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Wednesday, Feb. 19
[FEB. 19, 2003]
Boys 8A state tournament
Hartsburg-Emden 9 18
3 3 14 19
Game 14 - 7:15 p.m. - Roanoke-Benson (24-1) vs. Hartsburg-Emden
[FEB. 19, 2003]
Sangamon Conference tournament
(Fresh - soph)
At Mount Pulaski
Williamsville 50, Mount Pulaski 32. (championship)
Class A sectional championships
At Mason City
Olympia vs. Lewistown
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Preachers end regular season's home games with win
[FEB. 19, 2003]
Preachers picked up a win, 78-68, in their last regular-season home
game Tuesday night against St. Louis Christian College. Lincoln, now
10-18, came out relaxed and led 39-29 at halftime.
Since it was the last home game, the
team recognized their senior captain, Jake Raymer, who started and
played in his final game.
LCC was led in scoring by Tim Schultz
with 16, Caleb Edson 15 and Andrew Walton 10. Kyle Rogier grabbed 10
rebounds, and John Holderby dished out a game-high nine assists.
The Soldiers, 8-20, were led by Rod
Ohmes, who scored 19.
The Preachers play Friday against
regional opponent Northland Baptist of Dunbar, Wis.
LCC is 2-1
in regional action this season and will host the NCCAA Midwest
Regional Tournament next weekend, Feb. 27- March 1.
rematch has plenty on the line
[FEB. 19, 2003]
-- The list of issues is
long: the standings, the postseason tournament, the home-court
advantage and the momentum of coming off impressive upset wins last
weekend. More answers about those issues will come in Thursday's
7:05 p.m. Evansville at Illinois State women's basketball game in
Illinois State, 7-15 overall,
4-8 in the Missouri Valley Conference, is coming off back-to-back
road wins at Southwest Missouri State and Wichita State -- just the
fifth team in 15 years to sweep that trip. Evansville, 10-11, 3-8 in
the Valley, capped an eight-game losing streak Sunday with a 60-50
win over Drake.
Evansville is 0-7 on the road
this season. Illinois State, which is guaranteed to finish with more
road wins than home wins for the first time in 19 seasons, is just
2-8 at home.
Even though there are three
weeks left in the conference season, the Redbirds-Aces game has a
chance to become pivotal. A Redbird win not only gives Illinois
State two more victories than Evansville, but also gives the Birds a
sweep of the season series and the tiebreaker advantage even if the
Aces catch Illinois State in the standings.
Evansville coach Tricia Cullop
knows the Illinois State game can have huge meaning.
"I don't want to put all our
eggs in one basket and say it's a must game," said Cullop, "but
winning this game can really help our situation."
Redbird coach Jenny Yopp
understands the context of the contest but wants her players focused
on doing the job.
"We want to cut down as much as
possible on distractions," said Yopp. "We want our players focused
on playing the game, not the emotional roller coaster. Pressure is
neutral. Stress is negative. We don't want our players creating
unnecessary stress for themselves."
[to top of second column in this
Both coaches recall the
Redbirds' 75-73 overtime win at Evansville for the quality of play
both teams showed.
"I think we're better
defensively now than we were then, but that was an enjoyable game
for a great crowd to watch," said Yopp.
Cullop agreed, even though her
team fell short when Sharon Blade of Illinois State rebounded Jenna
Hayes' missed jumper in the waning seconds of overtime. "Both teams
played with aggressiveness and desire," Cullop said.
"We'll do a much better job of
matching up with Illinois State this time because of Kendra Snyder
being back (from a sprained ankle)."
The Redbirds, led by Missouri
Valley Conference Player of the Week Jaci McCormack, matched up well
defensively with both SMS and Wichita State last weekend. The Bears'
56 points matched their fewest in a home conference game since 1997.
Wichita's 52 points were 21 below the Shockers' season average.
team displayed a lot of confidence and went into battle with the
most focus and determination we've had all year," said Yopp. "From
the beginning in both games, we played with defensive intensity."
