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Special Edition of Tournament Tidbits: Championship game previews
3:30 pm: Large School Girls
Peoria Richwoods vs. Champaign Centennial
- This match-up is one of two that pits the No. 1 seed vs. the No. 2 seed.
- Peoria Richwoods is making its first title game appearance after a rare three-year drought. Richwoods and Bloomington Central Catholic (in the girls small school final) are both seeking their fifth State Farm Holiday Classic title. At 40-7 (.851 winning percentage), the Knights have the best record of teams playing at least 10 tournament games.
- Champaign Centennial has improved its finish every year – finishing third in 2010 before being the runner-up last year. Will the Chargers continue that improvement this year and take home the gold?
5:10 pm: Large School Boys
North Chicago vs. Rock Island
- A first-time Holiday Classic champion will be crowned during this contest, although both teams are familiar with state hardware.
- Fourth-seeded North Chicago has two state trophies in the past two years, finishing fourth in 2011 and second last year, but the Warhawks previous best finish in three trips to the Holiday Classic is a third-place finish in the 2009-10 season.
- Rock Island won the 3A state title in 2011, but this is the Rocks’ first ever appearance in a Holiday Classic championship game in 11 tries. With 28 career tournament victories, Rock Island was the team with the second-most wins without ever making the championship game (Stanford Olympia has 33 total tournament wins).
6:50 pm: Small School Girls
Champaign St. Thomas More vs. Bloomington Central Catholic
- The top-seeded Sabers are in their first Holiday Classic championship game in their sixth tournament appearance. They’ve knocked off two unbeatens and now get the task to play Bloomington Central Catholic which has 18 of its last 19 State Farm Holiday Classic games (the lone loss during that stretch was an overtime loss to El Paso-Gridley in last year’s final).
- This is Central Catholic’s ninth championship game appearance, most all-time by any boys or girls team. Like Richwoods, Central Catholic is trying to win its fifth title, which would be the most in girls tournament play. The Saints have won their first three games by a margin of victory of 30.3 points.
8:30 pm: Small School Boys
Quincy Notre Dame vs. Rockford Lutheran
- This is the second championship match-up that pits the top two seeds. Defending tournament champ Quincy Notre Dame is trying to be the first team since 2006-2007 (Bloomington Central Catholic) to win back-to-back boys tournament titles. This is QND’s sixth appearance in a title game, which ties the Raiders with Normal Community and South Holland Thornwood for the most in boys tournament history.
- Rockford Lutheran is trying to be the first boys team since 2009 (Champaign Centennial) to win a State Farm Holiday Classic title in their first tournament appearance.
Rock Island’s Chasson Randle and North Chicago’s Aaron Simpson both wowed Holiday Classic crowds during their careers…but neither was able to help lead their school to a championship game appearance. In this year’s tournament, just two years and one year respectively after the pair graduated, their two schools will battle for the boys large school title. While only one will emerge the victor, the other will also improve on their best finish; both Rock Island and North Chicago have finished third, but neither has finished first or second.
Peoria Richwoods owns the highest winning percentage of any boys or girls team to ever play in the Holiday Classic. After Friday night’s win over Rock Island, the Richwoods girls are 40-7 all-time (a winning percentage of .851) and are now 6-1 in semifinals. Richwoods has won four titles – and will be seeking a fifth championship Saturday – against just one career championship game loss.
Old hat, part 2
Central Catholic’s girls knocked off Rochester on Friday night to reach their sixth straight title game appearance and ninth in 11 years. The nine appearances is three more than any other girls school (Galesburg and now Richwoods). The Saints lost last year’s title game in overtime to El Paso-Gridley.
Pressure? Maybe not
It’s possible Champaign St. Thomas More will be nervous with its first title game appearance – a tilt with Central Catholic. But on consecutive nights, the top-seeded Sabers have knocked off previously unbeaten Peoria Christian and Annawan.
Six in a row for the Raiders
Quincy Notre Dame narrowly knocked off Minonk Fieldcrest and will face Rockford Lutheran in the boys small school title game. The semifinal win gave the Raiders a 6-0 mark all-time in semifinal games. They’ve won three titles and have finished second twice heading into Friday’s sixth ever championship game appearance.
