Breaking the barrier
Bloomington Central Catholic is the first girls team since Galesburg (1997-1999) to win three straight State Farm Holiday Classic tournament titles, and in doing so became the first girls team to top 300 points for the tournament. The Saints trailed early in the second half, before pulling away from Pana for a 66-52 victory. The win gives the Saints 12 straight tournament wins, and next year, they’ll have an opportunity to challenge the Galesburg record of 16 straight.
The Saints did etch their name in many new tournament records including:
- The Saints scored 310 points, which is an average of 77.5 ppg – more than 10 ppg more than the previous record.
- The Saints margin of victory was 34.5 points per game – a new record.
- Central Catholic made 120 total field goals (107 field goals and 13 three-pointers).
- Allie Norton became the first female player in tournament history to be named to the all-tournament team four times.
Another Saints record
Central Catholic’s boys finished sixth, but senior sharp shooter Hayden Hoerdemann set two new records. After having no free-throw attempts in the Saints tournament opener, Hoerdemann went to the free-throw line 24 times in the final three games, and made all 24. The performance set marks for most consecutive free throws made and for best percentage (minimum 20 attempts).
Other records set Thursday during the State Farm Holiday Classic:
- Rockton Hononegah’s boys notched eight three-pointers, giving the Indians 33 for the tournament, a large-school record.
- Springfield’s girls made six three-pointers en route to the large school girls title. That gave the Senators 27 for the four games, a new record. Zahna Medley, a junior for Springfield, tied the individual mark with 16 three-pointers.
- On a high note, Annawan took home the fourth-place trophy. At the other spectrum, the Bravettes set a new record for most points allowed – 230 in the four games.
Thursday night, Bloomington Central Catholic’s girls team will seek its third straight State Farm Holiday Classic title. The Saints opponent, Pana, is in its first title game. Central Catholic is re-writing the tournament record books. Consider these marks:
- This championship appearance is Central Catholic’s fourth straight and seventh overall, which is a new record.
- The Saints have won 11 straight Holiday Classic games.
- Central Catholic’s three games thus far has produced three of the top 10 team scoring performances – 86, 82 and 76 points.
- The Saints have scored 81.3 ppg; the all-time tournament record is 67 ppg.
- The Saints margin of victory thus far is by a whopping 41.3 points per game – and each of the games has resulting in a running clock.
- The Saints have 244 points; the girls small-school tournament record is 253 and all-time girls mark is 268.
- Central Catholic has 97 total field goals. The small-school tournament record is 98 and the all-time Holiday Classic mark for four games is 110.
Same game…what about the result?
For the second straight year, Springfield and Springfield Sacred Heart-Griffin will battle for the large school girls State Farm Holiday Classic title. The cross-town rivals know each other well. Last year, they played four times, with Springfield winning three of them, including at last year’s Holiday Classic championship game and last year’s regional title game. Sacred Heart-Griffin won in last year’s Springfield city tournament. This year, Springfield already owns one victory over the Blazers. In reaching the title game, the Senators are posting impressive numbers with 69 ppg and 21 three-pointers – both approaching tournament records. Springfield junior Zahna Medley, who had 15 points in last year’s Holiday Classic title game, has 13 three-pointers, which is three away from the all-time individual mark.
Will No. 20 equal No. 1?
Chillicothe IVC coach Jim Thornton is coaching in his 20th State Farm Holiday Classic, and Thursday night, he will seek his first tourney title. His Grey Ghosts were the runner-up in 1992. On Wednesday, IVC ended Minonk Fieldcrest’s 44-game regular season winning streak. IVC’s opponent, Rock Falls, is also seeking its first title. Rock Falls won the Class A tournament in 2000 before losing in the then-Grand Championship to Eddy Curry and South Holland Thornwood.
Battle of unbeatens
Lombard Glenbard East and Peoria Notre Dame are both unbeaten heading into Thursday’s large school boys State Farm Holiday Classic match-up. The Rams are trying to become the second straight tournament newcomer to win the large school title (Champaign Centennial did in 2009). Peoria Notre Dame is in its first State Farm Holiday Classic championship game. But Irish guard David Molinari is making his third appearance in a title game. He played for Peoria Christian when the Chargers won the 2008 small school title and were the tournament runners-up in 2007.
On Wednesday night, Illinois State University recruit Johnny Hill (Lombard Glenbard East) notched his 1,000th career point. Hill also nearly tied a Holiday Classic scoring mark. Last year, Rock Island Alleman’s Keelan Prince made 19 consecutive free throws before missing. Hill had made 18 straight, including his first two Wednesday night, before he missed.
