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).