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Photo Gallery: IHSA State Championship Saturday

Photo Gallery: IHSA State Championship Saturday

Brimfield 32, Galena 31

Quincy Notre Dame 63, Winnebago 56

Carmel Catholic 43, Nazareth Academy 39

Stevenson 55, Barrington 43

Schreacke Sets 2A Title Game Record in Quincy Notre Dame Win Over Winnebago

Schreacke Sets 2A Title Game Record in Quincy Notre Dame Win Over Winnebago

By Kaleb Carter

NORMAL – A record-breaking, 35-point performance from Quincy Notre Dame junior Abbey Schreacke is what it took to clinch the Raiders a Class 2A title 63-56 over Winnebago Saturday at Redbird Arena. 

Schreacke’s second-chance three-pointer with just over a minute left in the third quarter sent a deafening roar through Redbird Arena. A QND defensive stop and some free throws following offensive rebounds helped the Raiders (29-3) head to the fourth on a 14-3 run. 

Schreake added three free throws after time had elapsed to close the third, as a Miyah Brown foul sent the Raiders’ junior wing to the charity stripe. That trio of freebies had Quincy Notre Dame up 48-39 going to the fourth. Schreacke went on to finish with a 2A title game record of 35 points. She also had 11 rebounds and was a perfect 14-of-14 on free throws. 

Raiders junior guard Blair Eftink added 13 points for QND. The Raiders also shot 29-of-34 from the free throw line. 

“We would not be able to come out how we do if we don’t come together,” Eftink said. “Even if we’re up, we come together and talk it out. If we’re down, we come together and we know that everything we do, it’s not just one person.”

The closest Winnebago pulled in the fourth was within five, 48-43, when senior forward Sarah Seger hit a shot from the right block. Seger scored 10 points, junior Campbell Schrank scored 10 points and and senior forward and Wisconsin-Whitewater hoops commit Renee Rittmeyer led Winnebago with 16 points.

“It was really exciting to have a good game in our last game, the state finals,” Seger said. “ It meant a lot.”

Schreake scored 19 of those 35 points on 7-of-10 shooting and 5-of-5 free throws in the first half, but Winnebago took a 29-28 lead into half after two Brown free throws. 

“I got off to a good start and that’s because of my teammates around me,” Schreacke said. “Eryn (Cornwell) always sets good screen for me. She always gets me open.”

Brown, a senior Bellarmine basketball signee, did everything she could muster to keep her squad in the game, while others like Seger gave Winnebago some huge minutes on the block in the second half. Brown struggled mightily with her shot, going 3-of-18 from the floor. 

“I love competition and she gave it to me,” Brown said of Schreacke. 

She added 11 rebounds and four assists.  

“It was really exciting to have a good game in our last game, the state finals,” Seger said. “It meant a lot.”

Winnebago had the rebounding advantage and took advantage with 21 second-chance points, but shot 4-of-16 on three-point attempts and just 14-of-24 from the free throw line. Winnebago finished 36-3. 

Eftink shared an insight about the love and dedication coach Eric Orne shows his Raiders. 

“This year I found out my mom had cancer and he was the first person to buy the wrist bands we all wear,” Eftink said. 

“These wrist bands were a good reminder for us to keep playing hard and it just shows how much we’re a family and we have to have each other’s backs,” Schreakce said. 

Brimfield Topples Galena for 1A Girls Title with 4th-Quarter Run

Brimfield Topples Galena for 1A Girls Title with 4th-Quarter Run

By Kaleb Carter

NORMAL — Brimfield sophomore guard Elynn Peterson missed the first free throw in the biggest pair of attempts of her life. She sank the second to deliver Brimfield a 32-31 victory over Galena in the Class 1A State Championship game Saturday at Redbird Arena.

“I don’t want to go to overtime, so I really got to make this basket,” Peterson said she told herself. “So I said, ‘God, please help me,’ shot the ball, and it went in.”

Galena led 22-12 early in the fourth quarter. But that lead was trimmed quickly to 22-17, with a huge Ella Lune block leading to a runout and Elly Doe three-pointer. Brimfield had to complete the comeback without Doe, however, as she quickly picked up her fourth and fifth fouls.