Annawan Junior Celina VanHyfte scored 24 points in the Bravettes semifinal loss to Champaign St. Thomas More. That gives VanHyfte 83 points (27.7 ppg) through three games. She will need 40 in the third-place game to tie Brittany Johnson’s all-time mark of 123 points in a four-game tournament. With 30 points, she’d move behind Johnson with the second-highest single tournament scoring average.
Adding to the trophy case
Rock Island Alleman’s girls team has appeared in every girls tournament (1997-present) and has amassed nearly every trophy you could receive – two firsts, two seconds, four thirds, and now a consolation championship with its win Friday night over Kankakee Bishop McNamara. All that’s missing in the Alleman trophy case is a fourth-place trophy.
In El Paso-Gridley’s 62-51 win over Brimfield in small school girls play, each team made eight 3-pointers. The 16 combined triples ties a tournament record set in 200 (Downs Tri-Valley 13, Maroa-Forsyth 3).
Unlucky after 13
The Peoria Christian Chargers girls held its first 13 opponents under 50 points in building a 13-0 start to the season. That included wins over three Mid-State 6 teams (Peoria Manual, Peoria Central and Peoria Notre Dame). In game 14 Thursday night, top-seeded Champaign St. Thomas More scored 62 against the Chargers in a 62-39 win. Friday morning, the Chargers surrendered more than 50 again – in losing to Pana 51-46.
Pana’s Allie Schoonover out-scored Annawan’s Celina VanHyfte 33-31, but it’s VanHyfte’s Bravettes who are moving on to their second Holiday Classic semifinal in four years. Annawan outlasted Pana 55-48…in a game in which Schoonover and VanHyfte combined for 62 percent of the games points. The 64 points scored between the two sharpshooters is the highest combined by opposing players in the same game in girls tournament play, eclipsing the 63 points combined scored by Olney East Richland’s Brittany Johnson and Kankakee Bishop MacNamara’s Jennifer Juergens in 2005. Van Hyfte has 59 points combined in the two games, which raises her career total to 210 points in 10 career Holiday Classic games.
A night after scoring 72 in a 50-point win, the Central Catholic Saints girls squad amassed 81 points in an 81-59 victory over Brimfield. The win gives the Saints their sixth straight semifinal appearance. Since 2007, Central Catholic has only lost twice at the Classic – last year to El Paso-Gridley in the 2011 title game and in 2007 to Rochester in that year’s championship game. Ironically, the Saints were on pace to meet El Paso-Gridley in this year’s semis until – yes, Rochester – knocked off the previous unbeaten Titans. The Central Catholic/Rochester semi will be the Rockets first semifinal appearance since they won it all in 2007.
Central Catholic also has 42 career wins (42-17) at the Holiday Classic, which ties Rock Island Alleman (42-19) for most in girls tournament play heading into Friday’s action.
Cue the Rocky theme
Rock Island’s boys and girls both made it to the semifinals after the boys knocked off defending tournament champion Normal Community and the girls kept their perfect season alive with a thrilling two-point win over Morton. Both teams are trying to make their first State Farm Holiday Classic title game. The Rocky boys made the semis last in 2010 before losing to Peoria Notre Dame. Rocky’s girls had never made a semifinal in nine previous Holiday Classic appearances.
Hardware going to new places
At least finalist in both the boys small school and large school bracket will be appearing in its first State Farm Holiday Classic title game. Rock Island faces Chicago North Lawndale in one semifinal – and, while Rocky has two previous semifinal appearances (both losses in the semis), the Phoenix had never started 2-0 at the Holiday Classic. In small school play, tournament newcomer Rockford Lutheran is in the semis in its debut appearance, and Lutheran will match up against Providence St. Mel, which is making its first semifinal appearance in its fourth Holiday Classic.
Over the past few years, you can pencil in Springfield and Champaign Centennial in the large school girls semifinals. That’s no different this year as Springfield will make its fourth straight trip in four tries, while Centennial is making its third semifinal appearance in its third year in the tournament. Ironically, the two have never faced each other in the semifinals, but they will Friday night.
Going six for six?
