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Monday, March 10

Kings take hockey championships

Miller scores a winning point

[MARCH 10, 2003]  The Springfield Kings, Mite Division, took two championships this weekend. Playing on this team is Dylan Miller from Lincoln.

The Kings won the Missouri Amateur Hockey League championship Saturday morning in Fenton, Mo., when they defeated the Meramac Sharks 2-1. The game was hectic. The first period was scoreless. Miller scored the winning game point.

On Sunday they faced off twice with makeup games against Peoria in Springfield. They tied their first game 3-3 and won the second game 3-2.

With the Kings holding first place in the East Coast Division and Peoria holding the Southern Division title, the win gave the Kings the Central Illinois Hockey League championship.

The Kings' record is 32 wins, two losses, five tied games.

They leave for a tournament in Cleveland early on Friday morning and return late on Sunday night. There they will compete with kids from New York and other East Coast teams.


[photos courtesy of Joanne Marlin]

Lincoln College defeats Spoon River and
Parkland College to win regional title

[MARCH 10, 2003]  LEBANON -- Lincoln College won the Region 24 basketball championship by downing Spoon River 75-67 in the title game here Sunday afternoon. Lincoln College advanced to the title game with a 61-59 victory over Parkland College on Saturday afternoon.

Lincoln College, 26-7, had three players in double figures against Spoon River (Canton). Derik Hollyfield led the way with 18 points, while James Roberson and Terrance Chapman both added 15.

The Lynx won the game at the foul line, hitting on 28-of-36 attempts, while Spoon River was making 18-of-26. The Lynx also shot well from the 3-point line, with five-of-11. Spoon River also had five 3-point goals but needed 21 shots to register the goals.

Against Parkland on Saturday, Chapman netted 15 points and Hollyfield added 12 to pace the Lynx to a narrow 2-point victory. Parkland had a chance to win the game; however, they missed a 3-point attempt just before the buzzer. In addition to scoring 15 points, Chapman also pulled down 11 rebounds to lead the Lynx to a 46-44 edge.


Lincoln College (75) -- Josh Clark 2-4-0-0-6, Michael Fowler 1-5-5-10-7, Rueben Trotter 0-1-0-0-0, Amir Major 2-3-0-0-4, Jamaal Thompson 3-5-3-4-9, James Roberson 2-7-9-10-15, Terrance Chapman 5-13-5-5-15, Derik Hollyfield 6-10-5-5-18, Rian Lazzerini 0-1-1-2-1, Brian Thorsen 0-1-0-0-0. Totals 21-50-28-36-75. Three-point goals: Clark 2, Roberson 2, Hollyfield.

Spoon River (67) -- George Jones 6-17-2-4-15, Lance Geisler 0-3-0-0-0, Malcom Mahogny 4-9-4-6-13, Jeremy Purvis 3-8-0-0-9, DeAndre Alexander 8-14-5-6-21, Tim Melz 1-6-7-10-9. Totals 22-57-18-26-67. Three-point goals: Jones, Mahogny, Purvis 3.


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Lincoln College (61) -- Clark 0-1-0-0-0, Fowler 2-5-4-4-9, Trotter 2-3-2-3-6, Major 2-4-0-1-4, Thompson 3-8-0-2-7, Roberson 2-7-2-4-8, Chapman 5-19-5-10-15, Hollyfield 4-11-4-4-12, Lazzerini 0-0-0-0-0. Totals 20-58-17-28-61. Three-point goals: Thompson, Roberson 2, Fowler.

Parkland (59) -- Darryl Baxter 2-15-1-2-5, Aaron Thais 0-1-0-0-0, Vince Brock 0-3-0-0-0, Chase Smith 0-2-0-0-0, Adam Cox 0-1-0-0-0, Lawrence Conner 7-14-5-6-20, Larry Ellis 3-9-0-0-6, Quentin Fairman 5-10-1-1-11, Josh Argue 0-2-0-0-0, Jamal Stewart 7-11-3-7-17. Totals 24-68-10-16-59. Three-point goal: Conner.

