Girls Basketball

Central girls face solid field at state basketball finals

Redbird Arena at Illinois State University, site of the IHSA High School Girls Basketball Tournament.
Redbird Arena at Illinois State University, site of the IHSA High School Girls Basketball Tournament.

The Central Cougars will take on the Nazareth Academy Roadrunners in one of two semifinals at the Class 3A Girls State Basketball Tournament at 12:45 p.m. Friday at Redbird Arena in Normal.

Peoria Richwoods will take on Glenbard South in the first semifinal 11 a.m.

The semifinal winners will play for the Class 3A state title at 12:45 p.m. Saturday. The third-place game is set for 11 a.m.

Following are capsules for the four teams competing at the Class 3A state tournament.

Peoria Richwoods (33-1)

Coach: Todd Hursey (7th season, 182-46)

Nickname: Lady Knights

Colors: Forest Green/White

Conference: Big Twelve

State tournament history: This is the ninth state tournament appearance for the Lady Knights. Richwoods won state championships in 1983, 2005 and 2009.

One year ago: Richwoods lost to Normal (University) 27-26 in the sectional.

Key players: So. Nia Williams (5.8 ppg, 72 rebounds); Sr. Kourtney Crane (15.4 ppg, 154 rebounds, 131 assists); Jr. Tianna Johnson (9.4 ppg, 194 rebounds), 131 assists ); So. Jaida McCloud (11.3 ppg, 240 rebounds, 94 assists); Jr. Camryn Taylor (11.5 ppg, 264 rebounds, 85 assists)

Glenbard South (29-3)

Coach: Morgan Kasperek (3rd season, 70-18)

Nickname: Raiders

Colors: Red/White/Royal Blue

Conference: Metro Suburban

State tournament history: This is the first tournament appearance for Glenbard South.

One year ago: The Raiders lost to North Lawndale Charter 58-40 in the sectional.

Key players: Jr. Raquel LaPonta (2.7 ppg, 56 rebounds); Sr. Sarah Cohen (3.4 ppg, 76 rebounds, 50 assists); Sr. Ally Daca (9.1 ppg, 156 rebounds); Sr. Mady Caroli (8.2 ppg, 82 rebounds, 71 assists); Sr. Maggie Baier (16.5 ppg, 336 rebounds)

Nazareth Academy (30-2)

Coach: Eddie Stritzel (2nd season, 44-16)

Nickname: Roadrunners

Colors: Columbia Blue/Navy/White

Conference: East Suburban Catholic

State tournament history: This is the first tournament appearance for Nazareth Academy.

One year ago: The Roadrunners lost to North Lawndale Charter 42-37 in the regional final.

Key players: Sr. Sophia Cullotta (3.4 ppg, 59 rebounds, 53 assists); Jr. Jovanna Martinucci (5.3 ppg, 56 rebounds, 139 assists); Sr. Marissa Metz (7.7 ppg, 113 rebounds, 50 assists); Jr. Annie Stritzel (24.1 ppg, 147 rebounds, 82 assists); Sr. Alyssa Geary (13.7 ppg, 289 rebounds, 92 assists)

Central (29-3)

Coach: Nathan Rueter (13th season, 331-86)

Nickname: Cougars

Colors: Purple/White

Conference: Cahokia

State tournament history: This is Central's fourth trip to the state tournament. The Cougars won the Class A state tournament in 2007.

One year ago: The Cougars lost to Highland 41-36 in the regional final.

Key players: Jr. Allyson Fehrmann (5.9 ppg, 65 assists); Sr. Olivia Wesselmann (5.3 ppg, 53 rebounds, 62 assists); Sr. Faye Meissner (14.1 ppg, 64 rebounds, 60 assists); Sr. Clarece Jansen (6 ppg, 188 rebounds); Sr. Carson Newkirk (9.4 ppg, 221 rebounds)

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