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College basketball

Illini stumble in Badgerland

[JAN. 7, 2002]

The Fighting Illini capped off a disturbing week of losses by bowing to the Wisconsin Badgers, 72-66. Charlie Wills was made to look like an All-American by scoring 19 points and helping to thrash the Illini in front of a packed house of delirious patrons. The Illini continued to see their big men spending far too much time on the pines. Robert Archibald led the Illini with 17 points followed by Cory Bradford with 13 and Frank Williams with 12. Lincoln's Brian Cook finished with 8 points as he spent half the game mired in foul trouble, albeit with some of the most interesting calls made in quite a while. It doesn't get any easier for Illinois as Wednesday night they will head into very hostile Mackey Arena to take on the Purdue Boilermakers.

[Jeff Mayfield]



Southern Illinois crushes Illinois State, 79-58

[JAN. 7, 2002]  CARBONDALE Illinois State committed 24 turnovers and continued to have problems generating points throughout the game as the Southern Illinois Salukis cruised to a 79-58 conference victory over the Redbirds in Carbondale. The Salukis had four players reach double figures in scoring during the game.

Southern Illinois, 12-2 (2-0 MVC), started to pull away midway through the first half with an 11-2 run. With the score 43-31 at the half, the Salukis added some more cushion to their lead with a 13-3 run to open the second half. SIU took their largest lead of the game, 72-40, with a little over eight minutes remaining in the game.


Shedrick Ford led Illinois State, 4-9 (0-2 MVC), with 16 points shooting 7 for 14 from the field. Baboucarr Bojang was the only other Redbird to reach double figures with 13 points. Bojang also led the 'Birds on the boards with nine rebounds.



[to top of second column in this article]

Southern Illinois was led in scoring by junior Jermaine Dearman with 16 points, while freshman guard Stetson Hairston put together the best performance of his young collegiate career with 15 points and 11 rebounds. The Salukis tallied 20 offensive boards in the game, which helped create plenty of opportunities for SIU to score.

The Redbirds return home for a Missouri Valley Conference match-up against the Wichita State Shockers on Monday, Jan. 7, at 7:05 p.m.

[ISU news release]

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Illinois State vs. Wichita State men's basketball pre-game notes

[JAN. 7, 2002]   

[Click here to view background information (in Adobe Acrobat)]

[Click here to download Adobe Acrobat reader]


High school

Area game results

[JAN. 7, 2002]   


At Lincoln

Taylorville                  9 27 39     51
Lincoln                    10 16 32     57

Farmer 3-3-11;  Komnick  0-2-2;  Gallagher  1-0-2; Schonauer  3-0-8; Welch  2-0-4; Young  9-6-24; Schrader  2-1-6

Totals 20-12-57

Three points field goals, Farmer 2, Schonauer 2, Schrader.


At Lincoln

Lincoln 42-Normal West 37

103-Valdes(L) won by forfeit; 112-Rogers(L) won by forfeit; 119-Fannin(NW)won by forfeit; 125- M.Zemmel(NW) pinned Allen(L),4:00; 130- Martin(L) pinned Reeves(NW),5:07; 135- Jackson(NW) dec. Sullivan(L), 15-9; 140 Sparks(L) pinned Moore(NW), 1:11; 145- Purcell(L) pinned Homer(NW), 1:27; 152- A. Zemmel pinned Frost(L), 5:25; 160- Sanders(NW) maj. dec. Barringer(L), 17-4; Leisinger(L) won by forfeit; 189- Henderson(NW) inj.dec. Babbs(L), 2:15; 215- Reinhart(L) pinned Fogle(NW), 2:50; Hwt.- Iden(NW) pinned Copper(L), 3:14.







College basketball

Northern Iowa downs ISU in women’s basketball

[JAN. 5, 2002]  Abbi Schutte scored 11 of her game-high 15 points to lead Northern Iowa past Illinois State 53-44 Friday in a Missouri Valley Conference game, which featured low shooting percentages and just 24 total turnovers.