[Bill Martinie, Lincoln College
sports information director]

Lincoln College advances

[MARCH 10, 2003]  The Lincoln Lynx improved their record to 26-7 with a thrilling 75-67 victory over Spoon River in the championship game of the District 24 regional basketball tourney. At post time it was not known who LC's next opponent would be, but sources close to the LDN thought that their next game would be played at Blackburn College. Stay tuned to the LDN in the days ahead for further updates.

[Jeff Mayfield]

Lincoln College baseball vs. Okaloose-Walton

[MARCH 10, 2003]  WALTON, Fla. -- Okaloose-Walton handed the Lincoln College baseball team a pair of 7-0 defeats here Sunday afternoon. The Lynx, 0-3, will return to action Monday afternoon on the southern trip. The doubleheader victory raises the Okaloose-Walton record to 17-2 for the season.

Coach Tony Thomas stated: "We actually didn't play badly. They are a very good team, and we were able to stay with them until we gave up a big inning in each game.   Obviously we didn't hit the ball very well, but we played well otherwise."

Matt Gilbert took the loss in the opener, and Dan Dunn was the losing hurler in the second game. The Lynx managed three hits in the first game: one each by Matt Miflin, Lou Persino and Jeff Harris.

In the nightcap, Lincoln College had just two hits, one by Harris and the other by Andrew Bartman.


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First game

Lincoln College           000 000 0 -- 0-3-1

Okaloose-Walton       002 500 x -- 7-9-0

Gilbert (L), Don Oelerich (4) and Frank Pesce; Niedhardt (W) and Broxson.

Second game

Lincoln College       000 000 0 -- 0-2-3

Okaloose-Walton    002 050 x -- 7-7-0

Dunn (L), Jake Buchanan (5), Oelerich (6) and Bartman; Rogers (W) and Broxson.

[Bill Martinie, Lincoln College
sports information director]

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Lincoln College softball vs. Mott College

[MARCH 10, 2003]  COCOA BEACH, Fla. -- Beth Conner threw a one-hitter to lead the Lincoln College softball team to a 2-0 victory over Mott College of Flint, Mich., in the opening game of the southern trip.

Conner struck out five and walked four in going the distance for coach Allen Pickering. The Lady Lynx scored both runs in the third inning. Monica Perone and Loren Kokenes each singled and scored on a double off the bat of Norissa Stetter.   

Stetter had a pair of doubles to lead Lincoln College at the plate.

The Lynx return to action Monday afternoon.

Score by innings

Lincoln College          002 000 0 -- 2-5-0

Mott College              000 000 0 -- 0-1-0

Conner (W) and JoJo Halko; Abby Walker (L), Funsch (5) and Shick.

[Bill Martinie, Lincoln College
sports information director]

'Getting in' not enough for Redbird players

[MARCH 10, 2003]  NORMAL -- Junior guard Beth Huston came to Saturday's late-afternoon practice wearing a shirt sporting a slogan, "In It To Win It," which quickly became a rallying cry for an Illinois State team that feels a rebirth with a bid to the eight-team 2003 State Farm-Missouri Valley Conference Tournament in Des Moines.

"Beth's shirt pretty much summarized how we all feel," said junior forward Stacey White. "It's great to have a fresh start. Anything can happen. We know what we have to do, and we are excited about it. Just getting into the tournament just isn't enough."

With Southwest Missouri State's 107-53 win over Evansville, Illinois State gets the No. 8 seed. The Redbirds, 7-20 overall, 5-13 in the Valley, will play No. 1 seed Creighton, 20-7, 13-5, at 6 p.m. Thursday at the Knapp Center.

The Birds last appeared in the tournament in 1998. Ironically, they will return to the site of their last tournament win, a 64-59 decision over Southern Illinois in the semifinals of the 1996 tournament, also at the Knapp Center. The Birds lost to Southwest Missouri State 59-56 in the title game and went to the women's NIT that season.

Redbird coach Jenny Yopp agreed with White's assessment.

"With the intensity we showed at practice (Saturday), we demonstrated that we deserved the opportunity to join the race," said Yopp. "Practice was an indication that they want to get after it. It shows me we're determined to win."

Yopp thinks the Birds caught a break by playing Creighton, a team they saw just a week ago in Omaha.

