Edwardsville, Cahokia battling for return trips to state tourney

News-DemocratMarch 17, 2014 

After reaching the state finals a year ago, Edwardsville and Cahokia are back in familiar territory with a chance to do it again.

Edwardsville (29-2), which finished third at the 2013 Class 4A state tournament, has a rematch with Chicago Heights Marian Catholic (28-2) in the Normal Super-Sectional.

Game time is 7 p.m. Tuesday at Illinois State University's Redbird Arena.

Edwardsville hammered Marian Catholic 68-49 in the super-sectional last season, leading by as many as 27 points. It helped that the Tigers were 23-of-34 from the floor, including 5-for-10 on 3-pointers, as Garret Covington --now a freshman standout at Western Illinois University --led the way with 25 points.

Cahokia (24-8), which finished second at the 2013 Class 3A state tournament, takes on top-ranked Lincoln (31-2) and its 18-game winning streak at the Springfield Super-Sectional.

Game time is 7:30 p.m. Tuesday at Prairie Capital Convention Center.

The teams met Nov. 30 at the Lincoln/Eaton Thanksgiving Tournament and Lincoln knocked off Cahokia 49-38. Cahokia was outscored 16-4 in first quarter and 21-13 in the first half while leading scorer Darius Austin had only three points.

Gavin Block topped Lincoln with 20 points.

Here's a look at the playoff matchups:

Class 4A

When: 7 p.m. Tuesday

Where: Illinois State University's Redbird Arena.

How they got here: Edwardsville beat Normal 56-53 to win the East Moline United Sectional and its ninth straight game overall as Darian Brown had a team-high 19 points. Southern Illinois University Carbondale recruit Armon Fletcher had 15 and Division I prospect Shawn Roundtree added 12.

Marian Catholic beat Homewood-Flossmoor 71-60 to win the Thornton Sectional as Kentucky point guard recruit Tyler Ulis led the way with 25 points despite playing with a toe injury. Terrone Parham added 16 points and four 3-pointers while Josh Cohn scored 12.

Edwardsville state tournament history: 1954 fourth place; 1956 second place; 1993 Class AA Elite 8; 1995 Class AA Elite 8; 2006 Class AA Elite 8; 2013 Class 4A third place.

Marian Catholic state tournament history: never advanced past super-sectional.

Marian Catholic player to watch: The 5-foot-9 Ulis is a bundle of energy who can score in just about any fashion. He has incredible moves and quickness and averages 23.5 points, 6.6 assists and 2.9 steals. Ulis had a 42-point game earlier this season against Lake Forest and dropped in five 3-pointers and 20 points in the first half of his team's 66-45 sectional semifinal win over Bloom.

Edwardsville players to watch: Fletcher (17.5 points and 13.8 rebounds per game) makes a living around the rim. Roundtree (17.4 points, 8.5 assists per game, 53 3-pointers) is the trigger man on a balanced offense, able to break down defenses and score or set up his teammates. Transfer guard Trevor Clay (10.6 ppg; 56 3-pointers) has added another solid outside threat.

Worth noting: This is Edwardsville's third straight super-sectional appearance

Class 3A

When: 7:30 p.m. Tuesday.

Where: Springfield Capital Convention Center.

On the air: www.nfhsnetwork.com/events/93391

How they got here: Cahokia knocked off South Seven Conference rival Marion 49-41 to win the Highland Sectional as Tarkus Ferguson and Gary Hickman led the way with 12 points each.

Lincoln beat Champaign Central 47-30 to win its first sectional title since 2007, outscoring Central 19-3 to start the season half. Lincoln's only losses came on back-to-back days to Springfield Lanphier (55-52 in overtime) and Champaign Central (55-52).

Cahokia state tournament history: 1985 Class AA fourth place; 2013 Class 3A second place.

Lincoln state tournament history: 1929 Elite 8; 1951 Elite 8; 1955 Elite 8; 1973 Class AA Elite 8; 1980 Class AA fourth place; 1999 Class AA Elite 8; 2005 Class AA Elite 8; 2007 Class AA Elite 8.

Cahokia players to watch: Austin (17.9 ppg, 7.8 rpg; 73 assists) is headed to Missouri-Kansas City while senior guard Carleton "C.J." Rivers (12.7 ppg; 47 3-pointers; 91 assists, 52 steals) is a Drake recruit. Sophomore guard Tarkus Ferguson (8.4 ppg; 32 3-pointers) and senior Gary Hickman (8.3 ppg) are also formidable scorers.

Lincoln players to watch: Gavin Block (15.1 ppg, 5.9 rebounds per game, 58 3-pointers, 85 assists); Edward Bowlby (11 ppg, 60 3-pointers); Max Cook (9.6 ppg, 139 assists, 84 steals); Joey Olden (7.1 ppg).

Worth noting: Lincoln has launched 750 3-point attempts and hit 286 of them (38.1 percent) while holding opponents to just 38.1 percent overall shooting this season....Cahokia has won four in a row since losing 61-59 to Carbondale in the regular season finale.

Contact reporter Norm Sanders at 239-2454, nsanders@bnd.com or follow him on Twitter: @NormSanders

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