[Thomas Lamonica, Illinois State University]
Illini destroy Michigan
here is the scenario: You are playing the game without one of your
starters, your rotation is reduced to eight players, and your senior
All-American plays only 15 minutes and scores just four points. Oh,
did I mention you are playing the Michigan State Spartans, coached
by maybe the premier coach in the Midwest, three-time Final Four
coach Tom Izzo? Sound like a sure recipe for defeat? Illinois loses
again to the hated Spartans? Not exactly. How about a nationally
televised 30-point victory that moves your team within a half game
of first place in the conference?
Simply put, Illinois destroyed Michigan
State in every aspect of the game Tuesday night on ESPN, and the
sellout crowd in Champaign loved every minute of it. As the crowd
chanted ("M - S - U - N - I - T") in the final minutes of the game,
I wondered what Proviso East superstar Shannon Brown thought as he
watched the school he chose to attend (MSU) lose 70-40 to the team
he spurned (Illinois). Especially troubling for him could have been
the fact that former high school teammate Dee Brown led the Illini
with 24 points, while Shannon was helpless to do anything about
helping his future team.
The Illini had several key
Dee Brown -- The freshman had
his best conference game of the year, scoring 24 points and getting
five steals, five assists and five rebounds. After the game, coach
Tom Izzo referred to him as "Cleaves-like," and Brown took a huge
step toward Big Ten freshman of the year in my book, even though
many have already given Indiana's Bracey Wright the award (even
though Wright missed 25 percent of the conference season).
Deron Williams -- The freshman
Texan played smothering defense on Michigan State's best player,
Chris Hill, and made four steals on the night. He ran the show on
offense and finished with 12 points and three assists.
Nick Smith -- The string-bean
sophomore from Florida played 14 first-half minutes and scored nine
points, including a buzzer-beater basket at the half that reminded
many of the Christian Laettner dagger from 1992.
Roger Powell -- The sophomore
from Joliet got his first start in a month and a half and responded
with a strong 30 minutes of action, including 10 points, seven
rebounds and two highlight-reel dunks. Powell played at both the
three and the four and gave Illinois big minutes when they needed it
Bill Self -- The Illini coach
proved why he is the best by mixing things up on defense and
refusing to allow MSU back in the game in the second half. Most
nights would be panic city if Cook scores only four points and plays
only 15 minutes, but Self has worked hard at keeping Illinois
productive in stretches where Cook doesn't play.
[to top of second column in this
The crowd at the Hall -- The
Assembly Hall was rocking once again -- something that didn't seem
possible five minutes before the early 6 p.m. tip. Izzo said after
the game that Illinois has the second best crowd in the conference
(behind MSU) -- quite a compliment coming from one of the most
successful coaches in the country the past five seasons.
[Photo by Tom Seggelke]
Illinois' team defense -- The
70-40 Illinois victory was the second worst defeat in Izzo's
coaching career (next to a 83-47 loss at Iowa in Izzo's first season
of '95-'96) and Michigan State looked flat-out lost for many parts
of the game. Illinois enjoyed runs of 18-0 and 17-4 in the first
half and 21-0 in the second -- incredible runs for any team and
almost beyond comprehension against a Tom Izzo-coached team.
So what is next for Illinois? Several
tidbits to consider as Illinois enters the stretch run:
1. Illinois plays Saturday against
Northwestern in Chicago at the United Center at 1 p.m. The game will
be televised by CBS. This game is considered a home game for
Illinois (Assembly Hall was already taken by the state high school
wrestling tourney) even though it is 140 miles from Champaign and 15
miles from Evanston. This game will serve as a great advantage for
Illinois as they prepare for the Big Ten conference tourney in three
weeks: The tournament will be played at the United Center March
2. Illinois is back at the Hall for two
more games this season. The first is against Indiana on Feb. 25 for
an 8 p.m. ESPN contest. The final home game will be played March 8
or 9 against Minnesota and will be the Illini's final game of the
regular season as well.
