BLOOMINGTON – El Paso Gridley’s boys’ basketball team fought for every basket Saturday during the championship game at the 109th Heart Of Illinois Conference/McLean County Tournament, held at Shirk Center on Illinois Wesleyan University’s campus. They just ran into a Tremont Turks squad led by senior guard Landon Pflederer who was blazing a trail of his own while leading his team to the Turks’ 64-61 win over the Titans.

Pflederer scored six treys in the contest breaking the previous record of five treys, the last players to set a record for those shots in a championship contest included Ridgeview’s Tyler McCormick three years ago.

While that sounds like plenty going on in a championship, the action started slowly in the first quarter with a single free throw by senior guard Titus Thompson who only hit 1-of-2 free throws, giving the Turks a 1-0 lead. But Titans sophomore guard Asa Smith was fouled by Thompson, giving Smith the chance to go 2-for-2 from the free throw line, putting EPG up, 2-1. That was followed by the game’s first back-to-back field goals by Tremont senior forward Marco Falcon and senior guard Titus Thompson, pushing the Turks up, 5-2.

Smith was fouled a second time, sending him to the charity stripe, where he hit 1-of-2, closing the gap on the Turks, 5-3, at the 5:48 mark in the first quarter. That was followed by a deuce by Pflederer, putting the Turks up, 7-3. Senior guard Ethan Jeffreys’ deuce, reducing the Turks’ lead, 7-5, but a trey by sophomore guard Isaiah Eatock with 4:22 left in the quarter doubled Tremont’s score, 10-5.

EPG responded with back-to-back baskets, a deuce from senior forward Jack Weber and trey from Jeffreys, to tie the game 10-all with 3:36 remaining. A basket from Pflederer put the Turks up, 12-10, which EPG’s Weber was quick to respond to, tying the contest at 12-all at the 1:45 mark. A three-point play by a fouled Thompson put Tremont up, 15-12 while EPG senior Silas Steiner could only make an initial basket but fail to make the free throw after being fouled, giving Tremont a 15-14 lead with 1:11 left in the quarter. EPG did go into the second quarter with a one-point advantage, 16-15, thanks to Weber’s jumper toward the end of the quarter.

A seesaw battle began the second quarter, with Thompson and Smith exchanging baskets, keeping EPG up, 18-17, before Falcon hit another deuce, putting the Turks up, 19-18, with 5:36 until half. Rapid fire baskets from EPG’s Ihlenfeldt, Tremont’s Thompson, and then back-to-back unanswered shots from EPG senior forward Jack Weber and Smith pushed the Titans up by three, 24-21, with 4:05 until halftime.

Tremont (17-5) capitalized on a three point play for senior forward Ryan Wagenbach having been fouled by Steiner, allowing Wagenbach to tie the game, 24-all, with 3:49 until the half. Senior forward Dilynn Gray’s basket put EPG up, 26-24 and was countered by a free throw by Thompson, cutting the Titans’ lead to 26-25. Another Steiner basket gave EPG a 28-25 lead, but Titans fans only saw that lead become overtaken by a deuce by Wagenbach followed by a four-point play, including a trey by Pflederer, putting Tremont up, 31-28, at the quarter’s 1:37 mark.

A Ihlenfeldt free throw, reduced that lead, 31-29, but then the quarter closed as it had started, with both sides responding basket for basket, first from Tremont’s Wagenbach, followed by a pair of deuces from EPG’s Weber, ending with a basket by Jeffreys, giving the Turks a 35-33 halftime lead.

The skirmish of the two teams answering basket for basket continued into the third quarter starting with Weber opening the third quarter with a jumper to tie the game at 35-all. Tremont’s Wagenbach responded with a deuce of his own, putting the Turks up, 37-35. A deuce and free shot from Smith helped EPG tie, then go in front, 38-37, at the 5:10 mark. But a Pflederer bucket put Tremont back in front by one, 39-38, with 4:52 left. A Steiner basket put EPG in front, 40-39, only to see the game tied at 40-all by a free throw from a fouled Turks Pflederer at the 3:31 mark. The Titans did manage two straight unanswered baskets from there from Jeffreys followed by Weber to go up by four, 44-40, with 1:24 left in the quarter. But the Titans only owned a two point lead going into the fourth quarter, 46-44.

