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2008 Seventh Grade IESA Girls Basketball State Finals Begin Saturday

For the third time in Illinois Elementary School Association (IESA) history four champions will be crowned in the Seventh Grade Girls State Basketball Tournament series. Competition in the Class 1A, Class 2A, Class 3A and Class 4A State Final Tournaments begins Saturday (Dec. 6) and concludes the following Thursday (Dec. 11) at four sites.

Class 1A will be played at Riverton High School. Class 2A will be at Mt. Pulaski High School. Assumption Central A & M Junior High School will be the site of Class 3A. Normal Chiddix Junior High School will host Class 4A.

The time schedule for all four tournaments will be the same. Quarterfinals will be played Saturday with the first of four games beginning at 10:00 a.m. The four quarterfinal winners will meet in semifinal games late Saturday afternoon with the first of two games set to begin at 5:00 p.m. Third place and championship games will be played Thursday with the third place game set for 6:00 p.m. and the championship game scheduled for 7:30.

The price of admission Saturday is $7.00 for adults and $3.00 for seniors (62 and over) and students (K-8), and is good for all games Saturday. Children younger than kindergarten are admitted free. Fans attending the games Saturday will receive a wristband that is to be worn all day and will be used for entry into the facility throughout the day. The price of admission for the third place and championship game session Thursday will be $5.00 for adults and $2.00 for seniors and students (K-8). Children younger than kindergarten again are admitted free.

IESA girls basketball began in 1979. There was one-class competition from 1979-86, and in 1986 separate state series were conducted for seventh graders and eighth graders for the first time. From 1990-2005 there were Class A and Class AA state series for both seventh grade and eighth grade. Beginning in 2006, the seventh grade and eighth grade series have four classes each.

Complete pairings for each state final, plus the FanZone, can be found at www.iesa.org. Click on the Girls Basketball line in the orange box at the top of the IESA Web Site Home Page.

Here is a look at each of the four 2008 Seventh Grade State Final Tournaments:

Class 1A

Undefeated Kankakee Aquinas (20-0) and Peoria Limestone Walters (22-0) lead the field into the state final where the combined won-loss record of the eight teams is 140-19, a winning percentage of .881.

Gifford (23-2) plays Kankakee Aquinas in the first quarterfinal game Saturday at 10:00 a.m. Champaign Judah Christian (16-2) battles Sigel St. Michael's (12-7) in the second game at 11:30 a.m. Peoria Limestone Walters meets Carrollton St. John (9-1) at 1:00 p.m. In the final quarterfinal, Marseilles Milton Pope (18-5) faces Springfield Christian (20-2) at 2:30 p.m.

Only two players on the Gifford team are taller than 5-4. They are 5-8 center Kennedy Magee and 5-5 forward Carlie Cargo. After taking a 34-22 win over Thomasboro in the first regional game, the Eagles have given up only a total of 25 points since.

Kankakee Aquinas has given up only 41 points in three state series games, with 20 of them to Elwood in a 28-20 sectional win. The Saints have three players at 5-5 or taller and all are listed as centers. They are 5-6 Kyleigh Payne, 5-6 Carly Zoladz and 5-5 Maria Vilches.

The tallest team in the tournament is Champaign Judah Christian. The Tribe has 5-10 Jasmine Kyler, 5-9 Mackenzie Joop and 5-7 Averi Simpson at center. The Tribe was seeded third in the regional and has outscored its three state series opponents by a 117-62 margin.

Sigel St. Michael's is the second smallest school in the final eight with an enrollment of 26. The Sharpshooters' roster includes 5 fifth graders, three sixth graders and five seventh graders. Only two players, 5-8 forward Julie Deters and 5-7 forward Audrey Hoene, are taller than 5-5. After limiting both regional opponents to 15 points each, St. Michael's got past Louisville North Clay 32-27 in the sectional.

Peoria Limestone Walters has one big thing going for it – the tallest player in the tournament. Center Delaney Grafelman is a 6-0 seventh grader. No other player on the roster is taller than 5-3. The rockets have three fifth graders, three sixth graders and six seventh graders on the roster. Peoria Limestone Walters has outscored three state series opponents by a 107-77 margin.

Carrollton St. John knocked off a trio of rugged rivals to earn a berth in the state finals. The smallest school in the tournament with an enrollment of 21, the Redbirds stopped Jacksonville Our Saviour 33-12 and Hardin Calhoun 34-28 in the regional before beating Augusta Southeastern 40-21 in the sectional. No player on the roster is taller than 5-5 although five of the 10 are listed at 5-5. Seven of the 10 are sixth graders. The seventh graders are 5-5 center Patsy Coonrod, 5-5 guard Christa Isringhausen and 5-3 guard Maddie Stringer.

