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Saturday, February 12, 2011

Jane Miller's Column from Feb. 10

Jane says some nice things about our seniors!!

The final days of the girls basketball regular season are upon us. While most of us have thoughts of regionals in our heads, the Mid-Illini Conference title is still not completely decided.

Morton and Limestone were tied heading into competition Tuesday night, but Dunlap played the spoiler card on the Rockets by handing them a 38-36 loss.

Meanwhile, the Potters downed Canton 64-25.

Thickening the plot is the fact that the Eagles play host Thursday night to Morton in a game rescheduled from Feb. 1 because of the blizzard.

Perhaps motivated by getting the fifth seed in the Class 3A Notre Dame Regional despite having a 15-7 record at the time of the seeding, the Eagles (18-8) have stepped up their game in the past week. They almost defeated Galesburg on Saturday and then beat Limestone. The Rockets had won the first meeting with Dunlap, 62-38.

Friday, there is a full slate of Mid-Illini games. Morton plays at East Peoria, Metamora is at Limestone, Pekin is at Dunlap and Canton is at Washington.

After that, we can really begin to focus on big-school regionals, which start Monday.

ANOTHER BIG GAME: The Western Big Six title will come down to a winner-take-all game Thursday at Galesburg.

The Silver Streaks (24-5, 7-2) and Moline (17-11, 7-2) meet at 7 p.m. Galesburg won the first meeting 62-53, but the Maroons have won seven games in a row and are looking to win their fourth conference title in a row.

Galesburg’s last conference title came in 2006.

Obviously, since it is the last home game for the Streaks, it will be Senior Night, which is always an emotional time. But Galesburg’s offense, which features a five-for-five substitution at almost every dead ball, will negate some of that.

“There is no doubt there are going to be emotions with these kids because they care about each other so much,” Galesburg coach Evan Massey said in an article in the Galesburg Register-Mail. “The fortunate thing for us is that if the seniors do have some trouble controlling their emotions early, there will be another group coming in in 45 seconds.”

MAKEUP GAME: Central and Notre Dame will make up the game they lost to the blizzard last week at 7 p.m. Thursday at ND. A win by the Irish, who will be honoring their seniors, would put the two teams in a tie for second in the Mid-State 6.

SENIOR SALUTE: Speaking of seniors, it’s time again to recognize those athletes who have stuck with this sport and worked hard at it for four years.

Special mention to standouts like Mariah Smith at Richwoods, Natecia Augusta at Limestone, Mariah Nimmo at Morton, Kristin Itschner at Notre Dame, ShaVonn Watkins at Central and Jessica Howard at Galesburg, all four-year starters who have been impact players from their first game. Thanks for the memories.

Here, according to rosters provided by the coaches, is a list of the other seniors who are in the final weeks of their careers.

Canton: Lindsee Gage, Lauren Lingle, Morgan McClaughry, Beth Wilson.

Central: Tera Green, Jillian Plunkett, Ashley Hightower.

Dunlap: Alissa Recker, Allyson Kemmann, Danielle Vick, Brianna Flinn, Kedryn Orrison, Samantha Hoefling.

East Peoria: Charlotte McBrayer, Andrea Bury, Kelsey Shoemake, Erica Harper, Carrie Myers, Nicki Alwan, Paige Ashley.

Galesburg: Tai Peachey, Megan Young, Micaela Rodriguez, Jamie Johnson.

Limestone: Kayla Bredernitz, Jenna Brooks, Alex Murphy.

Manual: Machana Ambrose, Felicia Johnson, Tonishay Risby, Brooklyn Eberle, Rebecca Clayton-Milton.

Metamora: Ali Helton, Ally Friday, Cori Maloney, Paige Garber, Shelby Sutherland.

Morton: Caitlyn Vandermeer, Gabby Closner, Karissa Neihouser.

Notre Dame: Katie Schuler, Margaret Schwab, Haley Highfill, Katie White, Jenny Coughlon.

Pekin: Karson Orrick, Danica Mason, Jerilynne Allen.

Richwoods: Susan Lynd, Karissa London, Elise Tamplin, Tatyana Nimmers, Morgan Bothast.

Washington: Paige Marchini, Kiley Ruder, Jennica Hipes, Taylor Kuykendall.

Jane Miller is a Journal Star sports reporter. She can be reached at or 686-3207.

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