By Steve Robinson | March 3, 2016 - 10:08 pm
Posted in Category: Pekin Daily Times, Pekin HS

BasketballNORMAL – Sydney Diekhoff’s season ended quickly at Illinois High School Association Class 4A 3-Point Shootout at Redbird Arena Thursday.

Although her fellow Pekin High Dragons closed out their season with a loss against Bradley Bourbonnais in regionals this year, Diekhoff said she was glad to have her season continue by making it this far in this annual competition. She tried to get this far last year, but fell short of the goal at regionals.

This year, she made her way to State, having seen 9-of-15 shots swish through the hoop at regionals and 8 more do the same in sectional competition. But grouped with five other girls from across the state here, Diekhoff sank 3 of five shots from right wing, just 1 of five from the top of the key, and 2 of five fall from left wing for a total score of 6-for-15. She said she was glad it lasted a little longer, but Diekhoff’s season is now at an end.

“(I thought to myself) going into regionals, it would be pretty cool to advance to sectionals,” explained the junior who has hopes of majoring in the Sports Management field. Being a 1,000-point scorer has allowed her to garner attention from Bradley, Southern Illinois University, and Arkansas.

“I thought this would be pretty fun because I’ve never gotten that far before. After our team lost, and I moved on, I knew moving on in sectionals meant the competition was going to be a lot more challenging.”

Pekin DragonsRedbird Arena being a little larger venue than PCHS’ Hawkins Gym, Diekhoff said she employed a practice strategy from the beginning that she thought would help her at the larger college arena. She did not use the game floor at PCHS to shoot baskets, but rather, shot at one of the baskets near the bleachers. Although they were folded up when she practiced, she said doing so aided her mental impression of shooting at a basket that was in front of a crowd of seats, as seen at Redbird Arena.

This venue didn’t intimidate Diekhoff, she said. “It’s definitely a different environment knowing you’re at a big university. But I think the floor is about the same, even if it is longer. But we have a pretty big gym in Pekin.”

Diekhoff said PCHS head Coach Becky Fulkerson and her assistant coach, Katie Murphy, “were really excited and really supportive and this has been a pretty fun ride so far,” Diekhoff said. “(My coaches’ advice) was to not be short and flat with my shots.” Diekhoff said she went in also trying to remember another Fulkerson hint to use her legs at the line, too. But both coaches also told her “to have fun and not worry about it, and just enjoy the time while I’m here.”

IHSA“My folks are pretty happy I made it this far,” Diekhoff said about how dad Brett and mom Tiffany feel about their daughter making it to State for this event.

Having practiced for this beginning just before regionals, “I believe I practiced as much as I could for it,” Diekhoff said. “I just came up a little bit short.” With one more season of high school ball left, Diekhoff has one more chance to get back to State.

Advice for players coming up behind her from PCHS’ all-time scoring leader for those girls who want to take a crack at making to the State 3-Point championship: “Just enjoy basketball at the high school because that time goes by really fast.”

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