Brimfield’s Jaclyn Fabry followed that with a three-pointer to cut the deficit to two. Out of a Galena timeout, Sophie Bedell put her own missed shot back in for a game-tying make, making it 22-22 and capping a 10-0 Brimfield run. 

“It’s a dream come true to win state,” Bedell said. “I think we played really well together. We were really struggling in the first half, but when we came out (in the second half), we were communicating more and we were fixing our offense.”

Gracie Furlong’s corner three-pointer stopped the Brimfield run and put Galena back on top 25-22. Lune answered with an and-one bucket and free throw to tie it, then Fabry saved a ball from going out of bounds and found a cutting Bedell for a shot off the glass and a 27-25 Brimfield lead with just over four minutes left.

Lune finished with 10 points, eight rebounds and six blocks. 

Galena sophomore Taylor Burcham muscled up a tough layup to tie it again, then both squads forced turnovers, and Burcham and Fabry traded buckets to make it 29-29. Burcham finished with a game-high 15 points. 

“I was trying to keep the momentum going,” Burcham said. 

Bedell sank a reverse layup for a Brimfield lead, only for Burcham to score another basket through contact on the other side to tie it 31-31. After Burcham missed the free throw, Brimfield called a timeout with 52.4 seconds left.

From there, Brimfield ran down the clock for Peterson’s drive, drawn foul and winning free throw.

“When you play the best teams in 3A and 2A you’re probably going to tell yourself we’ve played the best, so let’s just continue to play our game and it will work out, Brimfield. “And it did,” 

The Pirates’ incredible 1-3-1 defense kept Brimfield off the scoreboard in the third quarter until the 1:49 mark when Sophie Bedell made 1-of-2 free throws to cut Galena’s lead to 21-12. The Pirates scored the first seven points of the second half. 

Doe sank a layup for Brimfield’s final points of the third as Galena took a 22-14 lead into the fourth quarter. 

Galena looked to set the tone defensively in the early going, with a block and two steals on Brimfield’s first three possessions. Brimfield was just as game defensively with three Lune blocks in the first quarter. 

“We executed everything we wanted to do 90 to 95 percent of the game,” Galena coach Jamie Watson said “I said it a long time ago, we’re the best defensive team in 1A. I believe it now and I believed it when I said it six weeks ago.

“Taylor [Burcham] was a monster and really made big shot after big shot,” Watson said. “She was barely holding us up there at times.”

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Illinois Girls High School Basketball Rankings: Week of January 23

Illinois Girls High School Basketball Rankings: Week of January 23

Stevenson's Simone Sawyer sets up to play defensively as Whitney Young's Destiny Jackson handles the ball.

By Kaleb Carter

These rankings are an attempt to contextualize how the top teams in the state stack up with one another, regardless of the size of the school. There will be a lot of movement on these in the coming weeks, don’t you fret. Sound off in our replies as to who you think belongs and which teams deserve a better ranking. 

Notes:

  • is how many positions improved 
  • – is how many positions fallen backward
  • UR is previously unranked

1. Stevenson (23-1, No change)

Single-digit wins over Lake Forest and Downers Grove North.

2. Benet (19-2, No change)

Beat Waukesha West, Carmel Catholic and Rock Island. Big game coming up against Nazareth on Monday.

3. Kenwood (15-4, No change)

Won Red South/Central Conference with unbeaten 8-0 record, finished off unbeaten conference slate with 72-30 win over Simeon. Fell to one of Indiana’s best teams, Crown Point, 82-76 in double overtime.

4. Loyola Academy (22-2, No change)

Beat Lincoln-Way West, St. Ignatius and Moline.

5. Naperville North (22-2, No change)

Wins against Butler College Prep, Downers Grove South and Neuqua Valley by an average of 34 points.

6. Sycamore (20-0, No change)

Beat Ottawa, Rochelle and Hampshire.

7. Geneseo (24-0, No change)

Defeated St. Ignatius and Galesburg.

8. Nazareth (19-1, +5)

Win over Marist; scheduled to play at No. 2 Benet on Monday.