While Bloomington Central Catholic and Springfield are seeking new top tournament scoring marks on Thursday, records have already been set on the other spectrum. Stanford Olympia set several marks, including fewest points in the tournament (38), scoring average (9.5 ppg), field goals made in the tournament (15) and free throws made in the tournament (6). Chicago John Hope also set a new mark with the fewest points in the tournament for a girls large school (105).
Firing on all cylinders
A night after tying the small school girls single-game scoring record, the Bloomington Central Catholic Saints etched their name in the books by themselves. The Saints tallied 86 points in an 86-41 win over Camp Point Central/ASE. The 86 points are two off the all-time girls mark. The Saints have now won 10 straight State Farm Holiday Classic games. With 168 points (84 ppg), the Saints are 100 points away (in two games) from the all-time girls tournament scoring average mark.
New blood I
Rock Island and Peoria Notre Dame’s boys teams have played 94 total games between them in State Farm Holiday Classic history, and both own a winning record (Rocky is 23-14 and PND is now 30-27 after both won their quarterfinal games Tuesday). On Wednesday night, both will appear in just their second semifinal (Rocky in 2005 and PND in 2006), but one of them is assured of making their first title game appearance. With wins over Lake Forest and Culver, Ind., respectively, the Rocks and Irish both remain undefeated on the season, too.
New blood II
In 1992, Gridley High School won the small school Holiday Classic title. El Paso High School was twice the Holiday Classic runner-up – in 1990 and 1999. Since the schools merged in 2004, the Comets had never reached the semifinals – until this year. El Paso-Gridley knocked off Bloomington Central Catholic on Tuesday. The loss snapped the Saints string of five straight appearances in the semifinals.
Not so new blood
When the State Farm Holiday Classic brackets come out, you can usually pencil in Bloomington Central Catholic girls and Rockton Hononegah boys in the semifinals. That’s true again this year. The Saints are in the semifinals for the eighth time in the past 10 years, and Hononegah’s boys squeaked one out against Chicago North Lawndale to reach the semis for the fourth straight year and sixth of the last eight.
How do you spell kryptonite?
For Peoria Richwoods girls, kryptonite is spelled BLAZERS. For the second straight year, Springfield Sacred Heart-Griffin knocked off the Knights in girls tournament play. Last year, the Blazers pulled off the win in the semifinals; this year, it was in the quarterfinals. Richwoods still has the best overall record ever in State Farm Holiday Classic play (32-6 in 38 career games) but is now 0-2 in the past two years versus Sacred Heart-Griffin.
For years, Rochester’s girls teams have been known for their tough defense. Wednesday night, the Rockets held Stanford Olympia scoreless for three quarters en route to a 45-5 victory. Through three games, Rochester has allowed 87 points, which is 29 ppg. The all-time tournament record for four games is Rochester – at 29 ppg – in 2004.
Turn back the clock
Move over Seneca…the Saints are marching. Bloomington Central Catholic’s girls tied two of Seneca’s tournament records en route to an 82-31 drubbing of Downs Tri-Valley. The Saints got off to a 23-0 lead and led 52-9 at the half. The 52 points scored in a half and 82 scored in a game duplicated the small-school record set in 2000 by Seneca, when there was no running clock. The Saints’ victory gives them nine straight wins in the State Farm Holiday Classic, also matching the small-school record of Normal U-High (2001-2003). Central Catholic is still more than a year away from the all-time girls mark (16 straight tournament wins by Galesburg). The Saints’ 51-point win is the third largest margin of victory.
Olympia’s girls team is now 0-10 to start the season, and the young Spartans were down by 43 points before they got on the scoreboard. Pana opened its first round game with a 43-point run, which is the largest run in tournament history. Pana led 45-4 at the half, en route to a 68-9 victory over Olympia. The 9 points is the fewest ever scored in State Farm Holiday Classic tournament play, and the 59-point differential is also a new tournament record.
Rock Island Alleman and Champaign St. Thomas More set a new mark. Their game was the first triple overtime game in girls tournament play. The Pioneers held off the Sabers, who may feel the game was lost at the charity stripe, where St. Thomas More was 8-for-25 (32 percent).
Saints march on past the Pioneers
There’s a new leader in the boys’ all-tournament record books. Entering this year’s tournament, Bloomington Central Catholic’s boys (56-42) and Normal U-High’s boys teams (56-50) jointly held the all-time mark for overall tournament wins. U-High nearly got their 57th in an upset bid versus Culver, Ind. The Saints did notch win No. 57 with an upset win over Hartsburg-Emden.