"Creighton and Indiana State are both fantastic teams, but they play a similar style, and I think that helps us to be prepared for Creighton," said Yopp, whose Redbirds lost 77-72 to Creighton in January at Redbird Arena and 72-50 last week in Omaha.

It's been a long road for the Redbirds -- especially the last three days -- and it's ironic that Illinois State got the most help from the Lady Bears, a team they beat twice during the regular season. After ending the regular season with a loss at Indiana State, Illinois State needed four things to happen to get into the tournament: a Wichita State win over Evansville, a Drake loss and two home wins by SMS. The first three things all came through on Thursday. The SMS victory on Saturday sealed the deal, giving SMS the No. 4 seed against tourney host Drake.


[to top of second column in this article]

Sophomore forward Michelle Harakas didn't care that the Redbirds didn't get in officially until three days after their final regular-season game, a 74-54 loss at regular-season co-champion Indiana State.

"Nobody cares how we got in and it doesn't matter who we play," said Harakas. "What matters is that we go there ready to play, and practice today was a different level of intensity. We wanted another chance to prove that we're capable of beating those teams, and we earned it."

No. 2 seed Indiana State opens the tournament against No. 7 Wichita State, a battle WSU coach Darryl Smith had been lobbying for because the Shockers beat the Sycamores twice during the league season. No. 3 Northern Iowa, which goes into the tournament after beating both Drake and Creighton over the weekend, plays No. 6 Bradley.

The Creighton-ISU winner meets the Drake-SMS winner at 8:30 p.m. Friday. The title game is Saturday at 3 p.m.

Evansville and Illinois State both finished 5-13 in league games and split the regular-season series. However, the Redbirds earned the bid on the strength of the Missouri Valley's regression matrix tiebreaker system. It rewards teams for wins over higher-placing teams and gives a bonus point for road wins. Illinois State's sweep of SMS and its road wins at Wichita State and Southern Illinois all were enough to overcome Evansville.

[Thomas Lamonica, Illinois State University]

Illini drill Minnesota

By Greg Taylor

[MARCH 10, 2003]  Illinois capped off an undefeated home season with a convincing 84-60 victory over Minnesota Sunday in the regular-season finale for both ballclubs. Illinois started four seniors along with freshman James Augustine for Senior Day at the Assembly Hall against Minnesota. Along with Lincoln's Brian Cook, seniors Sean Harrington, Blandon Ferguson and Jerrance Howard joined the starting lineup. Going up against five strong Minnesota starters, the seniors held their own, trailing just 6-5 at the first media timeout, before starters Deron Williams, Dee Brown and Roger Powell entered the game. The first half didn't seem to have much flow, yet Illinois still led the game 40-31 at the break.

Cook started slowly, not scoring his first basket until the nine-minute mark of the first half, yet still finished the half with eight points and, more importantly, no personal fouls. However, the second half belonged to Lincoln's native son, as he scored 14 points to secure the conference scoring title and finished the game with a team-high eight rebounds. Sunday was Senior Day, and Cook showed what can happen when a talented players says no to the NBA and yes to four years in school. Cook is absolutely the best player in the conference -- Self answered "Oh, yes, no doubt about it" when asked -- and should receive serious consideration for first team all-America. Self stated the obvious: "You would be hard-pressed to show me five better players in the country, but there are eight or nine coaches who feel exactly the same way about their guy."

I feel compelled at this point to remind all Logan County residents how really unique and awesome it is to have one of our own achieve so much on the national level and represent each of one of us with such class. However this season ends, whether with championships or first-round losses or anything in between, I for one will long remember the joy and excitement Brian Cook has brought this Illini fan and look forward to many exciting years of NBA action from the soft-spoken giant.

Back to the Illini -- let me share a few observations:


--Illinois is peaking at just the right time, and especially in Champaign, where they have won their last four home games by an average of 25 points!

--Cook finished the conference slate with three straight great games, dropping 26 at Ann Arbor, 25 in Madison and 22 Sunday against Minnesota.

--Roger Powell continued his strong play, scoring 15 points in just 23 minutes of action.