Taren O'Brien led the Redbirds with 13 points and Katie Donovan added 10. Sharon Blade and Kristi Larson had nine rebounds each and Larson had three blocked shots. ISU had just 15 turnovers, but the Panthers had only nine for the game, a season-low against the 'Birds.

The Redbird defense limited UNI to just 28 percent field goal shooting in the first 20 minutes.  The Panthers raised that to 32 percent by game's end.  Illinois State shot 33 percent. UNI made 11 of 15 free throws, but ISU made just four of nine for the game.

Redbird coach Jenny Yopp appreciated her team's defensive effort, but was disappointed the 'Birds couldn't score more.

"The bottom line for us is we didn't put the ball in the hoop enough," said Yopp. "Neither team shot particularly well. We held them 10 points under their average and our defense played well. We also got the shots we wanted, but we couldn't get enough of them to fall."

ISU has held its last four opponents under 60 points after allowing 70 points per game to opponents the first seven games. Yopp thought her team missed Stacey White, who was limited to 19 minutes because of foul trouble.

"We didn't have Stacey White when it was critical," said Yopp. "She's a player who really makes a difference for us at both ends of the court. We missed that for much of the game tonight."


[to top of second column in this article]

The 'Birds, 2-9 overall, 0-2 in the Valley, took a 15-9 lead at the 11-minute mark on a 6-0 started by Katie Donovan's 360-degree spinning layup with 13:15 left. Seven different Redbirds scored in their first 17 points. UNI came back to take an 18-17 lead on Nadine Brandt's three-pointer with 5:41 left. Kristi Larson tied it at 18-18 with a free throw 90 seconds later.  UNI scored the final four points of the half to take a 22-18 advantage.

After a 7-15 shooting start, the 'Birds missed their last nine attempts in the first half and didn't have a field goal in the final 8:57 before halftime.  UNI hit its first two shots of the second half to go ahead 27-20. Donovan's back-to-back baskets cut the lead to 27-24, but UNI muscled up on the 'Birds inside for a 9-0 run to lead 36-24 with 15:18 left.

UNI maintained double-digit leads until O'Brien's three-pointer with 2:52 left cut the lead to 47-39. Her third three-pointer of the game sliced the lead to 49-42 with 1:03 left, but the Panthers made their last seven free throws to ice the decision.

The Panthers played their home opener this season after traveling more than 9,000 miles to play 13 games in 10 cities this season. Ironically, their last home game was an 80-76 win over Illinois State March 3, 2001.

UNI, 7-7 overall, 2-1 in the Valley beat the 'Birds for just the 10th time in 39 meetings.

The Redbirds play at 2 p.m. Sunday at Bradley in Robertson Field House.


[ISU news release]

LCC vs. Ozark Christian College

[JAN. 5, 2002]   

Cookson Hills Classic

At Kansas, Okla.

Lincoln Christian                      40 43—83
Ozark Christian College          
32 43—75

Meyer 1-2-29; Champ 11-2-29; Burgus 4-0-11; Chase 4-3-11; Hodges 2-0-5; Hedger 5-0-12; Anderson 2-1-5

Totals 29-6-75

Three-point field goals: Lincoln Christian (11) – Champ 5, Burgus 3, Hedger 2, Hodges.

High school basketball

Area game results

[JAN. 5, 2002]   Boys basketball results

At Pontiac

Olympia                  8 19 30     49
Pontiac                 10 25 37     58

Cheek 3-0-8; Sherman 2-0-4; Dillenburg 3-2-9; Elliott 0-2-2; Olson 3-1-7; Schultz 1-0-2; Wise 4-1-9; Kieser 2-0-4; Thornton 2-0-4

Totals 20-6-49

Three-point field goals: Olympia (3) — Cheek 2, Dillenburg.

Junior Varsity — Olympia 61, Pontiac 53

At Lincoln

Lanphier                  24 32 56     72
Lincoln                      4 20 29     50

Farmer 7-0-15; Komnick 1-0-3; Gallagher 3-0-8; Schonauer 1-2-5; Young 7-1-15; Heibreder 1-2-4

Totals 20-5-50

Three-point field goals: Lincoln (5) — Gallagher 2, Farmer, Komnick, Schonauer.

