Tuscola’s Size Too Much For OV in Second Loss of Season

Photo by Keith Stewart Okaw Valley freshman Paige Robinson drives to the basket Monday night. After playing nearly all the JV game beforehand, Robinson was a much needed shoulder in the varsity game, which she started. Robinson led the Timberwolves with eight points in her team’s 45-26 loss.

Photo by Keith Stewart
Okaw Valley freshman Paige Robinson drives to the basket Monday night. After playing nearly all the JV game beforehand, Robinson was a much needed shoulder in the varsity game, which she started. Robinson led the Timberwolves with eight points in her team’s 45-26 loss.

December 17, 2014

OV still sit at 7-2 on year

by Keith Stewart
keith@newsprogress.com

Okaw Valley and Tuscola each had one thing in common Monday night: they both entered with just one loss on the season and to the same foe: Sullivan.

But Tuscola’s near uniform size advantage proved too much for Okaw Valley as the Lady Timberwolves fell 26-45.

Tuscola’s size proved most formidable in both rebounds and lane penetration. The Lady Warriors out rebounded Okaw Valley 39-20, with several put-backs.

“Their size I think hurt us a little bit, and we knew coming in that they were a bigger school,” said OV head coach Don Gardner. “With the height advantage, we played as hard as we could, and you can’t coach height. There’s nothing you can do about that, so hats off to them. They played well, ran the floor, rebounded, did what they needed to do to win.” Read More

Female Track Phenom McClain Signs with Ill. State

Photo by Keith Stewart Okaw Valley senior Amanda McClain signed her letter of intent to become an Illinos State track athlete on December 5. Pictured, left to right: mother Michelle, SOV girls’ track coach Kali Taylor, Amanda McClain, and father Rod.

Photo by Keith Stewart
Okaw Valley senior Amanda McClain signed her letter of intent to become an Illinos State track athlete on December 5. Pictured, left to right: mother Michelle, SOV girls’ track coach Kali Taylor, Amanda McClain, and father Rod.

December 17, 2014

SOV athlete will be Redbird beginning next fall

by Keith Stewart

keith@newsprogress.com

Amanda McClain has already left her mark on girls’ high school track.

She has 11 high school state medals over just three years, including three first place medals. Two of those are from the 4×2 relay that took the top spot both this past spring and in 2012–the year in which SOV also set a state record. Earlier this year, McClain also nabbed the 400m dash, a race she came up seconds short of for first the two prior. She also took third place in the long jump, marking the second consecutive year the SOV program athlete has earned four medals at the state meet.

And she still has her senior year to go.

But McClain recently made another mark–her signature to continue her track career at Illinois State beginning next year after officially singing her letter of intent before classmates December 5 at Okaw Valley high school.

“I couldn’t be more proud of her,” said SOV girls’ head coach Kali Taylor. “It’s been a very rewarding experience for me as a coach to be a part of the success she has had and that she’s brought to the program. She’s definitely leaving a legacy, not only for our track program, but for her competitors, for the state of Illinois, for her teammates, and definitely for her coaches.” Read More

Reeder and Redskins Welcome Former Coach Back with Defeat

Photo by RR Best Jacob Piper eyes a potential pass inside Saturday against Neoga.

Photo by RR Best
Jacob Piper eyes a potential pass inside Saturday against Neoga.

December 17, 2014

Neoga foul trouble aids Redskin victory

by Aaron Dyer
Sullivan Reporter

Layne McMahon’s skill on the opening jump ball of Friday’s varsity boys’ basketball game against Neoga showed a preview of Chester Reeder, yet again, conquering his old mentor. Some believed Neoga’s head coach, Bob Lockart, would improve from last year’s loss to Sullivan but alas Lockart taught Reeder too well for his own good.

Sullivan started off strong in the first quarter scoring six points within the opening three minutes before Neoga had to call a timeout.

When the boys came out from their huddles, the game heated up as Neoga shot down Sullivan’s lead with a 2-pointer and two 3-pointers allowing Sullivan to score only two more points before the quarter ended with an 8-8 stalemate.

“[We] didn’t play very hard, and it showed, especially on defense” Reeder explained, referring to the four 3-pointers Neoga managed between the first and second quarters.

Even with similar moments in the second quarter, the Redskins still displayed their power via Ty Molzen, Nick Frerichs, and Zach Hrvol all draining 2-pointers, and if missed, bringing in the rebound.