From 2001-2004, Quincy Notre Dame appeared in the Holiday Classic championship game, winning titles in 2002 and 2004. Last year, the Raiders won the title. This year, the top seed is making a strong defense of its title, by making another semifinal – this time against Minonk Fieldcrest, which is making its third trip to the semis in four years. Heading into Friday night’s match-up, QND has never lost a Holiday Classic semifinal game (5-0 in semis overall).
What a debut!
Local favorite Fairbury Prairie Central had hosted its own boys holiday tournament, the Hawk Classic, for 27 years. Last year was the final year for the Hawk Classic, and in its State Farm Holiday Classic debut, the Hawks knocked off the lone remaining boys unbeaten, St. Joseph-Ogden, 60-53. St. Joe had come into play 9-0 on the season. Prairie Central moves its record to 7-3.
Five other teams – all girls teams – kept their perfect regular seasons alive. El Paso-Gridley, Annawan and Peoria Christian all won in the small-school field, while Springfield and Rock Island’s girls both remained unbeaten in the girls side.
Besides Prairie Central’s boys, seven other teams were making their Holiday Classic debut this year. Chicago Morgan Park was victorious in girls play, as was Rockford Lutheran’s boys. Five of the newcomers – Chicago St. Ignatius girls, Champaign St. Thomas-More boys, Huntley Boys, Plainfield South Boys and Calumet City Thornton Fractional North boys – all lost in their Holiday Classic debut.
No Beane…no problem
Defending large school boys champ Normal Community lost superstar Anthony Beane to graduation. In the first-round game, the Ironmen faced another challenge, a date with one-loss Calumet City Thornton Fractional North. Normal Community came out strong in the first quarter en route to a 52-29 upset.
Big presence for Bravettes
Annawan junior Celina VanHyfte is a two-time all-tournament team member. In Annawan’s first-round victory over Sterling Newman, VanHyfte recorded 28 points, her highest single-game total in nine Holiday Classic games. She now has scored 179 career points in the Holiday Classic, an average of 19.9 ppg.
Saints march on to 60
Bloomington Central Catholic’s boys notched their 60th victory all-time (60-47) in the Holiday Classic. For a few hours, that tied Normal U-High’s boys, which notched career win No. 61 (now 61-54) in the 9 p.m. Boys Large School game.
By pulling off a mild upset over Huntley, Chicago North Lawndale set up a match-up in the second-round against 11-2 Champaign Centennial. You might recall the two matched up in a classic state semi-final game during the IHSA 2009 state 3A championships. It was known as the “illegal uniform” game, and was a game that Centennial won 66-65 on a last-second shot – en route to a state title. The pair did meet two years ago – in December 2010 at the State Farm Holiday Classic – and North Lawndale prevailed by 17.
In small school girls play, third-seed Bloomington Central Catholic will take its 11-1 mark into a second-round game with Brimfield (16-2). The Saints and Indians battled twice in the past five years in the Holiday Classic title game – with Central Catholic taking home the crown in 2008 and in 2009.
Three players in this year’s Holiday Classic – Rock Island’s Shavonne Brewer, El Paso-Gridley’s Bodee Schlipf and Fieldcrest’s Brady Sanders – all notched their 1,000th career points during games in the month of December.
Christmas is over. Now it’s time for the gift that keeps on giving … and giving and giving.
The 64-team State Farm Holiday Classic basketball tournament tips off at 10 a.m. today and runs through Saturday night. Included are 128 games at four venues: Illinois Wesleyan’s Shirk Center, Normal Community High School, Normal West and U.S. Cellular Coliseum.
Here are 64 things you may or may not know heading into the tournament’s 34th edition:
Courtesy of The Pantagraph, Bloomington
By Randy Kindred | email@example.com
Posted: Wednesday, December 26, 2012 6:15 am
Records achieved in 2011 tournament – Boys individual
- Aaron Simpson, North Chicago, most points in the tournament with 135, broke Joey Range’s (Galesburg) record from 1997.
