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.

By Steve Robinson | January 25, 2008 - 10:09 pm
Posted in Category: Pekin Daily Times, Tremont

BasketballBLOOMINGTON – Tremont High started the 98th Annual McLean County Tournament knowing full-well being the top seed here made them a moving target for opponents like Downs Tri-Valley going into the tournament semi-final Friday night.

Aggressive play by Downs Tri-Valley’s forced Tremont into double overtime on their way to a 72-71 Vikings win before a crowd of roughly 1,100 fans at Illinois Wesleyan’s Shirk Center.

Tremont (15-5) owned leads of 16-13 after one quarter, and 29-26 at halftime, largely on the scoring prowess of Turks senior guard Jeremy Pflederer who scored 21 of his team-high 24, including one trey, in the first half.

Midway through the third quarter, Tri-Valley (13-10) contained Tremont’s defense while simultaneously getting baskets from junior guard Alex Gelsthorpe, senior guards Jacob Lewis and Jeff Boward, all of those boosted by a trey by sophomore guard Gabe Cripe, putting the Vikings up 44-42 going into the fourth quarter.

Tremont chased Tri-Valley halfway through the quarter until two baskets, including one off of a steal, by junior guard Matt Workman put the Turks up, 50-46.

Tri-Valley cut the lead to 51-50 on free throws by senior guard Andrew Lauritson with 1:14 left in regulation.

Workman was fouled twice in the span of 10 seconds, hitting four free throws giving Tremont a 53-52 lead with 18.5 seconds left in the contest. But a three from Boward with 9.7 seconds left in regulation forced overtime, the game tied at 55-all after regulation.

Tremont found themselves chasing Tri-Valley throughout the first overtime until a bucket by senior forward Michael Galat timed the game at 61-all with 1:20 left. Having been fouled while making that shot, Galat added one free throw putting Tremont up, 62-61 to the delight of the Tremont faithful.

But a basket by Gelsthorpe with 53 seconds put Tri-Valley up 63-62 with 53 seconds left in the overtime.

Workman was provided a chance to take the game for Tremont when he was fouled by Vikings senior guard Luke Kaiser with 1.5 seconds left. But, while Workman’s first shot tied the game at 63-all, his second shot hit the rim and bounced away forcing double overtime.

Tri-Valley jumped out to 67-64 lead on two baskets by Gelsthorpe before baskets by sophomore forward Steven Szetela and senior guard Jordan Pflederer pushed Tremont in front, 68-67, with 1:43 remaining.

Tri-Valley went up 70-67 on a basket by Gelsthorpe, followed by going 1-for-2 at the free throw line, having been fouled by Galat.

TremontWorkman got another chance to save Tremont with two free throws with 27.3 seconds left, putting Tremont up71-70.

But Gelsthorpe drove down the lane on in the Vikings’ next possession, scoring what turned out to be the winning layup.

Tremont got the ball to junior guard Eli Botemps, who drove down the floor and tried for one last shot from the top of the key. The ball bounced off the rim and ricocheted back onto the floor where a mad scramble for it followed as time expired.

“The effort was there (and) both teams played extremely hard,” Tremont head coach Ron Martin said. “We just kept battling and battling, and had chances to win. But, we just came up short.”

Martin said his team’s play in the third quarter “went soft” in the third quarter allowing Tri-Valley to climb back into the contest.

“We stepped up, we got some great shots, and we had our chances,” Martin said. “For the circumstances we were under, I thought we did a great job.”

Tri-Valley head coach Jon Nelson recalled how his team played the Turks last season with not as much confidence last season, but said his team was not gun-shy Friday. “They got out there and got the job done,” he said after the contest.

Jeremy Pflederer led Tremont’s scoring with 24 points. He was joined in double-figures by 21 from Workman.

Gelsthorpe’s 24 points led Tri-Valley to victory. He was followed in double-figures by Boward’s 13, and 10 each from Lauritson and Kaiser.

The Turks will play for the tourney’s third place trophy Saturday night, against Fieldcrest beginning with a 3 p.m. tip-off. Heyworth beat Fieldcrest, 70-67, to advance to the championship game against Downs Tri-Valley beginning at 8p.m.