While Neoga had racked up the fouls, Sullivan sat in the bonus without a single foul called on them by the end of the half. Read More

Reederbowl I Goes to Older Brother Stote

Photo by Keith Stewart Brothers Stote (left) and Chester Reeder (right) shake hands at the end of Saturday’s game that pit each of their high school basketball teams against one another. Older brother Stote, a 1993 Sullivan alum, won the first encounter by two, 49-47.

Photo by Keith Stewart
Brothers Stote (left) and Chester Reeder (right) shake hands at the end of Saturday’s game that pit each of their high school basketball teams against one another. Older brother Stote, a 1993 Sullivan alum, won the first encounter by two, 49-47.

December 10, 2014

Sullivan falls by two in near upset

by Keith Stewart
keith@newsprogress.com

Big brother, big school vs. little brother, little school.
Saturday night was not just Sullivan’s boys’ basketball competing against Jerseyville but also a matchup of brothers Stote and Chester Reeder, both Sullivan alums who now coach high school teams. And try as he might, little brother Chester fell short of upending big brother Stote by two points as the Redskins fell 49-47 to the Panthers.
“The game itself was just another game,” said Stote. “But before the game it was emotional. The hardest part of this whole night was shaking his hand at the end. I never want to see him lose, then again, I don’t want to lose a whole lot worse than not seeing him lose.”
Stote Reeder, a 1993 SHS graduate and seven years older than the Redskins’ coach, is in his 10th season at Jerseyville, which boasts an enrollment of 942 compared to Sullivan’s 337. Read More

Lady Redskins Hold Off Lady Knights 51-27 Monday Night

Photo by Keith Stewart Sullivan’s Brittin Boyer (right) blocks ALAH’s Madison Brown Monday night. Boyer was not only a force defensively for the Lady Redskins, but also offensively as she went off for 27 points, 6 rebounds, and 5 assists.

Photo by Keith Stewart
Sullivan’s Brittin Boyer (right) blocks ALAH’s Madison Brown Monday night. Boyer was not only a force defensively for the Lady Redskins, but also offensively as she went off for 27 points, 6 rebounds, and 5 assists.

December 10, 2014

Foul trouble, brief injury keep Sullivan scoring at bay in first half

By Matt Kracht
NP Sport Reporter

The cross town rivalry game between Sullivan and Arthur-Lovington/Atwood-Hammond lived up to the billing with an entertaining first half before the Lady Redskins pulled away for the 24-point victory. The Lady Redskins improved to 6-0 on the season maintaining their number 14 ranking in class 2A while the Lady Knights fell to 5-5.
On the first play of the matchup Brittin Boyer took the ball at the top of the key, surveyed the defense, then went right to the baseline and laid it in for the early lead. It was a theme that would be repeated as Boyer finished the night leading all scorers with 27 points. However, in the first half the Knights successfully frustrated Boyer by sending her to the foul line rather than giving up the easy two points. The “hack a Shaq” strategy worked well for Arthur initially as Boyer struggled from the line. ALAH head coach Craig Moffet talked about the gamesmanship after the loss.
“I think it was just our girls being aggressive. I’d sooner her shoot free throws than get a layup. We have a lot of smart girls. We have some future coaches on the team.”
The Lady Redskins led 17-12 after the opening quarter, but the Knights would get within three points of the lead in the second after starter Emily Neuhauser went down with an apparent back injury. Doing what team leaders do Boyer responded putting the team on her back and extending the lead to 27-20 by halftime.   Read More

Knights Win Again, Overcoming Rival Tuscola 61-48

December 10, 2014

Plank’s 13 helps solidify win

By Matthew Kracht
NP Sport Reporter

The Arthur-Lovington/Atwood-Hammond Knights improved to 4-0 on Tuesday night with an impressive win over the Tuscola Warriors who fell to 0-1 on the season. Leading the way for the Knights was Tyler Schuring who scored a game high 17 including three deep 3-pointers in the first quarter.
Tuscola came out ready to play and surging to an early 8-4 lead behind hot shooting guards nailing back-to-back 3-pointers. But Schuring responded with his own deep threes including a circus shot with less than 10 seconds left in the first period putting Arthur back on top 18-14. The Knights disguised various defenses throughout the contest frustrating Tuscola’s ability to move the ball with an offense heavily reliant on motion best suited for facing man-to-man. In a back and forth contest the Knights took a 29-23 advantage into the half. Read More