At Mount Pulaski

Hartsburg-Emden                  5 10 22     33
Mount Pulaski                     20 35 45     65

Hartsburg-Emden -- Ke. Leesman5-5-15; Anderson 1-5-7; Gleason 2-1-6; Ko. Leesman 1-0-2; Jones 1-1-3

Totals 10-12-33

Mount Pulaski -- Blaum 1-0-2; Deibert 1-2-4; Erlenbush 1-2-5; Schilling 2-0-5; Wilson 0-2-2; Anderson 10-1-28; Milner 1-0-2; Coors 2-1-6; N. Tierney 1-1-3; Olson 3-0-6; J. Tierney 1-0-2

Totals 23-9-65

Three-point field goals: Hartsburg-Emden (1) — Gleason; Mount Pulaski (10) — Anderson 7, Erlenbush, Schilling, Coors.

At Williamsville

Illini Central                  7 24 34     51
Williamsville                10 24 40     49

Miller 9-0-18; Scott 3-1-7; Williams 1-0-2; Grimsley 2-3-7; Clark 4-1-9; Giesler 3-1-8

Totals 22-6-51

Three-point field goals: Illini Central (1) — Giesler.






Grade school basketball

Carroll Catholic vs. Mount Pulaski

[JAN. 4, 2002]   The Carroll Catholic Crusaders eighth-grade team suffered its first loss of the season last night, to the hands of Mount Pulaski, 48-31.

"Maybe the two-week layoff had something to do with it," coach Todd Lowman said. "As all coaches say, ‘you play as you practice,’ and we have had terrible practices during the Christmas break. This team has had a lot of character in the past, so let’s hope they take this loss in stride and get prepared for the ‘grade school postseason.’"



High school basketball

Area game results

[JAN. 4, 2002]   

Lincoln vs. Taylorville

Taylorville         13  23  37  59

Lincoln              13  24  45  56

Dawson 3-0-6, Ingram 5-0-10, Moore 3-3-9, Carey 10-0-24, Hoffert 1-0-2, Robbins 1-1-3, Schonauer 1-0-2

Mount Pulaski vs. Porta

Mount Pulaski    9  25  42  56

Porta                18  25  31  54

Maske 2-0-4, Sanders 12-0-24, Faith 5-0-12, Rucks 2-0-4, Howe 4-2-11

Olympia vs. Pontiac

Pontiac           9  17  28  37

Olympia       18  31  40  51

Gaither 3-4-10, Brand 1-0-2, Goebel 4-4-12, Floyd 8-2-20, Prager 2-0-5, Hieser 0-2-2


College basketball

Illini vs. Wisconsin men's basketball pre-game notes

[JAN. 4, 2002]   

[Click here to view background information (in Adobe Acrobat)]

[Click here to download Adobe Acrobat reader]

Illinois State Redbirds at Southern Illinois
men's basketball pre-game notes


[Click here to view background information (in Adobe Acrobat)]

[Click here to download Adobe Acrobat reader]


Williams named to watch list for Wooden honors

[JAN. 4, 2002]   PARK RIDGE — The Big Ten Conference saw four men’s basketball student-athletes named among the top 30 midseason candidates for the 2001-02 Wooden Award Player of the Year and All-American Team. Iowa led the way with two selections in seniors Reggie Evans and Luke Recker, and the Hawkeye duo was joined by Illinois’ Frank Williams and Indiana’s Jared Jeffries.

 Iowa was one of only five schools to earn two or more spots on the 30-man list. Duke led the way with three picks, and Florida, Kansas and Maryland matched the Hawkeyes’ two selections.

The Big Ten saw two players named to the Wooden All-American Team last season: departed-senior Charlie Bell of the Spartans and Illinois’ Williams. In fact, the Illini point guard is one of only four members of the 2000-01 Wooden squad to be named to the 2001-02 midseason list, joining Duke’s Jason Williams, Kentucky’s Tayshaun Prince and Stanford’s Casey Jacobsen.