A trey by Pflederer followed by a deuce from Wagenbach opened the fourth quarter and put Tremont up, 49-46, but EPG’s Gray hitting a trey tied the contest at 49-all, and the teams exchanged deuces once more before EPG called a timeout with 5:36 remaining. Following the timeout, Pflederer hit a trey putting Tremont up, 54-51, at the 5:08 mark. Ihlenfeldt responded with a trey for the Titans, tying the game, 54-all, with 4:32 left.

Wagenbach hit jumper to put Tremont up by three, 57-54, but that lead was short following a deuce from Gray, cutting Tremont’s lead to one, 57-56, with 3:15 left in the contest. Coming out of the timeout, Wagenbach hit another trey, putting EPG up, 59-57 with 2:52 remaining. Pflederer responded with a trey seconds later putting Tremont up by one, 60-59, prompting Tremont head coach Troy Schmidt to call timeout with 2:01 remaining.

Both teams assumed defensive postures with no scoring until Tremont called their next timeout with 40.2 seconds left. Coming out of that timeout, the Turks did manage to increase their lead, courtesy of a free throw by Falcon, who only made 1-of-2 free throws, having been fouled by Steiner. That pushed Tremont up, 61-59, with 28.2 seconds left. But Weber fouled Tremont’s Thompson, sending him to the foul line where he sank two shots, putting Tremont up by four, 63-59. At that point, the Turks called time out with 10.7 seconds left.

Coming out of the timeout, Gray sank a deuce to bring EPG within two, 63-61, and prompting Tremont to call time. When play resumed, EPG’s Smith fouled Tremont’s Wagenbach whose free throws sealed the victory.

Pfelderer was high scorer for Tremont with 29 points, which included six treys. That number of treys broke the record for the most treys made during a championship game. Three players were tied for having made five during a championship game, the most recent player to have made that many in a championship game was Tyler McCormick playing for Ridgeview in 2017. Following Pfelderer in double figures was Wagenbach with 14. Weber had 16 for EPG, leading his team’s scoring. He was followed in double-figures by 12 from Gray, and 10 each from Ihlenfeldt and Smith.

“They did what we thought they were going to do,” said Tremont head coach Troy Schmidt about what his team anticipated seeing from EPG. “They got us a little bit with penetration early and we decided to go to zone in the second half to take the penetration away. That slowed them down a little bit.

EPG head coach Nathan Meiss admitted afterward, “Pflederer was the best player on the floor tonight, especially in the fourth quarter. He stepped up big from the three-point line tonight. We knew we could score. We weren’t very good defensively in the first half, but I thought in the second half, we came around. Hat’s off to them, they were better than us tonight.”

By Steve Robinson | January 24, 2016 - 10:36 pm
Posted in Category: LeRoy, The Normalite, Tremont

BasketballBLOOMINGTON – Regular fans of LeRoy High School’s girls’ basketball team who attended the Lady Panthers’ game for the championship of the 105th Annual McLean County/Heart Of Illinois Conference Tournament probably, at times, must have felt their favorite team could have had two things going against them: A college court which added 10 feet to the basket than high school players are accustomed to; and missing senior forward clutch player Sammie Spencer who suffered a high ankle sprain against Flanagan-Cornell earlier in the tournament.

But fans were not disappointed by how the Tournament top seed performed despite finishing second after dropping a 40-31 decision to 3rd seed Tremont before 2,000 fans at Shirk Center on the Illinois Wesleyan University campus on Jan. 23.

Panthers senior guard Alyssa Aupperle thrilled her team’s fans opening scoring with a trey, putting LeRoy (17-8) up, 3-2. Sophomore guard Vanessa Ehnle countered for the Lady Turks with a deuce putting Tremont up, 4-3, at 3:46 in the first quarter. LeRoy senior center Courtney Monier responded with a deuce of her own at the 3:27 mark, putting LeRoy up, 5-4. Back-to-back Lady Panthers fouls committed against Tremont senior Lauren Hartman gave the 6 foot-3 forward the chance to go 2-for-4 at the line, putting Tremont up, 6-5 before a trey by Aupperle with two seconds left put LeRoy up, 8-6, going into the second quarter.

