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.