Lady Knights Split Four at Mike Walsh Memorial Tournament

December 10, 2014

By Matt Kracht
NP Sport Reporter

The Arthur-Lovington/Atwood-Hammond varsity girls’ basketball team played four games in three days with losses to tournament champion Cerro Gordo Bement on Thursday and runner up Shelbyville on Friday. However, the Lady Knights rebounded on Saturday to win in dominating fashion over Judah Christian and Buckley.
The tournament started for the Lady Knights with a 43-33 loss to the Lady Broncos and continued Friday night with an agonizing 53-42 defeat to the Lady Rams of Shelbyville. In both games the Lady Knights seemed to struggle rebounding and had terrible luck missing several good looks from point blank range.
Head coach Craig Moffett talked about how frustrating the start of the tournament was for his team. “The difficult issue was rebounding; being undersized was our biggest difficulty. I’d like to play them again.” Read More

Timberwolves Hang On for Win Over Shelbyville

Photo by RR Best Peyton Hagerman drives between two Shelbyville defenders Friday night. The senior tallied 22 points to help lead his team to a 68-58 win.

Photo by RR Best
Peyton Hagerman drives between two Shelbyville defenders Friday night. The senior tallied 22 points to help lead his team to a 68-58 win.

December 6, 2014

Endure 11-0 run by Rams in fourth quarter

by Keith Stewart
keith@newsprogress.com

Friday night’s season opener at Shelbyville might not have resulted in the 68-58 victory for Okaw Valley had it taken place last year.

“Not to look back, but last year we lost 10 games that we led or tied in the fourth quarter, so it’s encouraging to start off this year with the result being the opposite,” said OV head coach Tony Sparks. “But again, that’s the difference between playing sophomores and juniors and then juniors and seniors.”

After managing to keep a double-digit lead over the Rams for all of the third quarter and halfway through the fourth, OV succumbed to an 11-0 run by Shelbyville on the back of three 3-pointers and all within a minute-and-a-half, prompting a Timberwolf timeout.

“We went to a 2-3 zone there just to give them a different look for about three possessions, and it burned us,” said Sparks. “They hit three 3’s in a row, but we responded. And that’s what I expect a senior led team to do. We called a timeout, regrouped, and talked about it. Then got back to what was working before for us man-to-man. Then we made some plays, got the rebounds, hit some free throws, and broke their press. We got some easy layups. That’s what we expect a senior led team to do.” Read More

Knights Shine in Home Opener Defeating Stew-Stras 65-35

Photo by Darian Hays ALAH's Colton Yeakley tries to box out a Stew-Stras player Tuesday night.

Photo by Darian Hays
ALAH’s Colton Yeakley tries to box out a Stew-Stras player Tuesday night.

December 3, 2014

By Matthew Kracht
NP Sport Reporter

The ALAH Knights won their first home game of the season Tuesday night with a dominate 30-point win over the Comets from Stew-Stras. The Knights jumped out to an early 11-2 lead pushing the margin to 32-16 by halftime.

A talented and deep Knights squad put on a man-to-man defensive exhibition for the capacity crowd endlessly harassing the Comets players and forcing 13 steals. After the win Head Coach Dale Schuring talked about the defensive intensity of which the Knights seem to feed off.

“I thought our effort was great, not sure we played defensively all that smartly. It is a fine line between pressuring and taking them out of what they want to do. At the same time avoid fouling them in a situation where there is no reason to be that aggressive. The hustle and the effort were great, but the intelligence of our defense has got to improve.”

Schuring also addressed the challenge of having so many good players on one team. Read More

Lady Knights Fall to Oakwood

December 3, 2014

Despite a third quarter surge, the Arthur-Lovington/Atwood-Hammond girls’ basketball team fell to Oakwood at home Monday night.

The Lady Knights, trailing 24-14 after the first half, doubled up Oakwood in the third, outscoring them 13-6 to pull within three.

But both teams sat at a scoring stalemate in the final period with nine points each, allowing Oakwood to hold on for a 39-36 win.

ALAH was led by Mycaela Miller with 14 points, while Hannah Wallen scored nine. Read More