A deuce by Monier opened the second quarter, pushing the Lady Panthers up, 10-6, prompting Tremont head coach Justin Wahls to call an early timeout at 5:44 in the quarter. Monier was fouled while making that shot and converted it into a three-point play following the timeout to give LeRoy an 11-6 lead. Tremont was able to scrounge for a bucket from Ehnle to cut LeRoy’s lead, which was cut again as the quarter ended when Hartman hit a layup. As a result, LeRoy owned an 11-10 lead going into the half.

trophy-mctourn.jpgTremont opened the third quarter with a 7-0 run which began with a three-point play from Enhle after she was fouled by Monier, getting a deuce and free throw, putting the Lady Turks up by two, 13-11. That was followed by a deuce from junior forward Baylee Rhoades, extending Tremont’s advantage, 15-11, and prompting LeRoy head coach Danielle Cooley to call for a timeout at 5:57 in the quarter. Following the timeout, Rhoades would hit another jumper, extending Tremont to a 17-11 lead. But a free throw by LeRoy’s Monier cut off the Lady Turks’ 7-0 run, bringing the Lady Panthers within five, 17-12 with 4:04 left in the quarter.

A pair of treys from junior guard Stephanie Williams, combined with Lady Panthers’ fouls that sent junior guard Joelle Ulrich to the free throw line, where she went 3-for-4, shot Tremont up, 26-12, with 31 seconds left in the quarter. A trey by sophomore guard Megan Woltkamp closed out the quarter and pulled LeRoy within 11, 26-15, to start the fourth quarter.

Threes from Aupperle and junior guard Skielyr Trenkle, accompanied by a deuce from Monier, gave LeRoy an 8-0 run bringing the Lady Panthers within five, 28-23, with 6:12 left in the contest. But a basket by Rhoades and visits to the free throw line from Hartman and Ulrich for a combined 8-for-9 shots allowed the Lady Turks to pull away toward earning their traveling trophy.

Hartman led all scorers with 15 points. She was followed in double figures for the Lady Turks by Rhoades’ 11. Aupperle was the only Lady Panthers player to land double digits with 13.

“This game took all of them contributing,” Wahls said afterward about the effort his team put in, singling out how close the game was after one quarter. “Both teams were playing great defense. We knew it was going to be a grind to the end in a championship game. We didn’t expect it to be easy. LeRoy gave us a run for our money. We were just glad we could knock down free throws and everybody stepped up.”

Cooley reported after the game her team shot just 26 percent from the field, but quickly added her team “thought the game was going to be about runs. Tremont would go on theirs. We would go on ours. There was a lot of that.” But, coming down to the end, Cooley concluded, “We needed to hit big shots and we fell a little bit short. Kudos to Tremont for making shots. They were killer on making free throws. They were the better team tonight.”

Cooley said the team is hoping Spencer is recovered from her injury in time to resume playing once regionals begin.

BasketballBLOOMINGTON – A pair of notable outcomes that resulted from the conclusion of the Girls Championship game of the 103rd McLean County/Heart Of Illinois Conference Tournament doesn’t happen very often. First, not just one, but two El Paso Gridley players set new marks for points scored in the game; and second, the seniors on EPG’s squad can boast being on a team that won the Girls’ Championship all four years of their high school careers.

Those outcomes were made possible by Tourney top seed EPG’s 60-48 victory over second seed Tremont Turks at Shirk Center on the Illinois Wesleyan University campus following the game played Saturday, Jan. 25. The milestone stretch allowed EPG to tie the tournament record for four consecutive titles established by Ridgeview High School from 1991-94.

trophy-mctourn.jpgTitans senior guard Rebekah Ehresman and senior forward Codee Schlipf hit back-to-back deuces to open the contest, and Schlipf followed up with a pair of early free throws, giving EPG (17-2) a quick 6-1 lead with 6:31 left in the first quarter. Less than a minute later, Schlipf hit a three, tripling EPG’s lead, 9-3. The closest Tremont would get in the opening quarter would be within two, 9-7, following a pair of free throws by junior forward Wesley Woodard and a deuce by sophomore forward Lauren Hartman. But one trey each by Schlipf and Ehresman would give the Titans some breathing room going into the second quarter, leading 19-11.

Ehresman would complete a three-point play after being fouled just after the second quarter opened, increasing EPG’s lead, 22-13, with 6:36 left. A trey by senior guard Hayley Miller at 6:24 in the quarter touched off a 10-0 run for Tremont (16-3). That run included Hartman and Miller each going 1-for-2 at the free throw line, and Miller and junior guard Jill Runyon each hitting a deuce. That stretch allowed Tremont to take a one-point lead, 23-22, with 3:20 left until halftime. But Schlipf would get two more baskets and Ehresman one more, allowing EPG to take a 28-25 lead into the half.