9. Bolingbrook (12-3, +3)

Defeated Joliet West and Sandburg, lost to Incarnate Word of Missouri. They should return guards Kennedi Perkins and Yaheira Bueno to action soon.

10. Hersey (22-4, -3)

An unfortunate season-ending knee injury took Meghan Mrowicki out of action in a thumping by Fenwick, but the Huskies bounced back with wins over Rolling Meadows, Prospect and Deerfield.

11. Joliet West (15-2, -2)

Almost found a way to overcome a big deficit against Bolingbrook, then beat Plainfield South, Yorkville and Metea Valley, all by at least 20 points.

12. Barrington (14-5, +5)

After winning convincingly over Fremd this past week, the Fillies and the Vikings each have a win over one another. Barrington’s last two losses are to Stevenson. The Fillies defeated Hoffman Estates and Fremd this past week, the latter 62-47 with Sophie Swanson scoring a program-record 40 points. She also committed to Purdue this past week and sophomore forward Molly O’Riordan received an offer from Loyola.

13. Fremd (20-5 -3)

Wins over St. Viator and Palatine, loss to Barrington by 15.

14. Geneva (17-4, +1)

On a six-game winning streak and 9-0 in the parity-filled DuKane. Wins this last week over Wheaton-Warrenville South, Glenbard North and Lake Zurich.

15. Marist (17-5 -4)

Wins over Marian Central Catholic and Butler College Prep, lost to Nazareth.

16. Lyons Township (19-3, -2)

Handed losses to York, Provost West, Batavia and Fenton, unbeaten in West Suburban.

17. Edwardsville (18-4, -1)

Coasted its way to victories over Althoff Catholic and Missouri defending state champion Whitfield.

18. Peoria Notre Dame (19-1, +1)

Mya Wardle playing strong in defeating Brimfield, Manual and Elmwood.

19. Okawville (22-1, -1)

Earned a second win over O’Fallon before falling to Civic Memorial in the championship of the Highland Tournament. 

20. O’Fallon (18-4, +1)

Defeated good programs in Teutopolis and Alton, but fell to Okawville for a second time.

21. Whitney Young (14-5, +1)

Has won seven straight games and enters the CPL Playoffs as the No. 2 seed behind only Kenwood.

22. Peoria (19-3, +2)

Raced past Canton and Bloomington before earning two very good wins against Galesburg and Lincoln.

23. Morton (17-3, +2)

Bounced back from a loss to Peoria with wins over Galesburg and Lincoln.

24. Winnebago (23-1, -4)

Beat Byron, lost at Saint Viator and handed Stillman Valley defeat.

25. Deerfield (18-3, -2)

Came back against Maine South, beat Maine East and lost to Hersey.

Just Missed Out

  • Montini (UR)
  • Homewood-Flossmoor (UR)
  • Quincy Notre Dame (UR)
  • Civic Memorial (UR)
  • Prospect (UR)
  • Downers Grove North (UR)
  • Metamora (UR)
  • Washington (UR)

Teams to Watch

Montini, Quincy Notre Dame, Lincoln, Alton, Carmel Catholic,Washington, Metamora, Peoria Notre Dame, Peoria, Fieldcrest, Libertyville, Paris, Providence Catholic, Sandburg, Normal, Lincoln-Way Central, Marian Catholic, Civic Memorial, Butler College Prep, Homewood-Flossmoor, Springfield, South Elgin, Mt. Vernon, Illini West, Mattoon, Brimfield, Downers Grove North, Galesburg, Pana, Fenwick, Saint Viator.

Photo Gallery: Coach Kipp Hoopsfest at Benet

Benet Academy hosted the second day of the Coach Kipp Hoopsfest, with 10 games played on Monday, Jan. 17. It was the 32nd annual edition of the event.

Here are the scores from the games played that weren’t photographed by Kaleb Carter on Monday. 

