Volunteer of the Year
Alex Staab was honored with the State Farm Holiday Classic Volunteer of the Year on day 1. A native of Germantown Hills, he was the Bradley University PA announcer from 2016-2022, is in his sixth season as the radio voice for Illinois Central College women’s basketball team, and has been the IHSA State Softball Finals PA Announcer since 2019. The Classic is a 100% volunteer-run organization and appreciates the contribution of so many, including Alex!
As we move into semifinal action, all top seeds are still on the winning side of the bracket. Three #7-seeds have advanced in bracket play, leaving Washington in the Large School Girls Bracket as the only #2-seed remaining in contention for a title. The top four seeds all advanced in that LSG bracket.
Normal Community boys coach Dave Witzig moved into sole possession of the most wins in the boys bracket (59) with his team’s win over North Chicago. After going winless in his first Classic appearance as a head coach, his Ironmen defeated Tinley Park Andrew on December 28, 2000, for his first Classic win.
Junior Cole Certa of Bloomington Central Catholic had a 47-point performance in a back-and-forth quarterfinal win over Kankakee Bishop Mac. Certa’s effort was the third highest individual scoring output in Classic history.
Two double overtime games occurred during play on day 2. Mesa (AZ) outlasted Chicago Brother Rice, 55-53 in Large School Boys play, and it took two extra periods for Brimfield to defeat Rock Falls 45-43 in Small School Girls action.
Out of State Hardware
With Mesa’s (AZ) quarterfinal victory over Chicago Brother Rice, the Jackrabbits are guaranteed to take a trophy on their plane ride back to warmer weather. They are only the third team on the boys side to accomplish such a feat (LaGrange, OH Keystone won the Small School Boys Bracket in 2003, and New Orleans, LA Jesuit Catholic finished third in the Large School Boys Bracket, also in 2003.)
Two out-of-state teams have collected hardware on the girls side, including Union, KY Ryle High School winning the Large School Girls championship in 2018.
Top Scorers – Day 1
(minimum 20 points)
Large School Boys
DeAndre Young Machesney Park Harlem 26
Max Niesman Oswego 21
Jake Hamilton Springfield Sacred Heart-Griffin 20
Small School Boys
Cole Certa Bloomington Central Catholic 47
Jaxson Provost Kankakee Bishop McNamara 30
Ty Pence St. Joseph-Ogden 30
Mason Funk Normal University 26
Jamarquis Allen Chicago Providence St. Mel 21
Vontez Dent Rockford Lutheran 21
Large School Girls
Hannah Struebing Wheaton Warrenville South 24
Kayla Rice Rock Island 24
Nikkel Johnson Kankakee 22
Lexi Salazar Plainfield North 20
Small School Girls
Addy Martinie St. Joseph-Ogden 21