Schlipf and Runyon would exchange deuces early in the third quarter, resulting in a 30-30 tie before a Woodard foul sent Ehresman to the free throw line, where she sank both shots, followed by an unanswered deuce by Schlipf, giving EPG a 34-30 lead at 3:17 in the third quarter. Woodard cut that lead, 34-32, with a deuce at the 2:57 mark. But sophomore Jen Ehresman responded with a trey for EPG at 2:40 in the quarter, giving the Titans a 37-32 lead. Woodard responded with a deuce and Runyon hit a trey, cutting EPG’s lead, 39-37, with 42 seconds left in the quarter. EPG carried a 41-38 lead into the fourth quarter.

El Paso Gridley Titans Rebekah Ehresman opened the fourth quarter nearly single-handed with a trey followed by an unanswered deuce, pushing EPG up, 46-38, at the 6:23 mark. Woodard cut the lead with a deuce, 46-40 at 5:47. But from there, the older of the two Ehresman sisters and Schlipf used a combined 5-for-6 at the free throw line to give the Titans a 51-42 lead, with 4:19 left in the contest. Woodard hit a deuce but missed a chance at a three-point play after being fouled in the attempt, cutting EPG’s lead, 51-44. After Schlipf hit a deuce giving the Titans a 53-44 lead, EPG went on a 7-0 blitz which included Schlipf, Rebekah Ehresman, and senior forward Anna Gauger going to the free throw line, sinking a combined 7-for-8 from the line en route to the final buzzer.

New scoring records were established – and even exceeded – during this contest, first, when Rebekah Ehresman scored 26 points. In this contest, she was not just high scorer for the game, but she surpassed her own previous high point-count from EPG’s appearance in last year’s girls’ championship where she scored 24. Schlipf also entered the record book, scoring 25. Woodard was Tremont’s high scorer, pocketing 12, followed in double digits by Miller, who had 10.

Tremont Turks Although his team is ranked 8th in Illinois High School Association Class 2A, Titans head coach Kyle Bobbitt characterized his players as “hungry” for a victory in the championship matchup. “They knew about the opportunity. They understand what this tournament means. Around here, this tournament is a big thing. They were part of the group that got our last trophy, and they understand the meaning behind it. Having it means you’re the top dog.” Speaking of his seniors, he added, “They wanted to go out winners here.”

“Tremont is a very tough team,” Bobbitt said. “They knocked down some tough shots. We knew coming in it was going to be a tough matchup for us. Tremont is very deep, they have good shooters, and they have some size. They’re a very good team. Give them some credit. They knocked some tough shots down.”

Turks head coach Justin Wahls said his team felt good about only being behind by three at the half, “but in the second half, we just turned the ball over too many times. We just gave the game to them. We lost it for ourselves, that’s for sure.”

Wahls admitted Rebecca Ehresman and Schlipf “showed up big tonight.” As for his own team, he credited Woodard, saying, “We knew we would need someone on the inside. She pounded it down inside. She’s a great post player.”

There is a possibility these two teams will square off in IHSA Regionals at the end of the regular season, Bobbitt said.

BasketballBLOOMINGTON – Tremont High’s girls basketball team entered the finals of the 99th Annual McLean County Tournament Thursday night at Illinois Wesleyan’s Shirk Center, with relative ease, defeating Downs Tri-Valley, 44-20.

The victory puts the Lady Turks in the finals against Ridgeview, who defeated LeRoy, 65-42. The two teams will meet for the girls’ championship Saturday at Shirk Center, starting with a 6:30p.m. tip-off.

Tremont trailed early in the contest, down 3-0 following a trey by Madison Roberts to get the game started. Dori Dudley’s deuce one minute into the game cut the Vikings’ lead, 3-2. Tanna Hinthorne scored a deuce 30 seconds later, giving Tri-Valley a 5-2 lead.

But Kiley Bugaieski answered with a three of her own – in her 20th straight game where she has scored a trey this season — to tie the game at 5-all with 5:21 left in the quarter. And Nichole Wagenbach sinking one of two free throws after that set the Turks on course toward an 8-0 run to close out the first quarter with a 13-5 lead.

TremontIn fact, the streak didn’t end until after Dudley sank the opening basket of the second quarter, giving the Lady Turks a 15-5 lead with 7:14 until halftime.

Hannah Sanidas scored six points in the second quarter for Tri-Valley, whose defense struggled to keep up with the streaking Turks, as Tremont pressed on to a 24-13 lead.