Evanston 49, Thornwood 43

Loyola Academy 66, Lincoln-Way West 49

Homewood-Flossmoor 70, Rolling Meadows 29

Marian Catholic 44, Trinity 29

Fenwick 73, Hersey 39

Bolingbrook 49, Joliet West 44

Libertyville 58, Willowbrook 51

Wheaton North 44, Mother McAuley 42

Benet 56, Waukesha West 30

Naperville North 72, Butler College Prep 50

Glenbrook South is ready to make a deep playoff run this season

Phil Ralston knows each time Glenbrook South steps on to the basketball court, his team has a target on its back. 

As the Glenbrook South varsity boys’ basketball coach, Ralston’s Titans have a 45-7 record the past two seasons. They finished 16-2 earlier this year in a condensed season that didn’t feature a state basketball tournament due to the COVID-19 pandemic.

“No one’s not going to know about us,” Ralston said. “Those days have ended.”

A big reason for that is seniors Nick Martinelli and Cooper Noard. 

The duo scored 700 combined points in 18 games as juniors last season, and both have committed to playing Division-I basketball at the next level: Martinelli at Elon University and Noard at Cornell University. 

“There aren’t too many teams in the state that can claim that they have two All-State basketball players coming back and playing for them,” Ralston said. “That is something I’ve never had as a coach. So to have two high-level players coming back this year it makes a huge difference.”

As a sophomore, Martinelli played on a Glenbrook South team that won 29 games, so he knows what it is like to be a part of a good unit. But the 6-foot-8 shooting guard believes this year’s Titans can be special. 

Nick Martinelli attempts a free throw during the 2020-21 season. (Photo: Braeden Schmidt)

“I think we will be the best team the school has had ever,” Martinelli said.  “We definitely have the most talent that I’ve ever seen at a public high school gym. We have so many guys that can come in and score, and we have guys that just want to get down and play defense and work hard.”

As for Noard, whenever someone asks him what the expectations are for this year, he always responds with the same answer. 

“It’s to win a state championship,” Noard said. “It doesn’t really matter how we get there, how hard it is, what we do to get there. That’s my one goal.”

In order for the 2021-22 Titans to become the best team in school history or to win a championship, they are going to need more than just Martinelli and Noard to accomplish those goals. 

Last season, Glenbrook South had seniors Matthew Rosenberger and Justin Leszynski they could count on. The two finished as the team’s third and fourth leading scorers, respectively. Rosenberger scored 115 points and Leszynski added 100 points. And as seniors, they also provided leadership for the team.

Junior Rodell Davis Jr. — also known as RJ to his coaches and teammates — is someone that Ralston, Martinelli and Noard view as bringing those same qualities for this season.

“I really think that RJ has become such a good leader this year,” Martinelli said. “It’s crazy just to see how much he has grown from sophomore to junior year.”

For Davis, he wasn’t surprised to hear his coach and teammates express their confidence in him. 

“Over this past offseason, I’ve been in the gym everyday lifting, getting better. I feel like I’m bigger, stronger,” Davis said. “So I was kind of expecting it and I’m prepared to take on the role.”

Ralston, Martinelli and Noard also expressed confidence in senior Spencer Brown and junior Gavin Marr. The talent is there for Glenbrook South, and that’s why Ralson and the rest of the Titans’ coaching staff have constructed a schedule that will test the players. 

This season, Glenbrook South is slated to play teams like Glenbard West, Simeon, and, of course, conference rival New Trier. Chicago Sun-Times editor Michael O’Brien ranked all three of those teams — including Glenbrook South — in his Super 25, with Glenbard West at No. 1, Simeon No. 5, Glenbrook south No. 6 and New Trier No. 9. 

The Titans began their 2021 season competing in the Ed Molitor Thanksgiving Classic Varsity Boys’ Basketball Tournament. Glenbrook South defeated Elk Grove, 91-49, on Monday for its first game of the year. And followed that performance with a 79-32 victory over Jacobs the next day.

Next up, Glenbrook South will face York on Friday and finish the tournament on Saturday. This week’s worth of games is just the beginning of what the Titans expect to be a highly productive season.

“I think we have a group that is mentally tough. They’re hungry,” Ralston said. “They want to try and accomplish something that our program has never done, which is to win a sectional. Great aspiration. We certainly have the talent and capability to do it. Now it’s a matter of being able to put it all together, with no guarantees that it is ever going to happen.”

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