The 10-player Wooden Award All-American Team will be named on Tuesday, March 26. One member of that team will be selected on Sunday, April 7, as the recipient of the Wooden Award Trophy as the nation’s top collegiate men’s basketball player.

[Provided by Kent Brown, assistant athletics director and sports information director at the U of I,
from news release by Scott Chipman, associate director of communications for the Big Ten]

[Click here for the Frank Williams bio on the John R. Wooden Award website.]

College basketball

LCC vs. Nebraska Christian

[JAN. 3, 2002]   

Cookson Hills Classic

At Kansas, Okla.

Lincoln Christian                      54 35—89
Nebraska Christian                 
31 28—59

Clark 3-4-11; Raymer 1-0-3; Johnson 3-0-6; Below 10-2-22; Brodfuehrer 2-0-4; Turney 4-2-12; Grooms 8-0-16; Searby 4-1-11; Lirot 2-0-4

Totals 37-9-89

Three-point field goals: Lincoln Christian (6) – Turney 2, Searby 2, Clark, Raymer.

Redbirds fall short to Creighton

[JAN. 3, 2002]   After battling a hot-shooting Creighton team for 28 minutes, Illinois State went cold and fell victim to a couple of late spurts and Kyle Korver’s 24 points, as the Jays won for just the second time in 18 tries in Normal, 76-62.

Korver led the Jays, 7-4 overall, 2-0 in the Missouri Valley, by hitting his first seven field goals, three from 3-point range, and a pair of free throws. He finished 8-of-9 overall and had support from Terrell Taylor’s 15 points and 14 by Brody Daren, who made 6-of-7 field goals. Joe Dabbert had 10 points and a game-high 10 rebounds as Creighton shot 63 percent from the field, including 4-of-8 from 3-point range, to overcome 20 turnovers.

The Redbirds, 4-8, 0-1 in the Valley, had four players in double figures, led by Baboucarr Bojang with 13. Shedrick Ford had 12, Shawn Jeppson 11 and Gregg Alexander of Lincoln had 10. The lead changed 14 times, and the game was tied nine times through the first 28 minutes. ISU shot 41 percent — just 9-of-25 in the second half and just one field goal in 11 tries during the final 12 minutes of the game. The Redbirds led 48-44 at that point, but Creighton out-pointed ISU 32-14 the rest of the way for its first road win of the season.

Redbird coach Tom Richardson thought his team let things get away in the second half.

"We were up 48-44 and had the crowd into it, and then we hit a drought, couldn’t stop them. Confidence goes quickly and that was the story," said Richardson. "We had opportunities to control the game, but every time we had a chance to take control, either we didn’t do something or they did something. I don’t think they wore us down. We just couldn’t sustain consistent play and lost confidence."


[to top of second column in this article]

Ford agreed.

"We just didn’t execute and play to our potential," said Ford. "As a senior, I take responsibility for that."

Jeppson converted back-to-back Redbird steals into a jump shot and a 3-pointer to erase a 15-10 Jays lead in the first half. Another CU turnover — the Jays had 12 at halftime — led to a Ford short jumper to put ISU ahead 17-15. The game stayed tight until Dirk Williams drained a 3-pointer from the top of the key to put ISU up 31-30 with 49 seconds left, but Joe Dabbert’s tip-in 15 seconds later put the Jays up 32-31 at intermission.

Creighton led by as many as three early in the second half and led 42-40 with 15:20 left, when Williams hit a short jumper and a free throw to put ISU ahead. Randy Rice added a layup after forcing a CU turnover and, after Mike Grimes scored for the Jays, Jeppson’s long 3-pointer gave ISU its biggest lead at 48-44. Korver, who had arthroscopic knee surgery two weeks ago, answered with back-to-back 3-pointers to put Creighton back in front 50-48.