- Aaron Simpson, North Chicago, highest tournament scoring average of 33.75 ppg, broke Jim Shikenjanski’s (Rockton Hononegah) record from 1985
- Aaron Simpson, North Chicago, fifth and tenth highest single-game scoring performances with 41 and 38 points
- Anthony Beane, Normal Community, fourth highest tournament scoring average of 30.25 ppg
- Anthony Beane, Normal Community, 14th highest single-game scoring performance with 37 points
Records achieved in 2011 tournament – Girls individual
- Olivia Elger, Peoria Notre Dame, 12-for-12 on free throws during one game
Records achieved in 2011 tournament – Girls team
- Fewest points scored in a half – 0 Olympia vs. Rochester (shut out in second half of 50-3 defeat). Tied record set in 2010 by Olympia.
- Fewest points scored in a game – 3 Olympia vs. Rochester (lost 50-3)
- Fewest field goals made in a game – 1 Olympia vs. Rochester
- Most free throws made in a game, two teams combined – 51 Peoria Notre Dame (24-of-34) and Georgetown, KY Scott County (27-of-43)
- Most free throws attempted in a game – 43 by Georgetown, KY Scott County; made 27
- Most free throws attempted in a game, two teams combined – 77 Peoria Notre Dame (24-of-34) and Georgetown, KY Scott County (27-of-43)
- Fewest points allowed in the tournament – 113 Rochester (allowed 40, 3, 23 and 47) – average of 28.25 ppg allowed
- Also fewest points allowed in a half (0) and game (3) – Rochester vs. Olympia
- Most points allowed in the tournament – 249 Peoria Notre Dame (allowed 79, 51, 78 and 41)
- Longest winning streak – 15 (second longest) – Bloomington Central Catholic; snapped in championship game loss to El Paso-Gridley
Records achieved in 2011 tournament – Boys team
- Fewest points scored in the tournament (large school) – 135 Culver, Ind., Military Academy – average of 33.75 ppg scored
- Fewest Field Goals scored in the tournament – 47 Culver, Ind., Military Academy; made 34 fg and 13-3pt field goals
- Largest margin of victory – 56 North Chicago (defeated Culver, Ind., 87-31)
Special Edition of Tournament Tidbits: Championship game previews
3:30 p.m.: Girls 3A-4A: Maine South vs. Champaign Centennial
- Both teams have hardware history at the Classic – Maine South has one 2nd place and two 4th place trophies in four previous appearances, Centennial finished 3rd last year in its debut – which one will claim its first title?
- Interesting tidbit: This is the only title game in which one of the top two seeds advanced to the championship – and both did!
5:10 p.m.: Boys 3A-4A: Normal Community vs. Springfield
- This is the sixth championship game appearance for the Ironmen, which matches Thornwood for most all-time in boys tournament play. (Note: Normal won titles in 1975, 1985 and 2008).
- Normal Community’s Anthony Beane has scored 52 percent of the Ironmen’s points during the first three games of the tournament.
- Interesting tidbit: Springfield is the first No. 15 seed ever to advance to a Holiday Classic title game.
6:50 p.m.: Girls 1A-2A: El Paso-Gridley vs. Bloomington Central Catholic
- Central Catholic is the three-time defending champions and enters this game with a 15-game consecutive winning streak in State Farm Holiday Classic games. A sixteenth consecutive win would tie the Saints with Galesburg (1997-2000) and allow the Saints to become the first team ever to win four straight tournament titles.
- This is Central Catholic’s eighth championship game appearance, most all-time by any boys or girls team.
- El Paso-Gridley enters this championship game as the only team remaining that’s undefeated on the season.
- Interesting tidbit: These teams played for a 2011 sectional title – a game which the Saints won 70-40.
8:30 p.m.: Boys 1A-2A: Cissna Park CPCI vs. Quincy Notre Dame
- CPCI was the smallest school in the field in terms of enrollment (114). This is CPCI’s second appearance in the championship game. In 2005, the Timberwolves lost to Hartsburg-Emden.
- After four straight title game appearances (2001-2004), this is Quincy Notre Dame’s first appearance in the championship game since the Raiders won their second title in 2004.
- Interesting tidbit: Through three games, CPCI has only allowed 103 points (34.3 ppg). The all-time record for fewest points allowed in a four-game tournament is 151 (Normal U-High in 2007).