Marseilles Milton Pope has 5-7 center Alexa Myre and 5-7 forward Emily Watts and no other player taller than 5-3. The Pilots beat Grand Ridge 25-17 in the sectional after a 27-18 win over Pontiac St. Mary's in the first game of the regional and a 28-27 win over Mazon-Verona-Kinsman in the regional finale. The Pilots were seeded second in the regional.

Springfield Christian is making its second straight appearance in the state final and can go with 5-11 seventh grader Mel Bremhorst or 5-7 sixth grader Faelyn Powell at center. Seven of the 12 players on the roster are sixth graders. The Wildcats outscored a trio of tough state series opponents by a combined margin of 125-62. In the regional, Springfield Christian beat Lincoln West-Lincoln Broadwell 31-8 and Springfield Calvary 42-23. Then the Wildcats stopped Mulberry Grove 52-31 in the sectional. Last year Springfield Christian lost in the quarterfinals to eventually champion Jacksonville Our Saviour 39-24.

Of the 87 players listed on the rosters of the finalists, 7 are fifth graders, 24 are sixth graders and 56 are seventh graders.

In IESA competition, school enrollments are determined by the students in seventh and eighth grade. Class 7-1A is the smallest class. Enrollments of the eight finalists are: Carrollton St. John 21, Sigel St. Michael's 26, Kankakee Aquinas 45, Gifford 51, Peoria Limestone Walters 57, Marseilles Milton Pope 62, Springfield Christian 72, and Champaign Judah Christian 77.

Class 2A

The team that takes the 2008 title will be in reality the “survivor” of a tournament that has the makings of being an IESA classic. Seven of the eight finalists were top-seeded in the regional with only Brimfield being a No. 2 seed. Six of the eight come to Mt. Pulaski with three or fewer losses. All eight have had success in girls basketball in the past. The combined won-loss record of the eight teams is 157-25, a winning percentage of .863.

Arthur (18-1) plays Brimfield (13-9) in the first quarterfinal game at 10:00 a.m. Then Carthage (21-3) meets Bloomington Holy Trinity (23-1) at 11:30 a.m. In the third game, unbeaten Springfield Blessed Sacrament (24-0) battles Altamont (17-8) at 1:00 p.m. In the last quarterfinal game at 2:30 p.m., Onarga Iroquois West (18-2) faces Effingham St. Anthony (23-1).

Arthur's tallest players are 5-8 seventh grade forwards Karly Goodman and Hannah Schrock. Eight of the 13 players on the roster are seventh graders. After a pair of double-digit wins in the regional the Pages advanced to the state tournament with a 27-25 win over Homer Heritage in the sectional.

Brimfield has six players 5-6 or taller and all are seventh graders. Tallest is 5-8 center Melissa Doty.

Carthage has outscored three state series opponents 102-53 and held two of the three to less than 14 points, including a 35-11 win over Mt. Sterling Brown County in the sectional. The Bluegirls have only one player taller than 5-4 and that is 5-6 forward Lauren White. Guard Graci Bastert is the sister of standout distance runner Katelyn Bastert, who holds the IESA girls all-time 1600-meter run record and the Class 8A girls 800-meter run record.

Bloomington Holy Trinity outscored three state series opponents 112-68 and the Saints are the shortest team in the tournament. Tallest player is 5-5 forward Claudia Zitkus. Five of the 12 players on the roster are 5-0 or shorter.

The high-powered offense for Springfield Blessed Sacrament has been at full throttle during the state series, outscoring three opponents 134-45. After scoring a 52-13 win in the regional final over Winchester, the Bruins dumped Pawnee 43-11 in the sectional. Blessed Sacrament has only nine players on the roster and none taller than 5-6. Center Kate Healy and guard Tiffany Bertoni are both 5-6.

Altamont has 5-10 seventh grader Gabby Alwardt at center. The Wildcats have 10 seventh graders and five sixth graders on the roster. The only other player on the team taller than 5-4 is 5-6 forward Alex Teasley.

With seven players taller than 5-6, Onarga Iroquois West has the tallest team in the tournament. The Raiders have 5-10 twins Mariah Schaefer and Fernanda Schaefer. Starters 5-9 Brittany Belik at center and 5-9 Angela Behrends at forward work with 5-7 point guard Morgan Small. Iroquois West has outscored three state series foes 102-39 and gave up no more than 16 points in any of those three games. In the sectional, the Raiders beat Bourbonnais St. George, 35-16. The only loss was to perennial power Fairbury Prairie Central.