3. Illinois has road games at Michigan
on March 1 (11:15 a.m. tip) and at Wisconsin on March 5 (8 p.m.
tip). The Illini need to win at least one of these road games if
they want a third straight conference championship.
4. Freshman Kyle Wilson has left the
campus and is home in Plano, Texas. His future with the team has not
been determined at this time.
Illini hope to have Luther Head back for the Northwestern and
Cook, Illini cruise past
Cook's four points enough in Illinois'
By Jeff Mayfield and LDN staff
coach Bill Self is in his third year with the Illini. And during his
tenure here I can think of only one or two times that I have
disagreed with him about anything… and it was probably over the
color of the carpet or something significant like that. But I would
have to say that we were of one mind going into last night's game
with what has become the hated Michigan State Spartans!
First of all, coach Tom Izzo has taken
them to a ridiculous three Final Fours in just the last few years.
They consistently win league titles, and last year their upset of us
in the Hall (which, by the way, is the only game Self has ever lost
in the building) kept us from winning the Big Ten outright. Couple
all of that with them being on a winning streak and knowing that
this game is a must if they have any thoughts of claiming yet
another conference title. And did I mention that the Illini came
into the game like the walking wounded? Virtually every player on
the team is battered and bruised, fighting flulike symptoms, and
wondering what the heck is going on. Not exactly the formula for
winning college basketball games.
[Photo by Tom Seggelke]
So, going back to Self, he was worried.
And so were we. And when MSU started the game 8-2 and did it rather
easily, I thought, here we go again.
Enter Dee Brown, Deron Williams, Nick
Smith and Roger Powell (BTW, those just happened to be the stars of
the game in the post-game interview room as well). Somebody either
kicked them or woke them up, because this was their game and this
was their night.
Illinois finally tied it at eight, and
Self said that that five minutes of action felt like an entire half
to him; but apparently not to his players.
That got the Hall rockin'. It's hard to
compare crowd noise from game to game, but I felt it was as loud as
From there it was a Powell dunk here, a
few Brown run-outs there, a Williams steal and 3 here, and a Smith
layup there. Then for good measure Smith banks in a 3 and hits a
nifty buzzer-beater just before the half to extend the Illini lead
[to top of second column in this
Unlike the Ohio State game, where
Illinois was largely lethargic in the second half, the Illini came
out with purpose and resolve in the second half of this one. Self
must've threatened them at halftime. They came out and ran their
stuff and refused to let MSU back in the game. As they mixed up
their defenses, going from a man to a box-and-one and a
triangle-and-two, the Spartans were content to throw the ball around
the perimeter and then just throw up some forced shots. I'm not sure
I've ever seen MSU look so disoriented, in what was obviously one of
their worst losses ever. And when Sean Harrington nailed a dagger 3
at the 9:17 mark, it was game, set and match, Mr. Agassi!
Dee Brown led all scorers with 24
points but also had five assists, five steals and five rebounds as
the Illini won the battle of the boards 35-32. (When was the last
time Illinois out-rebounded MSU???) Deron Williams had a solid
12-point effort, and Roger Powell had a great 10-point night at just
the right time. And don't forget the nine-point Nick Smith
contribution that came up huge. At one point I looked up at the
scoreboard and saw a 69-28 reading and thought I'd better get to the
Nobbe eye clinic as soon as I can get there!
called this effort the most hardworking and in some ways best effort
any team he's coached here had put forth. But he and I sure didn't
see it coming!
Mayfield and LDN staff]
Cook named top 20
finalist for Naismith Award
[FEB. 19, 2003]
Ga. -- Jackie Bradford, president of the Atlanta Tipoff Club,
announced today the 20 collegiate men and women finalists for the
Naismith College Basketball Player of the Year Award.