--Illinois should be in good shape for at least a top four NCAA seed, barring a total collapse in Chicago this weekend. Many in the press room feel a No. 3 seed is possible, maybe probable, if Illinois can win the conference tourney title.

--Illinois is so very fortunate to have coach Bill Self and his staff at Illinois. With the scandals at St. Boniventure, Villanova and Georgia, it is nice to know the program is in good hands.

--Word on the street is former coach Lon Kruger is high on the UCLA wish list but may instead end up staying in Georgia, possibly replacing embattled coach Jim Harrick at the University of Georgia. The athletic director at Georgia is good friends with Illini athletic director Ron Guenther and might not even have to move out of the Atlanta suburbs. This writer would sure like to see a Kruger return to college hoops.


[to top of second column in this article]

Finally, check out these accomplishments by individual Illini:

--Lincoln's Brian Cook scored 22 points to capture the Big Ten scoring title, edging out Purdue's Willie Deane by a mere four points.

--Cook also became the first Illini to average 20 points in a season since Kendall Gill in 1990.

--Freshmen Deron Williams and Dee Brown finished one and two in the Big Ten conference assist category with 77 and 76 respectively. (Williams was so excited about beating his good friend and roommate Brown, he was reportedly seen dancing through the locker room.)

--Brown led the conference in steals with 30.

--Brown led the conference in assist-to-turnover ratio.

--Sophomore Roger Powell led the conference in field-goal percentage with a 64.1 percent clip.

Illinois-Minnesota notes

--Illinois last lost to Minnesota during the 1999 Big Ten season.

--Illinois has faced Minnesota twice in the Big Ten tourney ('99 and '02) -- both victories. Illinois will play either Minnesota or Northwestern Friday night at 5:40 p.m. in the Big Ten tourney quarterfinals. The game can be seen on WCIA-TV, Channel 3.

--Minnesota and Northwestern are two of the three Big Ten teams coach Self has yet to lose a game to while coaching at Illinois. Self also has yet to lose to Michigan, a likely semifinal opponent should Illinois win on Saturday.

--In the first half, all nine Minnesota players who saw action scored at least a point. For Illinois, 10 players were on the court in the first half, and nine of the 10 scored at least a point, including senior Jerrance Howard, who nailed a 3 early in the game.

--It was Illinois' 10th straight victory over Minnesota -- Gopher coach Dan Monson is 0-9 against Illinois while coach at Minnesota.

--Minnesota last beat Illinois during the 1998-1999 Big Ten season.

[Greg Taylor]

Articles from the past week


  • High school basketball

  • Men's basketball pre-game notes: Illinois vs. Minnesota

  • Illinois State announces 2003 football schedule


  • Lincoln College softball outlook


  • High school basketball

  • Lincoln PONY sign-ups begin March 9

  • Redbird baseball offers summer clinics

  • Youth baseball announcement

  • Men's basketball pre-game notes: Illinois State vs. Drake in MVC tourney


  • High school basketball

  • Lynx open baseball season in Missouri

  • Arnold selected to Valley all-freshman team; Greene claims all-conference honorable mention honors

  • March madness symptoms: play, watch, wait, root ... play again


  • High school basketball

  • Lincoln College women close out season

  • Lincoln College baseball outlook

  • SIU pulls away from Illinois State

  • Illinois game to be televised Sunday

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


  • Mayfield's Mutterings: It was all Lincoln

  • Lincoln swimmers, a big name in age-group championships

  • High school basketball

  • Preachers end season in regional final

  • Men's basketball pre-game notes: Illinois State vs. Southern Illinois


  • High school basketball results

  • LCC basketball results

  • Large challenge ahead for Redbirds

  • Big Ten single-session tickets on sale Monday

  • Zion Lutheran Lady Eagles heading for state

Cook, seniors say goodbye to the Hall

Cook leaves legacy of consistency in wake of 84-60 triumph over Minnesota

By LDN staff

[MARCH. 10, 2003]  It was a bittersweet day for the LDN sports department on Sunday. Sweet because we have enjoyed the coattails of Brian Cook's success. Bitter because we know that we'll never see him play another game in our favorite venue, the Assembly Hall. Cook and his fellow seniors said goodbye to the fans and to the Hall in a convincing 84-60 thumping of the Minnesota Golden Gophers, who still appear to us as a dangerous team -- in fact, a team the Illini may have to beat again Friday night IF they want to advance to the semifinals of the Big Ten tournament.

