gibson City-Melvin-Sibley Tournament
■ Blue Ridge 85, Olympia 80. Dylan Lytel scored 28 points and Chase Zimmerman added 27, but Blue Ridge needed overtime to secure a win in Joe Sawyer’s first game as head coach. Lindi Balazi had 17 points for the Knights, who led 43-35 at halftime.
CHAMPAIGN — Bill Cubit delivered a history lesson, past, present and future, when he stepped in front of the podium in the Memorial Stadium press box on Monday afternoon.
The Illinois interim coach struck on the past by wearing one of Lou Henson’s customary orange blazers, an homage to the all-time winningest basketball coach at Illinois who can now call himself a Hall of Famer.
How hoops writers Marcus Jackson and Scott Richey voted in this week’s men’s and women’s AP Top 25s:
Marcus Jackson's men's ballot
Sneak peek: UI women vs. Tennessee State, 7 p.m. today
P Name Yr. Ht. PPG Prev. (vs. UT Martin)
SPRINGFIELD — Where were all the fans?
Did they go east instead of west on the way from Champaign? Was the Prairie Capital Convention Center too hard to find?
When the Illinois mini-tour was first announced, full houses for the four regular-season games seemed possible. Even likely.