ISU reclaimed the lead 52-50 on a 3-point play by Shedrick Ford with 12:28 left. Creighton scored 10 unanswered points and shut the Redbirds out for 5:20 before a Jeppson free throw broke the drought at 7:08 left. The Redbirds went without a field goal until Alexander hit a 3-pointer with 4:02 left to cut Creighton’s lead to 68-58.

[Erica Fricke, ISU assistant director
of media relations for athletics]


College football

Sugar Bowl turns sour for the Illini

Disastrous first half sends Illini nation packing

By Jeff Mayfield

[JAN. 3, 2002]   Happy New Year, everybody! I hate to admit it, but I did not help to bring in the new year. I was actually back in my room on New Year’s Eve by 9:30. The reason? I knew that it would be a long drive back to Illinois, win or lose.

The cool thing about New Year’s Day is that we had nowhere to go and no place to be for most of the day. We did have to take the SS Minnow out of the dry dock (check that — it rained all day and was brutally cold) and make a run to the airport. There we picked up Taylorville residents John and Craig Coady and longtime Lincoln resident Lynn Laughlin. The first order of business was to give those boys some New Orleans flavor since this was their maiden voyage to the Big Easy. Of course, it was off to the Café Du Monde for some coffee au lait and some tasty beignets.

Then they dropped us off at the dome so we could begin preparations four hours before kickoff to bring you, the knowledgeable LDN readers, as much color as we can possibly deliver. The hosts have been quite hospitable and it has been a pretty good experience thus far. Our Orange and Blue fans have been everywhere and as classy as they always are.

As far as the game preparations go, it all started somewhat innocently. Both teams came in and immediately went to their locker rooms. LSU did it by walking right across the field. When the special teams and the different units came out of the tunnel one by one, one side of the stands would be booing, the other side cheering wildly. Taking a page out of my preacher’s counting ability, I would guesstimate that Illinois brought about 20,000 fans and that LSU scooped up the other 50,000-plus that were available. Early on, our fans were trying to do everything that they could think of to help negate LSU’s home field advantage.

The game itself

After four sluggish possessions, two by each team, Illinois began to lose the field position game. Two poor punts allowed the LSU Tigers to take over possession of the ball at Illinois’ 44-yard line. Six plays later Davis barreled into the end zone, and LSU was on the board 7-0 at the 7:22 mark of the first period. After another anemic Illini possession, the good guys were forced to punt out of their own end zone. Fitts hit a beauty beyond the 50, but Illinois was hit with a 15-yard personal foul penalty that once again had the Tigers knockin’ at our door. And score they did on yet another run by Davis. This time it was a 25-yard scamper on first down around an exposed left end. Terrel Washington did block the extra point, which was his fourth blocked kick of the year. That made it LSU 13 and Illinois 0.


[Photos by Tom Seggelke.]

After still another pathetic possession by the Illini, LSU got the ball back after being penalized on its punt return. But it didn’t matter. After a long pass completion, Davis exploded for his third TD run of the game, this time from yards out, and the rout was on — 20-0 with a little more than 10 minutes still to play in the first half.

Then Illinois fumbled the football on their next possession… Can you believe that? LSU ran it back to the Illinois 5-yard line. From there the Tigers threw a third-down TD pass to All-World receiver Josh Reed, and the train wreck was getting worse at 27-0! What was worse than the score was the way that Illinois looked so flat. They not only looked like they didn’t bring their A game, they looked like they were asleep — a step slow on almost every play.

But then Illinois made a couple of plays. First Rocky Harvey pulled in a long pass from Kurt Kittner. Then Walter Young hauled in another at the LSU 2-yard line. Kittner then hit Brian Hodges, and the Illini were finally on the board, 27-7.

But LSU came right back and marched right down the field and shoved it right down Illinois’ throat. The Tigers scored when Rohan Davey hit Robert Royal on a 7-yard TD pass to make 34-7 at the half. Illinois had absolutely NO way to come back from such a devastating hole! Never in your wildest expectations could you have imagined a more disastrous half.

But in the Louisiana Superdome there is nowhere to go to hide. We were getting exposed to a national TV audience, which if they were smart had already turned to another exciting episode of "Everybody Loves Raymond."