But this story is about Brian Cook. Talk about a kid who did it right. First of all, he took care of business in high school. He even told us before his senior year in Lincoln that he was a little bored and was probably ready for Big Ten ball. I wish when we were bored we could lead our school to the IHSA Elite Eight just for something to do! For his efforts he was crowned Mr. Basketball in Illinois, which is no small accomplishment for ANY downstate player.

He followed that up with a nice showing in the McDonald's all-American game. There everyone was talking about the Duke players and virtually everyone else but Cook. They were in for a big surprise. It's worth noting here that several of us were not one bit surprised. If you ever watched some of the things that Cook could do in practice, you knew from the start that this kid would some day be a very rich man toting his wares for, hopefully, a close by NBA team.

As Cook was making his final preparations to attend Illinois, he was still legally able to make official visits to at least six other schools that knew HE was the franchise. We enjoyed talking to him about those options, but we were also very glad when he decided NOT to make those visits! And the rest, as they say, is history.

How 'bout leaving this legacy for any Illini to follow? He was selected Big Ten Freshman of the Year. He made coaches and media all-Big Ten squads his sophomore and junior years. And we think he might squeak in on some of those all-star teams again this year. Unless he is robbed, which could happen, as NOTHING that happens in the Big 10 surprises us, he should walk away with player of the year honors. He will probably make and deserves to be on several all-American teams. He might even win a few senior awards and at least has a shot at some national player of the year awards.


Here's a stat for you… What college has the best home-court winning percentage over the last four years? How 'bout Brian Cook's Illini with a 50-2 mark during his career! With his 22 points yesterday, he becomes the first Illini player since Kendall Gill in 1990 to average 20 or more points in league games and the first to lead the league in scoring since Gill did it that same season. Whenever he scores his next point, he will amazingly be tied for fifth place on Illinois' all-time scoring list! That is a feat that we find just incredible. He will leave Champaign-Urbana seventh on the career rebounding chart. He will also have claimed fourth place on the blocked-shots list.

He had no idea how important those last two buckets were on Sunday to these individual records. I'm guessing that someone on the bench knew, but he and Self had already gotten what they came to get… the "W."

This is a more important factor when considering Cook's legacy. He should've broken every record! On a great, smart team, teammates would've realized that sacrificing some personal glory to get the ball in the hands of the guy who can take us to the dance would probably have been a good idea. But Cook didn't pout. He didn't demand the ball and take the glory away from guys like Williams, Johnson, Griffin or McClain. He didn't sulk that the offense that should've gone through him oftentimes froze him completely out. And furthermore, those teammates probably didn't even realize how much better the Illini could've been! For instance, how far do you think they could've gone had they played with the energy that THIS year's team played with? At least one trip, maybe two, to the final weekend?


[to top of second column in this article]

[photos by Tom Seggelke]

But if you just look at numbers, figures and stats as a basis for your opinion on Brian Cook, you will have missed the most compelling aspects of his presence and his nature. And that is the person of Brian Cook. As hard as it will be to replace his numbers, it will be even harder to replace his persona, his charisma and his personhood. Brian has been a tremendous representative of Lincoln to not only the UIUC campus and the Big Ten but to the nation as well.

Several of our friends who got to see the Illini when we didn't said that Cook ALWAYS stayed around to sign autographs and take pictures with kids. It's easy to do that when you win; he did it many times when we lost! He is the kind of kid that you would want hangin' around your kids -- not because of his celebrity status but because he is so fun to be around and hang out with.

His mother, Joyce, has done an excellent job raising this young man through extraordinary circumstances. We're here to tell you that they're due EVERYTHING that may soon come their way. Through it all this kid has remained polite, good-natured and a tribute to his community upbringing.

We will miss seeing Lincoln or Illinois stamped across his chest, but it will ALWAYS be stamped on his heart. Why? Because he's one of us; albeit, a little taller and maybe a little more talented at least in this arena.

