Sports

Sports highlights for Wednesday, March 8

Class 3A Boys Basketball Regional Results

PEORIA NOTRE DAME REGIONAL

Feb. 27

Metamora 49, Peoria Notre Dame 39

Peoria Richwoods 60, Dunlap 49

Feb. 28

Sterling 60, Metamora 44: The Golden Warriors went on a 19-3 third-quarter run to break open a close game. The two teams were tied 23-23 at the half. Stifling defense from Sterling put the clamps on any offensive momentum the Redbirds tried to generate. Dimitric Young led the Golden Warriors with 16 points, while teammates Sean Gingrich and Myles Williams added 14 and 10, respectively. Noah Persich's 27 points led Metamora.

March 1

Peoria Richwoods 69, Geneseo 67

March 3

Sterling 63, Peoria Richwoods 55: The Golden Warriors captured their first regional title in 5 years. Sterling took an early 12-6 lead and held a 29-20 advantage at the intermission. Richwoods made a third-quarter surge, cutting the Golden Warriors' lead to 40-39. Sterling responded to take a 43-39 edge into the final period. With just under a minute to play, Myles Williams missed a pair of free throws, but Tyler Willman rebounded and put the miss in to give Sterling a 61-51 lead that would more than hold up for the victory. Willman led Sterling with 14 points and 7 rebounds, while Williams added 13 points and 5 boards. The Knights were led by Michael Davis (13 points, 7 rebounds) and Dallas Bryson (11 points, 5 rebounds).

ROCHELLE REGIONAL

Feb.2 7

Freeport 71, Stillman Valley 55: The Pretzels used a 25-16 first quarter to take control of the game and cruised to the victory over the Cardinals. Myterrion Carter led Freeport with 15 points, and teammate Cade Budenz added 13 points.

Feb. 28

Rochelle 61, Freeport 58: The Pretzels jumped out to a 13-2 first-quarter lead, but the Hubs prevailed in a regional semifinal at home. The hot-shooting Freeport squad had Rochelle on the ropes for the entire first half and a bit of the second before the Hubs responded in comeback fashion. Kyle Seebach led the Hubs with 12 points and 12 rebounds. Freeport was led by Cade Budenz, who dropped in 16 points, with Zeke Vandenburgh adding 14.

March 1

Belvidere 46, Woodstock Marian 32

March 3

Belvidere 61, Rochelle 58

ROCK FALLS REGIONAL

Feb. 27

IVC 52, Mendota 38

Feb. 28

Rock Falls 72, IVC 53

March 1

Dixon 55, LaSalle-Peru 52

March 3

Rock Falls 69, Dixon 61

Class 3A Boys Basketball Sectional Schedules

PEORIA SECTIONAL

Tuesday

Sterling vs. Washington, 7 p.m.

Today

Rock Falls vs. Bloomington, 7 p.m.

Friday

Championship, 7 p.m.

GENOA-KINGSTON SECTIONAL

Tuesday

Belvidere vs. Sycamore, 7 p.m.

Today

Glenbard South vs. Marengo, 7 p.m.

Friday

Championship, 7 p.m.

Class 3A Boys Basketball Supersectional Schedule

AT DeKALB

March 14

Genoa-Kingston sectional winner vs. Peoria sectional winner, 6 p.m.

Class 1A Boys Basketball Sectional Results

PECATONICA SECTIONAL

Feb. 28

East Dubuque 48, Orangeville 38

March 1

Freeport Aquin 53, Elgin Harvest Christian 44: In a tight game from wire to wire, the Bulldogs found just enough to defeat the Lions and advance to the sectional championship game. Leading by just 2 points with 3 minutes left to play, junior Zac Cummins drained a 3-pointer to put Aquin up by 5. Elgin would get no closer. Harvest Christian bowed out of the tourney with a 25-4 record, while Aquin improved to 27-5. Cummins led the Bulldogs with 12 points, with teammates Jonah Diemer and Tyler Rinehart adding 11 points each.

March 3

East Dubuque 55, Freeport Aquin 39: The Warriors jumped out to a quick lead and the Bulldogs just couldn't mount a big enough rally to overcome, falling short of their first sectional title in 33 years. East Dubuque took a 23-7 advantage and held a 33-20 lead at the half. The Bulldogs were able to get that lead down to 9 points in the third, but the Warriors responded with a 3-pointer to bump their lead back to a dozen points. East Dubuque was led by Payton Heller's 19 points, with Hunter Sherman adding 17. Patrick Gustafson led Aquin with 17 points, and teammate Jonah Diemer added 13.

Class 1A Boys Basketball Supersectional Schedule

DEKALB SUPERSECTIONAL

Tuesday

East Dubuque vs. Chicago Hope Academy, 6 p.m.

Class 1A Boys Basketball State Finals

at Peoria

Friday

DeKalb Supersectional winner vs. Carbondale Supersectional winner, 11 a.m.

Jacksonville Supersectional winner vs. Normal Supersectional winner, 12:45 p.m.

Saturday

Third-place game, 11 a.m.

Championship, 12:45 p.m.

