Edwardsville High School senior Criste’on Waters has been a valuable member of Tigers basketball teams which have won four straight Class 4A sectional championships.
Waters and her Tigers teammates are still after their first super-sectional championship. They’ll take another shot at it Monday at the Sherk Center on the campus of Illinois Wesleyan University in Bloomington,
Ranked third in the final Class 4A state poll, Edwardsville (30-0) will take on Benet Academy (28-4) beginning at 7 p.m. with a berth in the Class 4A State Tournament semifinals on the line at Redbird Arena in Normal.
Benet Academy, from Lisle, is the two-time defending Class 4A state champions. Each those titles runs have gone through Edwardsville at the Bloomington Super-Sectional. The Redwings defeated the Tigers 61-50 in the 2015 game then nipped Edwardsville 53-51 a year ago. The Tigers lost to Chicago Heights Marian in the 2014 super-sectional.
What’s past isn’t part of Waters’ thoughts.
“To be able to win four sectional titles in four years, that’s unbelievable. Some players go through their four years without winning one,” Waters said while celebrating with her teammates. “We’re a team and we play together as a team. We have great chemistry on this team and to be able to get to play in a state tournament would be a dream come true.”
No team in the state has done what the Tigers have in the past decade. Under the guidance of coach Lori Blade, Edwardsville has won 10 sectional titles in the last 11 years.
“We’ve had a great run here and the credit goes to the kids who have worked hard and bought into our program here,’’ Blade said following the sectional title. “This group had been a lot of fun to work with and to coach. They have great team chemistry.’’
Benet Academy, which graduated two-time first team all-state selection in Kathleen Doyle, defeated Plainfield East 59-48 to win the East Aurora Sectional last week.
Sophomore guard Clara Prasse scored 18 points to lead the Redwings win over Plainfield East. Benet returns two starters from the state title team of a year ago in 6-1 bookends Kendall Schramek and Katie Jaseckas.
Edwardsville is led by senior Makenzie Silvey who along with Waters have committed to play at Southern Illinois University Carbondale next year. Silvey averaged right under 16 points per game while athletic 6-foot guard/forwards Rachel Pranger and Kate Martin are right at 14 points per game.
Athletic junior Myriah Noodel-Haywood rounds out the Tigers starting five. The Benet Academy-Edwardsville winner will take on either Lombard Montini or Homewood-Flossmoor in the Class 4A state tournament semifinals at Redbird Arena in Normal beginning at 5:30 p.m,.
Civic Memorial goes for trip to Class 3A state finals
The Civic Memorial Eagles will also look for a trip to Redbird Arena on Monday when they take on Rochester in the Class 3A Springfield Super-Sectional at the University of Illinois at Springfield beginning at 7 p.m.
The Eagles, who defeated Mississippi Valley Conference rival Highland to win the Waterloo Sectional, will be making their second trip to the super-sectional in four years. Rochester (30-3) placed second in the Class 3A State Tournament just two years ago.
Eagles coach Jonathan Denney said his team faces a major challenge in taking on Rochester.
“It feels great to be 31-2 and get to the quarterfinals,” he said. “We are excited to have the opportunity to try to get one more W in order to get to Redbird Arena for the weekend. It's going to take focus for 32 minutes and another great effort on both ends of the floor on Monday night in order to do that.
“Rochester is such a great team and program. They are so well coached. So fundamental offensively, and especially defensively. They will be a very tough matchup, but at this point if the season, every opponent is and has the same goal we do.’’
Two-time first team all-state selection Allie Troeckler leads the Eagles. The 5-10 Southern Illinois University Edwardsville recruit averages 23.2 points per game.