His coaches should also be commended for the way they molded him for his future. His Lincoln junior high coaches and several even before got him off to a good start.

Then there are Neil and Denise Alexander. When he wasn't at home, he was probably with Gregg at the Alexanders' house. Probably why yesterday was a bittersweet time for them as well. Do you have ANY idea how much those kids eat? Or how many summer games, practices and trips these people took him to? It is a staggering number. We think it is safe to say that coach Al may have filled that father role for Brain on several occasions. We know a lot of kids who haven't fared nearly as well. And from what we can tell it was a mutually beneficial relationship. We do know that Brian wouldn't be nearly as far along as he is without the Alexanders' influence on his life on or off the court!

Then there was coach Kruger and his staff, especially assistant coach Rob Judson. They went to great lengths to recruit Brian, but we always felt that they treated the Lincoln coaches and Brian with great respect and dignity. Lon's quiet confidence was helpful in Brian's early development. Lon protected Brian and knew that he would need time to learn the Big Ten game. He didn't throw him to the wolves until it was really necessary.


Though it was a shock and a huge disappointment when Kruger left, NO ONE could have foreseen what Bill Self would add to the equation. He didn't baby or pamper Brian; he toughened him up. And before this campaign got under way, Self placed the huge burden of leadership squarely on Cook's shoulders. And Brian Cook delivered! As a matter of fact he delivered in a way that shocked many of the doubters and skeptics. If you know Brian well, YOU probably weren't surprised.

We were going to make this a REALLY long column. We were going to show conclusive proof and evidence, because it does exist, on why Brian Cook is one of THE most CONSISTENT Illini players ever! But we're just going to let Brian's walk be his talk. We are going to say this: Thanks Brian for representing us all so well -- more off the court than on it. Good luck in both remaining tournaments. And always remember that no matter where you go or what you do, we are proud of you!

Your friends in Lincoln


Lincoln PONY sign-ups begin March 9

[MARCH 6, 2003]  The Lincoln PONY Association will have its annual spring sign-up this year beginning March 9 and running until March 29. Sign-up sheets can be obtained at the front desk of the Lincoln Rec Center. On Saturday, March 29, representatives of Lincoln PONY will be on hand to assist with signups.

Lincoln PONY ball is for both boys baseball and girls softball, ages 8 through 14.

Additional information can be obtained at the Lincoln PONY website and at

Redbird baseball offers summer clinics

[MARCH 6, 2003]  NORMAL -- In June, Illinois State head baseball coach Jim Brownlee and his staff will offer three summer clinics designed to help area youths improve their baseball fundamentals.

The first clinic will focus on offense and defense and will be offered twice, June 9-12 and June 23-26. All sessions will run from 9 a.m. to noon, and the clinic is open to all youths ages 11-17. Cost of the clinic is $100.

The second clinic will emphasize the fundamentals of pitching and catching and will take place June 9-12. The pitching and catching clinic will be open to youths ages 9-17 and will run from 1 to 3 p.m. Cost for this clinic is $100.

The third baseball clinic offered at Illinois State in June will be a developmental clinic. It is designed to instruct younger children the fundamentals of baseball. This clinic will be offered on June 16-19 from 9 a.m. to noon and is available for children ages 6-10. Cost for the developmental clinic is $100.


[to top of second column in this article]

Participants in any of the three clinics will receive a Redbird Baseball Clinic T-shirt and an in-depth take-home evaluation upon completion.

For further information regarding any of these three clinics, please contact Seth Kenny, assistant baseball coach at Illinois State, at (309) 438-3338 or

Registration forms are available online from the baseball page of the Illinois State athletics website. [To download the Adobe Acrobat reader for the registration file, click here.]

[Rob Huizenga, athletics media relations,
Illinois State University]

Youth baseball announcement

[MARCH 6, 2003]  The American Amateur Youth Baseball Alliance is seeking both players and coaches for their 2003 All-Star Nationals program. The AAYBA is seeking the "best of the best" among coaches and players. If interested, please visit our website at and click on the "All-Star Nationals" link. If, after reviewing information about the program, you are interested in playing or coaching, complete the online tryout form.

Questions may be directed to


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