The Naismith Board of Selectors, which
includes some the country's leading basketball coaches, journalists
and administrators, began the selection process earlier this year
and have reduced the number of finalists by balloting to the 20 top
male and female players they felt most deserving of the award.
The winners of the Naismith Awards, the
most prestigious individual honor in college basketball, will be
honored in Atlanta, Ga., on April 11.
The finalists for the Naismith College
Player of the Year Award (listed alphabetically) are as follows:
Mario Austin, Mississippi State
Keith Bogans, Kentucky
Matt Bonner, Florida
Nick Collison, Kansas
Brian Cook, Illinois
Chris Duhon, Duke
T.J. Ford, Texas
Reese Gaines, Louisville
Jason Gardner, Arizona
Jarvis Hayes, Georgia
Kirk Hinrich, Kansas
Josh Howard, Wake Forest
Brandin Knight, Pittsburgh
Kyle Korver, Creighton
Hollis Price, Oklahoma
Mike Sweetney, Georgetown
Chris Thomas, Notre Dame
Dwayne Wade, Marquette
Luke Walton, Arizona
David West, Xavier
[Photo by Tom Seggelke]
[Brian Cook, No. 34]
Chantelle Anderson, Vanderbilt
Alana Beard, Duke
Kara Braxton, Georgia
Coretta Brown, UNC
Shameka Christon, Arkansas
Gwen Jackson, Tennessee
Kara Lawson, Tennessee
Kelly Mazzante, Penn State
Nicole Ohlde, Kansas State
Jocelyn Penn, South Carolina
[to top of second column in this article]
Plenette Pierson, Texas Tech
Nicole Powell, Stanford
Aiysha Smith, LSU
Stacy Stephens, Texas
Diana Taurasi, University of
LaToya Thomas, Mississippi State
Iciss Tillis, Duke
Kendra Wecker, Kansas State
Lindsay Whalen, Minnesota
Shereka Wright, Purdue
The Coca-Cola Company will be the
presenting sponsor of the Naismith College Basketball Awards for
2003. The entitlement complements the company's new 11-year NCAA
partnership as a corporate champion.
"We are proud to be associated with the
most coveted award in college basketball and such an outstanding
organization," said Chuck Fruit, senior vice president, worldwide
media and alliances, The Coca-Cola Company. "Coca-Cola has always
been a strong supporter of collegiate athletics. Having the
opportunity to participate in recognizing outstanding basketball
achievement is a natural extension of the values we share with the
Atlanta Tipoff Club."
The Coca-Cola Company is the world's
largest beverage company and is the leading producer and marketer of
soft drinks. Along with Coca-Cola, recognized as the world's
best-known brand, the company markets four of the world's top five
soft drink brands, including diet Coke, Fanta and Sprite. Through
the world's largest distribution system, consumers in nearly 200
countries enjoy the company's products at a rate of more than 1
billion servings each day.
Awards program, now in its 35th year, honors the outstanding college
basketball players in the United States. The awards program was
founded by the Atlanta Tipoff Club, an organization dedicated to
recognizing the achievements of excellence in basketball for student
athletes. For more information on the Naismith Awards and past
winners, please visit
[Atlanta Tipoff Club news release]
Articles from the past week
Junior high basketball
First Redbird since Reichle wins Valley honor
Men's basketball pre-game notes:
Illinois State vs. Evansville
Illinois vs. Michigan
launches Redbird Arena project
By Jeff Mayfield
[FEB. 17, 2003]
When I moved to
Lincoln back in the '70s, the Lincoln Railer basketball team was
enjoying quite a lot of success under then-coach Loren Wallace. When
he left I thought to myself, "Self, I probably won't live long
enough to see that record ever broken." Especially when you consider
two things. One, you actually have to STAY at the same school for a
number of years. And then the real kicker, you actually have to be
CONSISTENTLY good. That's all current Railer coach Neil Alexander
has been. Consistently darn good! With Friday night's 61-51 victory
over Sacred Heart-Griffin, Alexander tied legendary former coach
Wallace with his 271st career win.
