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Saturday, Feb. 22

High school basketball

[FEB. 22, 2003] 

     At Stanford

Prairie Central     17   42   61     73

Olympia              12   20   37     58

Olympia - Dillenburg 2-0-5, Elliott 2-4-9, Olson 2-0-6, Kieser 5-2-13, Schmidgall 2-2-6, Springer 0-0-0, Thornton 2-1-7, Williams 0-0-0, Boudeman 1-0-2.  Totals - 21-9-58.  Three point field goals (7):  Olson 2, Thornton 2, Dillenburg, Elliott, Kieser.

Other results

Mount Pulaski 57, Illini Bluffs 55.

Hartsburg-Emden 49, Springfield Calvary 38.

Illini Central 68, Rochester 64. (OT)


Games today:

Pontiac at Olympia.

Lincoln at Peoria Woodruff.

High school wrestling

[FEB. 22, 2003] 

Class A state tournament
     At Champaign

103 lbs - Chris Rud (Sandwich) technical fall over Steve Fluty (Olympia), 19-3.  Fluty Eliminated

112 - Christian Winston (Walther Lutheran) dec. Caleb Dietrich (Olympia), 7-5.

125 - John Bultman (Petersburg Porta) pinned Mario Martinez (Olympia), :48.  Martinez eliminated.

Defensive challenges will continue for Redbirds

[FEB. 22, 2003]  NORMAL -- Just 40 hours after the Evansville offense became only the second team this season to shoot above 50 percent against Illinois State, the Redbirds will face some potentially explosive offensive players in a 2:05 p.m. Saturday meeting with Southern Illinois.

Redbird coach Jenny Yopp sees the primary Saluki weapons as perimeter threats Molly McDowell, Dana Pinkston and Danette Jones.

"The way McDowell, Pinkston and Jones are able to hurt teams from the outside will be a challenge," said Yopp. "Molly is such a good outside shooter and has a very accurate jump shot off the dribble."

Southern Illinois is 6-16 overall and 2-11 in the Missouri Valley, but the Salukis have split their last four games. The Salukis and Redbirds have met more than any two Valley members -- 68 according to the Redbird record book -- and the visiting team has won the last four, including Illinois State's 65-56 decision Jan. 23 in Carbondale. SIU's last league road win was at Illinois State, 64-51, on Feb. 17, 2002, in Redbird Arena.

The SIU victory began a current string of four straight wins on the road. But at Saturday's Senior Day game, the final home game of the season, the Redbirds want to take back control of their own fate in the race for the final two spots in the eight-team Missouri Valley Conference Tournament in March.

Yopp believes defense is what has won on the road for the Birds, and the lack of consistency on defense has been part of the home woes.

"When we're on the road, in a place like SMS (Hammons Center), and there's 5,000 people screaming at us, we crank up the defense," said Yopp. "On the road, in adverse conditions, we have done that ... we have done that for 40 minutes. It's interesting -- the louder the crowd, the harder we play. When we can lock down our opponent (on defense), our offense is better."


[to top of second column in this article]

The Redbirds, 7-16 overall, 5-9 in the Valley after the 70-63 Thursday loss to Evansville, have continued to get strong offense off the bench. Non-starters have scored 51 percent of Illinois State's points this year, with sophomore Jaci McCormack (8.2 ppg) and junior

Zora Skrabalova (7.5 ppg) leading the way. That depth got an added boost Thursday with the return of sophomore Michelle Harakas, who missed three games with a foot injury.


If the Redbirds win and Evansville loses at Indiana State, the Birds will either be eighth, or tied for seventh if Northern Iowa beats Wichita State. Six teams have between six and nine losses in the Valley, so the final tournament lineup may not be determined until the league's last game, Southern Illinois at Wichita State on March 9. A win at Illinois State would keep Southern Illinois' tournament berth hopes alive.

Illinois State finishes the regular season with three games on the road, beginning Thursday at Drake.

[Thomas Lamonica, Illinois State University]

Articles from the past week


  • Junior high basketball

  • High school basketball

  • Men's basketball pre-game notes:

  • Illinois State at Marshall

  • Illinois vs. Northwestern


  • Junior high basketball

  • High school basketball

  • Men's basketball pre-game notes: Illinois State at Marshall

  • Redbird baseball offers season ticket options


  • Junior high basketball

  • High school basketball

  • Preachers end regular season's home games with win

  • Birds-Aces rematch has plenty on the line

  • Illini destroy Michigan State

  • Cook, Illini cruise past Spartans
    Cook's four points enough in Illinois' 70-40 rout

  • Brian Cook named top 20 finalist for Naismith Award


  • Junior high basketball

  • High school basketball

  • First Redbird since Reichle wins Valley honor

  • Men's basketball pre-game notes:

  • Illinois State vs. Evansville

  • Illinois vs. Michigan

  • Concrete pour launches Redbird Arena project



  • High school basketball

Alexander ties record

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, coach!!!

Panic sets in?

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 article]

Let's 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!

Mount Pulaski, Warrensburg-Latham and Hartsburg all won their games!

Lincoln 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!

Tiger Woods

Any questions?

Didn't think so!

Michael 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!

Sports 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 or call "FANdamonium" to register.

Lady 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 Railers!

Have a REALLY good week, everybody!

[Jeff Mayfield]


Softball pitching clinic in Bloomington

[JAN. 31, 2003]  The 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 instruction.

To register by telephone or for information, call (309) 828-2686 or (309) 662-5861.

[News release]

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