Wegenbach starred in Tremont’s third quarter, scoring 6 points, including a layup that began for her as a steal off a Tri-Valley opponent. The junior forward led all players on the night with 15 points. She was followed in double figures by Dudley’s 11. No Tri-Valley players reached double-digits on the night, as the Lady Turks led the Vikings 34-20 going into the fourth quarter. But Tri-Valley lost its fight in the fourth quarter, as Tremont outscored them, 10-0, en route to the final score.

Tri-Valley“Our girls knew we could beat them,” said Tremont head coach Michelle Williams, referencing an overtime loss Tri-Valley handed them earlier this month. “Tonight, we changed up what we were going to do against them. Tonight, we changed up (and) played a slowed-down zone defense rather than our usual man-on-man.

“We had some big things happen tonight,” Williams added. “We had some nice blocked shots tonight.

“(Our) team likes to play zone defense (so) I challenged them,” Williams said. “I told them that so long as we can control them (and) get our hands in the passing lane, we’ll see if (Tri-Valley) can shoot from outside tonight.”

“(Tremont) did everything we thought they were going to,” said Tri-Valley head coach Brad Harmon. “In the fourth quarter, I just couldn’t hardly get energy out of anybody. (Tremont) came out in the third quarter and gained some energy, and we got down and lost energy (going into the fourth quarter).”

By Steve Robinson | May 30, 2009 - 9:20 pm
Posted in Category: Pekin Daily Times, Tremont

BaseballBLOOMINGTON – Tremont High School head baseball coach Jim Workman said after his team’s IHSA Class 1A Sectional Final that he had hoped his Turks, who were in the midst of winning the last 10 of 13 games they have played, would manage to get to play one more game this season.

Doing so would get the Turks an appearance at the Champaign Super-Sectional. Saturday’s was the fifth appearance the Turks have made in a Regional.

But a four-run fifth inning by North Fulton added to a failed last inning Turks rally, gave North Fulton a 6-3 victory, closing out Workman’s last season as Turks baseball coach. He’ll remain at Tremont as Athletic Director.

A crowd of roughly 400 people crowded into Jack Horenberger Stadium on the Illinois Wesleyan University campus to watch what started out as a pitchers’ duel for three innings between the starting pitchers, Tremont’s Blake Uhlman and North Fulton’s Brandon Shaw.

Shortstop Joe Ellsworth drove a home run over the left center field fence in the bottom of the fourth inning, earning an RBI for scoring pitcher Brandon Shaw, who led off the inning with a single. That gave North Fulton (24-4) a 2-0 lead.

North Fulton put Tremont batters down in order in the top of the fifth inning. Up to that point, Wildcats starter Brandon Shaw set down 13 Turks batters on the day.

Tremont TurksWildcats’ center fielder Caleb Shaw singled, stole second, and advanced to third on an error to lead off in the fifth inning.

As the inning progressed, a double by first baseman Beau Lehnhausen was followed by two straight walks to winning pitcher Shaw and shortstop Joe Ellsworth, increasing North Fulton’s lead, 4-0.

Catcher Jeremy Ellsworth’s single into deep center field brought home Shaw and Joe Ellsworth, giving North Fulton a 6-0 cushion going into the seventh inning.

Tremont mounted a rally attempt in the top of the seventh inning, beginning with a double by catcher Matt Workman, which scored Turks center fielder Bo VanRheden who led off the inning with a walk, and shortstop Brad Dunlap, who followed with a double. That cut North Fulton’s lead to 6-2.

Tremont had men on first and second after Turks pitcher Blake Uhlman was hit by a Shaw pitch.

North Fulton head coach Todd Killian yanked his starting pitcher with Uhlman on third, in favor of reliever Josh Ellsworth. But Ellsworth’s fourth pitch hit Tremont shortstop Kai Pflederer, walking him, which scored Uhlman, giving Tremont what would be their final run of the season.

IHSABut Ellsworth gained his composure, forcing Tremont’s last three batters – first baseman Kyle Anderson, left fielder Tyler Risinger, and right fielder Andrew Morris – to hit fly balls into the outfield to end the Turks’ season.

Uhlman took the loss for Tremont (16-14), finishing the season with a 3-5 pitching record.

“Our last inning here is very indicative of how we played the whole last third of the season,” said Tremont head coach Jim Workman. “They pulled it together, and (although the school did not have success in other sports this season), it’s been a tough athletic year for them.

“For them to hang (in there) and come back and do what we did, I respect each and every one of them.”

“We had a close balls-and-strikes situation there, and credit (Tremont) with coming out and swinging the sticks in the seventh, and finding the holes (in our defense),” said North Fulton head coach Todd Killian.