Varsity Baseball Preview

It's just about that time of year again when the crack of the ball on the bat will be heard on high school ball diamonds around the area. With nicer weather on the way, it looks to be an on-time start to the seasons for both baseball and softball, which are scheduled to play their first spring games very soon. With that in mind, here is our look into the area teams our local schools will be putting on the field this year.

River Ridge/Scales Mound Wildcats

Head coach Jeremy Knauer and assistants Mark Bryan, Dave Wiegel, Zach Staver and Jake Kelzer field a squad that's looking to improve on last season's 7-20 record. Key returning players include senior catcher Zac Stadel, senior third baseman Austin Kutz, senior outfielder Miles Brosamer and junior pitcher Andrew Brown. Key newcomers are sophomore shortstop Jacob Speer, sophomore first baseman/pitcher Micah Knauer, sophomore second baseman Nick Parr, sophomore outfielder Ben Crist and sophomore outfielder James Sullivan.

Team strengths? “We are getting back to having 30-plus kids in our program”, Knauer said. “Having competition at every spot will help push each other to get better. We have 25 fresh-soph kids out playing. We have a lot of versatility and a lot of kids that can take the mound and give us innings. With the new pitch count rules, we are set up well to deal with more kids having to throw”.

Team concerns? “We are very young”, Knauer said. “We don't have a lot of junior/senior starters or pitchers. Junior Andrew Brown is going to lead our pitching staff this year, followed by a lot of sophomores and maybe freshmen. We have a few seniors that can pitch out of the bullpen, but otherwise, sophomores are going to take the ball. We might take some lumps this season, but we feel the experience will help us down the road”.

Other teams to beat in the area? “Our area is extremely strong every year, but especially this season. Warren/Stockton will again be the favorites, but Eastland has enough to challenge them this season. Pearl City has a talented soph class, along with East Dubuque. West Carroll has a great junior class that will keep them up toward the top and Lena is always well coached. Galena has enough talent to win games as well. Much like football, Northern Illinois baseball will be successful with whomever makes it out of regionals."

Le-Win Panthers

Head coach Nick Werhane and assistants Ryan Wybourn, AJ Simmons, Darrell Cory and Tom Madigan lead the Panthers this season. Le-Win finished the 2016 season with a record of 12-17 overall, and 8-6 in the conference. Returning players are senior catcher/outfielder Mitchell Mikesell, outfielder/pitcher Hollace Julius, senior first baseman Josh Brunner, senior infielder/pitcher Trey Chenong, senior pitcher/infielder Tanner Lawfer and sophomore catcher/pitcher/infielder Ian Kuehl. Key newcomers include senior outfielder Lucas Lawson, junior infielder/pitcher Michael Jones, junior/infielder/outfielder Owen Peight, and junior pitcher/infielder Trevor Aurand.

Varsity Softball Preview

Eastland Cougars

Head coach Keali Engelkens and assistant coach Dillion Eich lead the Cougars this season after Eastland finished the 2016 season with a record of 5-16. Key returning players include senior pitcher/infielder Makenzie Fink, senior outfielder Hannah Kempel, junior infielder Jordan Miller, sophomore infielder Gabby Snyder, and sophomores Erica Dambman and Haley Wilson. Key newcomers are senior Nia Blackmore, junior Shelbie Preston, and freshmen Jenna Green, Meredith Janssen, Emma Norton, Erin Henze and Kaylee Hammer.

“Our weakness will be our lack of depth," Engelkens said, “with only 13 girls in the program. Our work ethic and determination will be our strengths”.

Other area teams to watch? “Pearl City and Orangeville have great softball programs, and will be tough again this year”.

Le-Win Panthers

Head coach Paul Everding and assistant coach Ryan Hahne lead a Panther team that finished the 2016 season with a 16-11 overall record, and 9-5 conference mark. Key returning players include infielder Bri Haight, pitcher Bailey Baldauf, outfielder Madison Scace, second baseman Anna Erving, third baseman Marissa Buss and outfielder Lilly Schierloh. Key newcomers? Everding said, “We have 9 freshmen who came out, many of whom play travel ball, so the future looks bright."

Strengths? "Pitching and our core returning infield," Everding said.

Weakness? "We've had to replace two-thirds of our outfield, our starting catcher and our starting first baseman."

Other area teams to watch? Pearl City, Scales Mound/River Ridge, Orangeville and Dakota. Everding concluded with, “We have lots of returning experience that will be balanced by youth, but I think we have the makings of a good season again. I think it's realistic that we can finish in the top three in the conference. What we need to do is not let last year's postseason success make us complacent. This is a new season, and anything can happen”.

Varsity baseball schedule

MONDAY

Orangeville at West Carroll

Freeport Aquin at Pearl City

Morrison at Sterling

Rockford Jefferson at Le-Win

TUESDAY

Milledgeville at West Carroll

Pearl City at AFC

River Ridge/Scales Mound at Oregon

Le-Win at Rockford Lutheran

Varsity softball schedule

MONDAY

Orangeville at West Carroll

Freeport Aquin at Pearl City

Rockford Jefferson at Le-Win

TUESDAY

Milledgeville at West Carroll

Scales Mound/River Ridge at Oregon

Le-Win at Rockford Lutheran

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