In March 2009, Champaign Centennial beat North Lawndale by a point in the 2009 Class 3A state semifinals. Today, North Lawndale got its revenge, with a first-round win. It was the first State Farm Holiday Classic loss for Centennial. They were 4-0 in winning last year’s large-school boys bracket.
Raiders start a new streak
In the first nine trips to the State Farm Holiday Classic, Quincy Notre Dame’s boys team advanced into the quarterfinal round. In 2008, the Raiders streak was snapped, and then last year, QND also dropped its first-round game. Today, the Raiders got back into the winner’s bracket with a victory over Taylor Ridge Rockridge.
Lake Forest went 23-of-25 (92 percent) from the free-throw line in its victory over Normal Community.
On an individual note, Glenbard Lombard East’s Johnny Hill and Culver Academy’s Jermaine Myers had the boys top marks with 34-point efforts. Metamora’s Ally Friday led all girls’ scorers with 32 points, in a losing cause.
Three teams made their State Farm Holiday Classic debuts today, and all three posted wins to advance to the second round. Chicago North Lawndale boys, Lombard Glenbard East boys and Champaign Centennial girls all advanced to the quarterfinal round.
Saints boys going for two titles?
When Bloomington Central Catholic and top-seed Minonk Fieldcrest tip off in the final game on Thursday evening, they’ll be going for the 2009 boys 1A/2A tournament crown. A Fieldcrest win would give the Knights their first State Farm Holiday Classic championship. A Saint win would give Central Catholic its third Holiday Classic title – all in the past four years – and would also give the Saints the unofficial title of the winningest team in tournament history. With three wins thus far this year, Central Catholic is 56-41 all-time in Holiday Classic tournament play. Normal U-High is 56-50 after going 1-3 this year.
Saints girls seeking a repeat performance The girls 1A/2A State Farm Holiday Classic championship is a rematch of the 2008 title game – top-seed Bloomington Central Catholic and No. 2 seed Brimfield. Last year, the Saints beat the Indians 60-36. A win on Thursday afternoon would give the Saints its third tournament title, eighth straight tournament win and 46th straight regular season victory. Brimfield hopes to end those streaks behind the play of Division 1 signees Paige Spietz (Missouri) and Kelsey Herridge (Army).
On Dec. 10, Springfield High handed Springfield Sacred Heart-Griffin a 20-point defeat. Thursday afternoon, the two face off again, this time for the girls 3A/4A Holiday Classic title. Springfield’s lone loss on the year is to Peoria Richwoods, whom Sacred Heart-Griffin beat to reach Thursday’s final.
With an 88-point semifinal performance, Rockton Hononegah earned its place in its third consecutive boys 3A/4A championship game. The Indians won its only title two years ago, and lost in last year’s final to Normal Community but has appeared in five of the last seven championship games. This year, the Indians face tournament newcomer – and defending state champion – Champaign Centennial. In an oddity, Hononegah has now appeared in the championship game of every odd year – 2003, 2005, 2007 and now 2009 – since it returned to Bloomington-Normal in 2002.
- Keelan Prince of Rock Island Alleman made his first three free throws Wednesday, giving him 19 consecutive FTs made. Prince then missed on his 20th attempt and finished 20-of-21 overall. The 19 straight FTs breaks a record from 1999 (Ben Lee, Olympia, 17).
- Rock Island Alleman’s girls team set two free throw shooting records. In four games, the Pioneers made 76 free throws in 111 attempts. Both are records. The previous mark for free throws made by one team in the tournament was Galesburg girls (70 in 2000). The previous mark for free throw attempts was Geneseo, which shot 102 in 2004.
Congratulations to Bloomington High senior Teasha Harris, who surpassed the 1,000 career point mark in the Purple Raiders loss to Normal West.
All four No. 1 seeds played quarterfinal games Tuesday at 4:30 p.m. All four prevailed to reach the semi-finals, but three of them – Minonk Fieldcrest (1A/2A boys), Champaign Centennial (3A/4A boys) and Peoria Richwoods (3A/4A girls) – needed overtime. Fieldcrest boys and Richwoods girls both sent their games to overtime with a three-pointer as Fieldcrest’s Taylor Baxter and Richwoods’ Mariah Smith knotted their games with late baskets. The other No. 1 seed, Bloomington Central Catholic girls, cruised into the semifinals with its 44th consecutive regular season win.