There are only eight players on the Effingham St. Anthony roster, but as a team on defense they are devastating. In three state series games, St. Anthony has outscored three opponents 107-18. In the regional St. Anthony beat Findlay Okaw Valley 30-6 and Toledo Cumberland 37-5. The Bullpups then stopped host Sumner Red Hill 40-7 in the sectional. The only loss was to perennial powerhouse Teutopolis and that regular-season defeat was avenged before the start of the IESA state series. There are only two players taller than 5-6. They are 5-9 center Lane Steppe and 5-8 center Maggie Mumm.

Of the 90 players listed on the rosters of the finalists, 10 are sixth graders and 80 are seventh graders.

In IESA competition, school enrollments are determined by the students in seventh and eighth grade. Class 7-2A is the second smallest class. Enrollments of the eight finalists are: Springfield Blessed Sacrament 98, Effingham St. Anthony 100, Brimfield 113, Carthage 114, Arthur 124, Bloomington Holy Trinity 129, Onarga Iroquois West 130, and Altamont 134.

Class 3A

Once beaten Marshall JHS (23-1) and Lockport Kelvin Grove (17-1) are in opposite brackets and may be headed for a showdown in the tournament's final game. But there potential stumbling blocks in the way for both teams. The combined won-loss record of the eight finalists is 145-31, a winning percentage of .824.

Havana (19-5), last year's third place team, faces Marshall JHS in the first quarterfinal game at 10:00 a.m. Washington MS (19-3) battles Downs Tri-Valley (12-7) in the second game at 11:30. Litchfield (17-7) meets Lockport Kelvin Grove at 1:00 p.m. Then Williamsville (22-2) meets Bismarck-Henning (16-5) at 2:30 p.m.

The only sixth grader on the Havana roster a year ago was Morgan Heye who is a 5-3 guard. Only three of the 14 players on this year's roster are taller than 5-3. They are 5-5 forward Jenna Snider, 5-5 forward Tayler Scaggs and 5-11 center Katie Boyce. Havana outscored its three state series opponents 106-53, winning all three games by at least 10 points.

Marshall JHS edged perennial powerhouse Teutopolis 23-21 to win the sectional after beating Newton Jasper County 41-21 and Paris Mayo 27-12 in the regional. The Cubs have 5-10 Alexa Clingerman at center with 5-8 Abbie Switzer at center and 5-8 Tonia Bishop at forward.

Washington MS has no player taller than 5-4 and that is guard Maddie Lee. Shortest player on the team is 4-5 sixth grade guard Josie Wells. The Panthers have four sixth graders and 9 seventh graders on the roster.

Third-seeded in the regional, Downs-Tri-Valley beat Tolono Unity 29-27 to win the sectional. Tallest player is 5-6 center Morgan Estes.

Litchfield has 5-9 Alexis Sielschott at center and the only other player taller than 5-4 is forward Whitley Barto (5-6). The Panther Cubs have only 10 players on the roster. Seeded third in the regional, Litchfield put 42 points on the board in the sectional to beat rival Hillsboro by 7 points.

Four of the 10 players on the Lockport Kelvin Grove roster are sixth graders, but the inside players for the Hornets are all seventh graders. Lockport Kelvin Grove has 5-7 Kally Pattison at center with 5-6 forwards Courtney Pieterzak and Patricia Hatzopoulos. The Hornets outscored three state series opponents 119-27, including a 40-7 win over Calumet City Schrum in the sectional.

Williamsville has been a scoring machine during the state series putting a total of 125 points on the scoreboard while holding its opponents to 30. The Bee Bees are averaging 42 points per game to 10 by the opponents. Williamsville advanced to the Class AA softball state tournament this past fall and five players on the basketball roster played on the softball team. They are 5-3 guards Clair Stoecker and Brandi Donnelly, 5-6 forward Caleigh Franklin and centers Emily Capranica (5-8) and Jordan French (5-4).

Bismarck-Henning was second-seeded in the regional and earned its berth in the state tournament by a total of eight points. The Eagles beat Paxton PBL 23-22 and Gibson City GCMS 26-25 in the regional before taking a 28-22 win over Watseka Glenn Raymond in the sectional. Bismarck-Henning is the smallest team in the Class 3A state final. Tallest players are 5-5 forward Addisun Voyles and 5-5 center Shelby Haga.

