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.