[to top of second column in this article]

But the second half did have to be played. Sometimes you wonder if the boxing rule should be employed in some football and basketball games. You know — when you’re completely out of it, just throw in the towel. Because it’s just too painful to watch! Or maybe you could have the chess concession rule. When you’re tired of playing, I think you can just retire or concede the match. That sounds much more humanitarian than watching this SEC team beat the thunder out of us.


After a nothing possession we punted back to LSU. Amazingly they went three and out and punted it right back. This time we meant business. After a 61-yard strike from Kittner to Young, Kittner went back to the air and hooked up with Brandon Lloyd for a 17-yard TD to cut the deficit to 34-14 — not nearly enough!

Why do I say that? Because Illinois is now within three TDs, and we can’t stop a youth league team from scoring tonight! LSU marched right down the field and Reed caught another pass, this time for 32 yards. That made it 41-14, and it was just getting uglier by the minute.

This is exactly why I wanted to go to some bowl game in the sun. That way if the game turned sour like this one did early, I could be on the beach at halftime. Not only is that not possible here, as they’re having a winter storm warning outside, we still have to drive home.

The Big Ten basketball season starts tomorrow night as the Illini host the Minnesota Golden Gophers. Boy, am I thankful for basketball right about now! Maybe a sweet basketball run by Cook and the boys will remove this sour Sugar Bowl debacle from our mouths.

Oh yah, the game. Illinois did march down and score on another Kittner-to-Lloyd 10-yard connection to make it 41-21, but I don’t think a single Tiger fan was worried one single bit. And that’s how the third quarter ended.


Now we have to take this abuse for only 15 more minutes. I may never go to an important game in any sport ever again. It’s too depressing!

Although Illinois tried to show some heart as Walter Young made a great 17-yard touchdown grab that cut LSU’s lead to 13 points, it’s still a long way away from the miracle on Canal Street.

It all came down to a third-down play from the LSU 38-yard line. Davey hit Reed with a 41-yard pass that gave the Tigers a huge first down and ensured their victory. From there Davis took it the house on a 4-yard power run, and you could hear the bus starting to warm up down below. That TD made the count 47-28, and the only thing left in doubt was, would that be the final score?

At this point, I don’t care! I hate football — bring on basketball!

We did use an inconsequential gadget play, although it was an exciting one. Lloyd took off on a reverse and was looking for Kittner. Instead he fired a 40-yard touchdown to Illinois’ player of the game, Walter Young, and after a missed two-point try that made the final score 47-34.

There is really nothing else to say about this game. We had a great year and now it is over. Maybe a strong basketball campaign will soothe some of the final sting! (Ed. note: The Illini did win their home opener last night over Minnesota, but after being gone the last couple of days, I thought it best to stay home with the family last night.)

As far as the trip home, it was long and almost uneventful. We did hit a couple of slick spots on the road and a couple of slippery bridges, mostly in Mississippi of all places, but the Bacon-Laughlin driving team performed well enough to get us home unscathed. In fact I got home in plenty of time to let my family take me out for an early-bird birthday dinner. I have to admit it — that was the best thing I did all week!

Thanks for the memories, Illini, and again, Happy New Year to all you loyal LDN readers!

[Jeff Mayfield]

[Click here to see additional pictures from the Sugar Bowl.]

[Click here for Jeff's pre-game articles.]

College basketball

Illinois State vs. Creighton
men's basketball pre-game notes

[JAN. 2, 2002]   

Notes from Creighton: 

[Click here to view background information (in Adobe Acrobat)]

[Click here to download Adobe Acrobat reader]

Notes from Illinois State:

[Click here to view background information (in Adobe Acrobat)]

Illinois State vs. Northern Iowa
women's basketball pre-game notes


[Click here to view background information (in Adobe Acrobat)]

[Click here to download Adobe Acrobat reader]

Illini vs. Minnesota men's basketball pre-game notes


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Mayfield’s Mutterings…

Local team of the week, professional team of the week, this, that and the other

[JAN. 7, 2002]  Lead

Team of the week

Our LDN team of the week is the Carroll Catholic eighth grade boys basketball team. Despite losing their first game of the year to the always-tough Mout Pulaski quintet, they still have had a monster year. They are in hopes that this one slip will demonstrate to their players that they need to remain focused in practice and in the upcoming games as they ready themselves for post-season play. Regardless of what happens, we here are excited for them and they were easily our team of the week. Good luck guys the rest of the way!