The Richwoods/Normal West quarterfinal actually went to double overtime, and it was the first girls game since 2002 to need eight extra minutes. Richwoods’ 82 points ties the second highest point total ever in girls tournament play and the 82-72 game between the Knights and Wildcats established some new tournament records:
- The teams combined for 51 free throws made (Richwoods was 26-of-39 and Normal West was 25-of-33) – the previous record of 39 was set in 2004 by Geneseo and Tinley Park Andrew. The 72 free-throw attempts is just one shy of a tourney record.
- The teams combined for 49 points in the third quarter (Richwoods 30, Normal West 19) – That eclipses the 2006 game when Rock Island (30) and Chicago Hope (18) combined for 48 points in one quarter.
- Richwoods 30-point third quarter tied the record established by Rock Island in 2006
- The 17 points Richwoods tallied in two overtimes is the most ever for an overtime session in girls tournament play.
The 1A/2A boys semifinals features some familiar faces. Only Minonk Fieldcrest was not a semi-finalist last year. For Stanford Olympia, which faces Fieldcrest, this is its second straight trip to the final four. Neither the Spartans nor Knights have appeared in a State Farm Holiday Classic championship game, so tonight’s winner will be a first-time finalist. The other semi-final pits last year’s champ, Peoria Christian, against Bloomington Central Catholic. This is the Chargers third straight semi-final appearance (they are 2-0), and this is the fifth straight year the Saints have appeared in the final four after a 10-year drought between semifinal appearances.
In boys 3A/4A, Rockton Hononegah is one win away from its fifth title game appearance in the past seven years.
In girls 1A/2A play, Bloomington Central Catholic will be appearing in its third straight semi-final appearance. Tonight, the Saints put a 44-game regular season winning streak on the line against Kankakee Bishop McNamara.
In girls 3A/4A, Peoria Richwoods is trying to reach the title game for the sixth time in the past eight years. Richwoods owns the best winning percentage of any Holiday Classic team ever – at 30-4 (.882).
- Gina Hinders became Champaign St. Thomas More’s all-time career rebounder with 679 with her rebound mid-way through the first quarter in a quarterfinal win Tuesday night over Pana.
- Bloomington High senior Amanda Hainlen (1,005 career points) reached the 1,000 point plateau in the Purple Raiders loss to Springfield-Sacred Heart Griffin. Teammate Teasha Harris is just seven points away from reaching 1,000 in her career.
So far, when Rock Island Alleman senior Keelan Prince has been fouled, he has been automatic at the free-throw line. Entering play Wednesday, Prince is 16-of-16 in three State Farm Holiday Classic games. Ben Lee of Stanford Olympia owns the boys tournament record for consecutive free throws. Lee had 17 in a row in 1999. Dating back to prior to the Holiday Classic, Prince has made 25 straight free throws over five games.
Bloomington Central Catholic center Jess Reinhart has also been an eagle eye, converting all 11 of her free throws in the Saints first two games. Reinhart’s half-way to the all-time girls tournament record, which was set in 2002 by Seneca’s Erin Smith (22 straight). As a team, Reinhart’s Saints are shooting 83 percent from the line in the tournament.
Saints go marching on
Bloomington Central Catholic’s girls started the 2009 State Farm Holiday Classic the same way it ended last year’s tournament – with a blowout win. Last year, the Saints won by 43, 26, 21 and 24 en route to a tournament title. This year, top-seeded Central Catholic wasted no time, jumping out to a 25-2 lead on its way to a 30-point win over 2007 Holiday Classic champion, Rochester.
The Saints boys team used a 19-point run to start the second half to open up a 35-point lead en route to a 57-35 win over CPCI. The win also brings the Saints to 54 total wins in State Farm Holiday Classic history, just one behind Normal U-High’s boys for the most in tournament history.
Almost perfect 10s
In the first three games involving 7 vs. 10 seeds, the No. 10 seed prevailed – Peoria Christian’s boys over Kankakee Bishop McNamara; Mahomet-Seymour’s boys over Peoria Notre Dame; and Normal U-High’s girls over Sterling. The final 10 seed, St. Joseph-Ogden, could not pull off the upset and fell to Camp Point Central/Augusta Southeastern.
Perfect 10 and 11 lead the Pioneers
Normal U-High’s upset win was sparked by a quick start to the fourth quarter, and a steady finish down the stretch. U-High trailed Sterling 36-32 after three quarters before a 10-0 run gave the Pioneers a six-point lead. Strong free-throw shooting down the stretch (the Pioneers were 17-for-20 for the game) led by Alyssa Palmer’s perfect 11-for-11 performance at the charity stripe fueled the upset win.
Palmer wasn’t the only eagle eye. Trent Swigert, a Macon Meridian Hawk, was 10-for-10 on free throws in Meridian’s first-round win.