Of the 92 players listed on the rosters of the finalists, 8 are sixth graders and 84 are seventh graders.

In IESA competition, school enrollments are determined by the students in seventh and eighth grade. Class 7-3A is the second largest class. Enrollments of the eight finalists are: Downs Tri-Valley 157, Lockport Kelvin Grove 162, Bismarck-Henning 172, Havana 195, Marshall JHS 217, Washington MS 218, Williamsville 224 and Litchfield 246.

Class 4A

Six of the eight teams in the state final have two losses or less and unbeaten Rochester (24-0) and Frankfort Summit Hill (23-0) are in opposite brackets. The combined won-loss record of the eight teams is a staggering 152-16, a winning percentage of .905. Frankfort Summit Hill placed third last year.

Minooka (19-2) meets Rochester in the first quarterfinal game at 10:00 a.m. Then Bethalto Trimpe (15-1) battles Matteson Colin Powell (13-2) at 11:30 a.m. In the third quarterfinal game at 1:00 p.m., Frankfort Summit Hill faces Lockport Oak Prairie (20-5). Normal Kingsley (23-1) plays Effingham JHS (15-5) in the 2:30 p.m. game.

Minooka historically has fielded state final qualifiers in all the team sports, and has been a spoiler often. Even with only three players taller than 5-3, the Indians 19-2 record speaks for itself. In the post are 5-6 Erin Heide or 5-5 Morgan Phillips. Guard Natalie Yard is 5-5.

Rochester's route to the state final went through Taylorville (24-16) and Chatham Glenwood (25-20) in the regional and Springfield Franklin (24-19) in the sectional. All three schools traditionally are strong in basketball. Tallest player is 5-6 center Gabby Morgan. Forward Grace Settles is 5-4. No other player is taller than 5-2. There are only nine players on the roster.

Bethalto Trimpe has a tall team and one that clamps down on defense. In three state series games, the Royals have outscored three opponents by a 90-57 margin, and twice the opponent did not score more than 17 points. The Royals were seeded second in the regional. Bethalto Trimpe has 5-10 Megan Trost at center, 5-9 Addie Ballard at center with 5-8 Sarah Jones, 5-8 Malory Wuellner and 5-7 Jaylyn Lowrance at forward.

Matteson Colin Powell has 5-7 Iris Avinger-Russell and 5-7 Lachelle Smith at center and five forwards in the 5-4 to 5-6 range. The Eagles also have three sixth graders on the 12-player roster. Seeded third in the regional, the Eagles have outscored three state series opponents by a combined 125-69.

Frankfort Summit Hill has the tallest player in the tournament in 6-0 center Casey Zimmerman. Also at center is 5-9 Ellen Graham. The Spartans beat University Park Crete Monee 50-28 in the sectional.

Lockport Oak Prairie's tallest players are 5-8 center Becky Grybauskas and 5-7 center Carly Ciolino. The Bulldogs beat rugged Bellwood Roosevelt 41-39 to win the sectional and won two games in the regional by a combined 70-19 margin.

Normal Kingsley has outscored its three state series foes by a 101-56 margin and advances from one of the toughest geographic complexes. The Cavaliers beat city rivals Parkside 34-14 and Chiddix 30-25 in the regional and then East Peoria Central 37-17 in the sectional. Kingsley is the tallest team in the tournament with six players taller than 5-6. Nine of the 15 players on the roster are sixth graders. Destiny Ramsey is a 5-10 center and the other centers are 5-9 Madaline Morris and 5-9 Carrie Pullins. Forwards are 5-7 Jalyne Zehr, 5-7 Ashley Stolbolm and 5-8 Anna Heideman, and all three are sixth graders.

Effingham JHS also has some height underneath. The Mustangs have 5-7 center Marisa Howell, 5-8 center Stephanie Robb, and 5-6 forwards Natalie Gilbert, Lauren Stephenson and Macci Rueter. Effingham JHS beat Champaign Franklin 31-26 for the sectional title and was seeded second in the regional.

Of the 103 players listed on the rosters of the finalists, 12 are sixth graders and 91 are seventh graders.

In IESA competition, school enrollments are determined by the students in seventh and eighth grade. Class 7-4A is the largest class. Enrollments of the eight finalists are: Rochester, 329, Bethalto Trimpe 386, Effingham JHS 421, Lockport Oak Prairie 521, Normal Kingsley 674, Minooka 752 and Frankfort Summit Hill 834.



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