If you're scoring at home, that is an
average of about 20.8 victories per season! Some coaches work their
whole careers hoping for one or two of those seasons, while coach
"Al" AVERAGES that many victories!
I could write volumes in regard to my
admiration for what he has done, but if you're a loyal reader of
this column, then you already know where my allegiance lies. So,
I'll condense it to this: This record is a totally, incredibly
amazing feat! We tip the LDN hat to coach "Al," and I can only utter
this word that doesn't do this record justice: CONGRATULATIONS,
IF you're among the legion of Illini
fans who want to dive head-first off the bandwagon, let me throw
this little morsel your way. Especially IF you REALLY thought that
the Illini were going to win at Mackey Arena anyway. Last year the
Big Ten quad-champions went a combined 29-3 at home! And one of the
losers was our dearly beloved Illini, who fell to Michigan State in
one of the UGLIEST games that this semiprofessional writer has ever
witnessed. I'd love to live long enough to NEVER have to experience
something like that again, but surely I will.
I just wanted you to know that the
home-court games are a must, as evidenced by the current top five
teams, who are a combined 27-1 as we post; and the team that has the
more favorable schedule and can somehow steal three or four road
wins will win the conference. From the start we didn't think that would be Illinois, and we said so.
However, there is STILL a lot to play
for. A bigger concern is that we're just not playing all that well
consistently. I hope we didn't peak against North Carolina! We still
want a good spot for the league tourney, and we want the best seed
we can get for the Big Dance.
Tomorrow night versus Michigan State
should be fun… Don't we owe them a little sumpin'-sumpin'???
[to top of second column in this
give it up for…
...the Hartsburg-Emden eighth-grade
boys basketball hoopsters! They are 22-1 and will take on an 18-3
Mulberry Grove team tonight at 6:30 in Wenona. Good luck, fellas!
Pulaski, Warrensburg-Latham and Hartsburg all won their games!
College may never lose again!
Thirteen in a row is the boisterous
chant coming from the campus of Lincoln College! The Lynx (18-6,
11-0) dumped an always tough Danville squad 58-53 and surely should
improve on their No. 10 national ranking! Their Saturday game at Flo
Valley was postponed like hundreds of others in the Midwest -- no
doubt a big break for Flo Valley!
Didn't think so!
Waltrip wins Daytona 500
Those of you who know NASCAR better
call in on "FANdamonium" tonight at 6 to explain to us what
happened. You can catch us on the LDN, on CITV channel 5, or on FIX
96.3! We also hope to feature members of the Lincoln High School
swimming team on the show tonight!
memorabilia collectors take note…
We will be giving away a Dick Butkus
bobblehead ceramic figure at the end of the month. Just e-mail me at
Jmayfiel@lccs.edu or call "FANdamonium"
Railers in the postseason…
The No. 9 seeded Lincoln Lady Railers
will host the No. 5 Washington club tonight in Lincoln. No. 4
Metamora will also battle No. 13 Decatur-Eisenhower. Good luck, Lady
REALLY good week, everybody!
clinic in Bloomington
[JAN. 31, 2003]
Bloomington Hearts' annual softball pitching clinic will be
Saturday, Feb. 22, at the Shirk Center at Illinois Wesleyan
University. Former Illinois State all-American and current Hearts
pitcher Nicole Kurth will lead the clinic. Other instructors will
include pitchers from the Hearts, IWU and Illinois State University
who are very experienced in both playing the game and teaching.
There will be two sessions, so
attendees can sign up for 9:30 a.m. until noon or for 1:30 to 4 p.m.
The cost is $30 per session, and that includes a heavy-duty T-shirt.
For groups of three or more, the cost is $25 per student. The
sessions will be limited in number to allow maximum individual
by telephone or for information, call (309) 828-2686 or (309)
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