Tidbits from Day 3 Action at the 2021 State Farm Holiday Classic
With both Morton and Normal University High girls losing in their respective semifinal games, every bracket will crown a new champion on Day 4.
Through Day 3, there has been only one overtime game – a Small School Boys matchup won by Aurora Christian 47-43 over Quincy Notre Dame.
In Large School Girls play, Springfield’s girls defeated Rock Island on a 3-pointer by Chloe Byrd as time expired, 59-56.
Seven of eight finalists are public schools programs. By contrast, the 2019 finals were split equally with four public and four private schools in the final eight.
In Small School Boys, El Paso-Gridley will try to claim their first championship since 1999 when El Paso took on future NBA player Eddy Curry and South Holland Thornwood for the Classic Grand Championship.
Three of four brackets have a team in their initial appearance in the State Farm Holiday Classic (Springfield Sacred Heart-Griffin in SSB, East St. Louis in LSB and Winnebago in SSG). In the LSG Bracket, Washington returns to the tournament after last competing in 2001.
Five of eight coaches in semifinal games in the girls’ brackets were female, in the 50th anniversary of gender equity legislation.
With Normal Community’s victory over Wheaton Warrenville South in the Large School Boys Bracket, Dave Witzig pulled within one victory of retired Rock Island coach Tom Sigel with 57 Classic victories (57). A win in the title game would tie him for first on the all-time list.
Bloomington Central Catholic boys coach Jason Welch moves into a tie for 7th (with Hall of Fame coach Steve Goers of Rockford Boylan) with 37 overall wins after the Saints claimed the consolation championship in the Small School Boys Bracket.
Nathaniel Meiss of El Paso-Gridley claimed his 23rd win and moved into the 15th spot in the overall boys standings. Rockford Lutheran coach Tom Guse is one-game behind with 22.
Rob Kroehnke of Wheaton Warrenville South moved into Top 20 in the girls tournament with 16 victories, tying former Champaign St. Thomas More coach Chris Mennig. Geneseo’s Scott Hardison is one win behind and can tie Kroehnke and Mennig with a victory in the Large School Girls championship game.
Bloomington Central Catholic sophomore Cole Certa set a tournament record with 18 3-pointers after sinking two in each Saints’ win on Day 3. Certa scored 97 points in the tournament for a 24.25 points per game average.
Top Scoring Performances (min. 20) – Day 3
Small School Boys
Drew Meyers – Aurora Christian (34) vs Kankakee Bishop Mac
Zach Hawkinson – Springfield Sacred Heart-Griffin (28) vs Rockford Lutheran
Frank Fouts – Kankakee Bishop Mac (23) vs Aurora Christian
Large School Boys
Ty Blake – Normal University High (27) vs Machesney Park Harlem
Amarion Nimmers – Rock Island (25) vs Chicago North Lawndale
Nick Niego – Chicago Brother Rice (24) vs Chicago North Lawndale
Ahmad Henderson – Chicago Brother Rice (24) vs Peoria High
Vincent Mays – Chicago North Lawndale (21) vs Rock Island
Artez Hanson – Springfield (21) vs Bradley-Bourbonnais
Mitchell Logan – Springfield (21) vs New Lenox Lincoln-Way West
Tyler Gabriel – New Lenox Lincoln-Way West (21) vs Mahomet-Seymour
Macaleab Rich – East St. Louis (21) vs Metamora
Small School Girls
Taylor Nowaskie – Stanford Olympia (23) vs Rockford Lutheran
Cate Uhren – Bloomington Central Catholic (22) vs Springfield Sacred Heart-Griffin
Taylor Nowaskie – Stanford Olympia (20) vs Springfield Sacred Heart-Griffin
Mallory Pinske – Rock Falls (20) vs Annawan
Large School Girls
Kamryn Heider – Peoria Richwoods (30) vs Champaign Centennial
Marissa Hilt – Bloomington (30) vs Normal West
Kammie Ludwig – Geneseo (27) vs Morton
Grace Sullivan – Mundelein Carmel (25) vs Springfield
Kaleah Toran – Springfield (23) vs Rock Island
Claire McDougall – Washington (22) vs Chicago Mother McAuley