Intercity clash ahead?
Since the season-opening girls Intercity Tournament, which was won by small school entry Bloomington Central Catholic, the four Bloomington-Normal area large-school entries are a sizzling 29-3 (Bloomington is 7-0, Normal Community is 8-2, Normal U-High is 6-1 and Normal West is 8-0). All four won their first-round games Monday and all four are in quarterfinal tilts on Tuesday. Will the hot streaks continue? All four are the higher seeded team – No. 8 Normal West vs. No. 1 Peoria Richwoods; No. 5 Bloomington vs. No. 4 Springfield Sacred Heart-Griffin; No. 10 Normal U-High vs. No. 2 Springfield; No. 11 Normal Community vs. No. 3 Park Ridge Maine South.
Normal U-High’s boys held North Chicago to 37 points below its season average. The Warhawks still prevailed in their State Farm Holiday Classic debut, 53-45.
Good – and not so good – start
North Chicago and the other four boys teams making their State Farm Holiday Classic debuts – Champaign Centennial, Chicago Providence St. Mel, Mahomet-Seymour and Culver (Ind.) Military Academy – went 5-0 in first-round action.
On the girls side, two tournament newcomers faced off with Springfield beating Metamora. The four other new entries to the girls fields – Annawan, Belvidere North, Peoria Christian and Sterling – all lost in their opening games.
In large school girls games, Chicago John Hope and Normal West were both assessed technical fouls to start the game due to a National Federation of High Schools uniform rule infraction.
- In boys tournament play, Rock Island and Sterling combined for 20 three-pointers (10 each). That ties the tournament record set in 2001 by Galesburg (11)/Chicago St. Rita (9) and 2004 by Peoria Christian (12)/Addison Driscoll (8). Illini head coach Bruce Weber and Iowa State head coach Greg McDermott were among the notables in attendance – to see Rocks junior Chasson Randle.
- In girls tournament play, Maine South attempted 40 free throws in its victory over Chicago Hope. That ties the large school tournament record – set by Edwardsville when it took 40 free throws in a game in 2003. The Hawks made 26; back in 2003, Edwardsville made 24 of its 40 attempts.
Bloomington High seniors Amanda Hainlen and Teasha Harris are closing in on 1,000 career points. Hainlen enters second-round play with 990 points, while Harris has 977. Two other Holiday Classic participants recently reached the 1,000 point plateau. Peoria Notre Dame senior Elle Bielfeldt reached 1,000 points on Dec. 15 and Minonk Fieldcrest’s Nathan Ropp hit the milestone on Dec. 19.
Also, visit http://theclassic.org/2009/2009/12/28/tournament-tidbits-day-1-2009/ for more tidbits that were posted prior to Day 1.
David vs. Goliath or a clash of the titans?
In the Girls 1A-2A bracket, the past two champions square off in the first round in a 1 vs. 16 match-up. Bloomington Central Catholic, the defending champ and tourney’s top seed, squares off against Rochester, the 2007 champ. The Rockets knocked off Central Catholic for the 2007 title. Both teams are also vying for the 30th win all-time at the State Farm Holiday Classic – Rochester is 29-11 in 10 appearances and Bloomington Central Catholic is 29-16 in 12 appearances.
Pioneers may lead the way
If Rock Island Alleman’s girls team wins its first-round game against Normal Community, the Pioneers will take the lead in all-time victories in girls play at the State Farm Holiday Classic. Alleman is tied with Galesburg with 34 wins.
Looking to run?
North Chicago enters 3A-4A boys tournament play with a field-best 90 ppg average. North Chicago has scored at least 95 points three times in its first seven games – hitting 95 twice and 114 once.
Raiders seek a new streak
In last year’s tournament, Quincy Notre Dame lost for the first time ever in the first round (9-1 now all-time on day one). Today, the Raiders look to stop that losing streak – and start a new winning streak. QND faces Springfield in the first round – and Springfield is the only team to beat QND’s intra-city rival, Quincy, this year.
Eleven teams will be making their State Farm Holiday Classic debuts today, and a 12th team (Downs Tri-Valley girls) is returning after an eight-year absence. In boys play, newcomers include defending state champion and large school boys top-seed Champaign Centennial; Chicago Providence St. Mel; Mahomet-Seymour; North Chicago; and Culver (Ind.) Military Academy.
Among the girls teams that are newcomers, the small school bracket features Annawan and Peoria Christian. Four teams will make their State Farm Holiday Classic debuts in the Girls large school field, including second-seed Springfield, Belvidere North, Metamora and Sterling.
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