For years, the Holiday Classic record books have had two names at the top – Joey Range and Jim Shikenjanski. Now, Aaron Simpson of North Chicago owns the mark for most points in a tournament (135, surpassing Range’s 134 in 1997) and most points per game during the tournament (33.75 surpassing Shikenjanski’s 32.75 from 1985). Simpson made 32 field goals, 16 three-pointers and was 23-28 in free throws in leading North Chicago to a fifth place finish.
Bloomington Central Catholic’s girls team has tasted victory of every State Farm Holiday Classic game it’s played since a 10-point loss to Rochester in the championship game in December 2007. With a semifinal win over Champaign St. Thomas More, the Saints have won 15 straight tournament games. Galesburg owns the all-time girls mark, with 16 straight wins. If the Saints win the championship Friday night, they’ll tie Galesburg – but also eclipse the Streaks mark of consecutive titles. Galesburg won three in a row from 1997-1999. The Saints are gunning for their fourth straight tournament title.
Springfield’s girls have always played the final day at the Shirk Center. But in two previous trips to the Holiday Classic, the Senators played in the championship game – and won in 2009 and 2010. Their 10-0 all-time mark was snapped in the semifinals (by Park Ridge Maine South), and now the Senators are in the third place game against Morton.
With Springfield’s boys team reaching the championship game of the large school boys final, the Senators continue a historic run. With only one win on the season entering the Holiday Classic this week, Springfield has amassed three wins in a row and have become the first No. 15 seed in tournament history to ever reach the title game. Springfield faces off against Normal Community.
- Congratulations to Park Ridge Maine South senior Michelle Maher, who eclipsed the 1,000 career point mark during the Hawks semifinal win over Springfield.
- Earlier in the tournament, El Paso Gridley’s Brian Ehresman surpassed the 1,000 point mark.
- With Normal U-High’s win over Belvidere North, Laura Sellers now has 100 career coaching victories.
Future birds are soarin’ and scorin’
Next year, Normal Community’s Anthony Beane and North Chicago’s Aaron Simpson will be on the same sideline as members of the Illinois State University Redbirds. Tonight, the two square off against each other for a trip to the State Farm Holiday Classic semifinals. Beane and Simpson each put on an individual show last night in leading their teams to victory at the Shirk Center. First, Beane scored 37 points, which was the 12th highest single-game point total in the tournament’s 33-year history. Then, in the very next game on the same court, Simpson scored 41, which is No. 5 all-time. Simpson’s North Chicago Warhawks matched a tournament best for single-game margin of victory with a 56-point drubbing of Carver, Ind., Military Academy.
Pioneers seek revenge
This March, Rock Island Alleman and Chillicothe IVC’s boys teams met with a sectional championship on the line. IVC prevailed in that game. Tonight, the Pioneers and Grey Ghosts match up with a trip to the tournament semifinals on the line. IVC is seeking a second consecutive trip to the semis, while Alleman’s only semifinal appearance was in 2004. The Pioneers have already snapped one streak. Their first-round win over Tri-Valley gave the Pioneers their first Holiday Classic win since 2007. They had lost 10 straight tournament games before this year.
Something’s gotta give
Annawan and El Paso-Gridley face off in the 6 p.m. Girls 1A-2A tournament quarterfinal. Both enter play at 12-0, and are two of the five teams undefeated following first-round play (Pana girls, Champaign Centennial girls, Morton girls). Two teams – Minonk Fieldcrest boys and St. Joseph-Ogden girls – both suffered their first losses of the season in first-round tournament play.
Tie at the top
With Normal U-High boys win over Oswego, coupled with a Central Catholic first-round loss, both teams have 58 all-time tournament wins entering play today. U-High is 58-53 and Central Catholic is 58-45.
Will the seeds hold?
In the Girls 3A-4A bracket, the lower seed won all eight games in the first round.
Will the streaks continue?
Springfield’s girls have never tasted defeat at the State Farm Holiday Classic. The Senators are 9-0 all-time entering a quarterfinal tilt with perennial power Peoria Richwoods. A Springfield victory would tie the Knights’ 2003-05 run of 10 straight tournament wins, which is third-best all-time. Bloomington Central Catholic has won 13 straight tournament games, which is just three off the all-time mark set by Galesburg (1997-2000). The three-time defending girls 1A-2A tournament champs have not lost since the 2007 title game versus Rochester.