Professional team of the week

This one is so easy. On the count of three, let’s all say it in unison…1-2-3:  the Chicago Bears, who else? Many NFL insiders didn’t even predict a .500 season for the Bears. No one realistically figured the Bears for a play-off spot. Many are saying the only reason Chicago made to the post-season was because they got to play one of the easiest schedules. I’ve got one word for all of those experts…Bologna!!! And you can call me here at the LDN at (217) 732-7443 and I’m asking our editors to forward your calls…I’ll say bologna to your face! I’m not the biggest Bears fan in the world, but I’m happy for all of you fans who have stuck with them through the years. Other than the Bulls, you Chi-town fans haven’t had much to root about lately. If you’re a faithful follower of our sports news here, you know that we’ve been pluggin’ the Bears all year. We’re not like many sunshine lovers who’ve jumped on the bandwagon the last month or so. We wish you fans a long play-off run and who knows, maybe a trip to the Super Bowl!



[to top of second column in this article]

Railers Improving

Despite getting beat by the #1 team in the state, the Lanphier Lions, the Lincoln Railers continue to improve. The win against Taylorville Saturday night takes Lincoln to 10-4 and 3-2 in the league, not bad for a team that was supposed to be in a rebuilding mode. The Railers displayed outstanding ball movement, good penetrating passes and a nice inside-outside combination this past weekend. Once the defense gets tweaked a little more and the rebounding continues to improve, it appears that the Railers will be a team that no one will want to play during March Madness! Playing with passion and a deep sense of urgency can make you very dangerous during play-off time.

Random thoughts

Does anybody run the screen pass play better than the Green Bay Packers?

Has there been a tougher week being an Illini fan than this past one?

Look out for Lincoln College’s and Lincoln Christian College’s basketball teams; both men AND women! All of them seem to be on a roll.

Speaking of LCC, wait ‘til you see their new athletic complex…it is really nice! We’ll bring you more info on that in the next few weeks.

Is it just me, or have the Bulls played a little bit better under Bill Cartwright?

ISU girls and guys could use your support and we have dozens of alums right here in Logan County. Our own Steph Reichle and Gregg Alexander are contributing all they can; maybe YOUR energy could help get their respective teams over the hump. The girls play this Thursday, Jan. 10 against Drake at 7:05 p.m. The guys host Wichita State Monday night at 7:00 p.m. Illinois State athletics department is sponsoring Lincoln Day at Redbird Arena on Jan. 12 and 26 in honor of these two extraordinary young athletes. [Click here for more information.]

Have a great week and keep displaying that good sportsmanship!

[Jeff Mayfield]

Reflections on the 2001
Illinois football season

By Greg Taylor

[JAN. 3, 2002]   The Sugar Bowl experience was great! Everything went perfect, except for the first half of the game. But the bottom line is this: If I would have stated in August that Illinois would go 10-2 and play in a BCS bowl, most of you would have thought I was crazy. And while I am crazy, I have really enjoyed the ride (thanks, Coady, your van is great) the Illini have taken us on this year. Listed below are several reflections on the state of Illinois football:

Top 10 positives of 2001

1.  Illinois wins their first outright conference title in 18 years.

2.  Illinois ties school record for wins in a season with 10.

3.  Quarterback Kurt Kittner breaks single-season record for touchdown passes with 27, including four in the Sugar Bowl.

4.  Kittner sets the career mark for touchdown passes at Illinois as well.

5.  Coach Ron Turner beat four conference foes for the first time (Minnesota, Purdue, Wisconsin and Penn State.)

6.  Illinois became the highest-scoring team in school history, breaking the record set by the 1999 team.

7.  Illinois had two home sellouts in a season for the first time in several years.

8.  Brandon Lloyd and Walter Young became the wide receiving duo in Illini history and both return for the 2002 season.

9.  Illinois loses just four starters on offense (QB-Kittner; TE-Hodges; C-Butkus; G-Kulaga)

10.  The Illini lose just four starters on defense for next season (DE-Washington; DT-Moore; S-B. Jackson; S-Abdullah).









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Five questions to be answered for 2002

1.  Who will be Illinois’ next quarterback? If it is Dustin Ward, I’m worried! I vote for the best juco available (Drew Brees-type player).

2.  Will Ron Turner say no to Stanford and the pros? If not, who is our coach? Turner says he will stay, but Palo Alto is just miles from where he grew up, and while Champaign-Urbana is nice, it does not compare to the Bay area.

3.  Will Illinois be able to parlay the success of 2001 into repeated success next season? Illinois will play 12 games next year, including home games with both Michigan and Ohio State.

4.  Will Illinois be able to take the next step on the defensive side of the ball? Great improvement this season, but, as seen in the Sugar Bowl, Illinois needs equal improvement for next year.

5.  Who will replace Steve Fitts? The four-year punter also handled kickoffs and was a great weapon when pinning foes inside the 20.

No. 1 key for 2002 is this: Lock up Ron Turner in Champaign and throw away the key! He is the most valuable coach in the Big Ten for the 2001 season and should have been national coach of the year. Illinois went from 0-11 to 10-2 in just five seasons! I really think Turner will look long and hard at the Stanford job, as well as possible pro openings. Most observers believe his brother Norv will be the next head coach of San Diego, and openings are likely in San Francisco and Oakland in the next year or two.

And finally, Illinois football 2002 starts in just 240 days, when Illinois will absolutely spank Missouri in the football border war at the TWA dome. Get ready — I'd love to see the game tomorrow!

[Click here to see additional pictures from the Sugar Bowl.]

[Greg Taylor]


Lincoln Day scheduled at Redbird Arena, twice

[JAN. 7, 2002]  NORMAL Residents of Lincoln will have the opportunity to support a native son, Gregg Alexander, and daughter, Steph Reichle, as the Illinois State Athletics Department will sponsor Lincoln Day at Redbird Arena on Jan. 12 and 26.

On Jan. 12, the Redbird men’s basketball team will host defending league champion Indiana State in Missouri Valley Conference action. Tip-off is slated for 4:05 p.m. The women’s team faces conference champion and NCAA Final Four participant Southwest Missouri State on Jan. 26 at 2:05 p.m.


Tickets are $6 for the men’s game, $3 for the women’s and are available in Lincoln at these local businesses: CEFCU, Kroger, Woods and Bates, Jim Xamis Ford, Woody Jones Insurance and Coy’s Car Corner. They can also be purchased by calling the Redbird Arena ticket office at (309) 438-8000.


[Todd Kober, ISU director of media relations]

Quincy United Soccer Club announces
indoor soccer tournaments

[DEC. 29, 2001]  The Quincy United Soccer Club will be hosting a girls indoor soccer tournament on Jan. 19 and 20.  On Feb. 2 and 3 they will host a boys tournament.

Games will be played 6 vs. 6 (including keeper) on the field. Games will run 44 minutes long. Participants in the tournaments will play a total of four games, with two games on Saturday and two games on Sunday. Two fields are designated for use during the tournament.

Age brackets run from U-10, U-11, U-12, U-13, U-14, U-15 up to high school and college.

There will be no parking or admission fee to the tournament.

A full concession stand will be provided.

Deadline for entry is Jan. 8. The cost for entry is $150.

Hotel cost at Holiday Inn and Hampton will run $55 to $60. Hotels are located across the street from the facility.

For more information on the tournament contact Matt Longo at or Terry Bower at Inquiries may also be made by telephone: Matt Longo  (217) 224-8253, Terry Bower at (217) 224-8405.



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