By Steve Robinson | February 10, 2019 - 7:43 am
Posted in Category: The Normalite

For Carson Damery, helping a family member who has a rare medical condition was something she knew would take all the help she could find. And as a sixth grader at Chiddix Junior High School toward the end of the last school year, she wanted to enlist the help of her classmates by telling them the story of her young cousin, five-year-old Max Chapman, son of Todd and Corin Chapman.

Max is living with a condition, known as peroxisome biogenesis disorder, or PBD, a rare condition which causes those afflicted with it to lose eyesight, hearing, and motor function. People who are afflicted with it usually see it develop between ages 5-10. PBD, also known as Zellweger Spectrum Disorder, or ZSD, is extremely rare and affects approximately 1 out of 50,000 children. Only a few hundred children are known to be diagnosed with PBD worldwide. A degenerative disease, there is currently no cure though ongoing medical research continues to seek a cure. Lessons at school in genetics last year got this young lady curious about finding some way to enlist help to raise funds for helping end the disease.

Toward the end of last year, Carson, daughter of Nate and Heather Damery, approached her teacher at the time, Jenny Snyder, to seek ideas for involving her classmates in helping with the cause, explained CJHS Associate Principal Wendy Davis. Snyder added Carson wanted to present to her fellow classmates the reasons for wanting to involve them in helping raise awareness of the condition and funds to find a cure for it. Snyder encouraged Carson to touch base with her once she entered seventh grade this year so see what kinds of fundraising opportunities could come about as a result.

To raise awareness, Carson addressed all 650 students in her grade level this year, using a Power Point presentation she created to inform them of the condition and why she wanted to raise funds. She calls her effort “Mission For Max.” When she presented, Carson wanted to lay out the cause to them and “see what the reaction of the students would be,” she said.

After Carson gave the presentation, “The students were empathic and overwhelmed with ideas,” Davis said.

During this school year, Carson, now a CJHS seventh grader, has helped to see that there has been one week-long fundraiser already — a fundraiser where, during that week, students brought pennies in one day, nickels the next, then a day of dimes, then a day of quarters, ending in bringing $1 each by Friday, hoping to earn $500. But as a result of the students’ efforts, Carson, Davis, and Snyder attended a recent Normal-based Unit 5 Board of Education meeting and announced that more than the amount of money sought was what was raised. That meant a total of $3,698.90 was taken in.

While that amount was a wonderful start, there is another fundraiser this week the kids are planning to hold. Up next will be a Valentine’s dance for all CJHS students which will take place Friday, Feb. 15, hosted by CJHS’ Student Council. The school has a student population of 600, Davis informed. “The Student Council said they wanted to help,” she added.

And there is yet another event in the works, Carson said, but it’s hoped the weather will be much more cooperative than it is now by the time this next event is scheduled. What’s being considered, Carson said, is a miniature golf tournament at the end of the school year. That event is planned for Pheasant Lanes Family Fun Center on May 5. The family also does an adult golf fundraiser every year which states the full name of the disease. The event is called “Tee It Up For Global Foundation For Peroxisomal Disorders,” or GFPD. That event will take place again with a reception and silent auction May 16 at Illinois State University’s Alumni Center followed by the golf scramble event at ISU’s Weibring Golf Course May 17. According to the golf event’s website, last year’s outing raised over $138,000.

Davis said after CJHS students were informed about the cause and Carson’s efforts, “Our kids are super empathic and really wanted to be involved.”

Now, this fundraising effort will continue throughout this young lady’s time at CJHS, Snyder said. And one would think once Carson departs for high school in a couple of years, CJHS’ student body might themselves move on to other causes. Not so, Snyder said, because when Carson’s younger sister, Campbell, enters CJHS two years from now, she will pick up where Carson left off.

Davis said continuing the project beyond Carson’s years at CJHS is a good idea because of the close connection between the girls and the school and because it represents a carrying on of tradition for CJHS’ students, the families involved, and Unit 5. “At the junior high level, we teach empathy and kindness and this project just personifies all of that,” Davis said.

In addition to teaching kindness, Snyder added, “What really makes this work is that the kids know Carson, and her sharing a personal story makes it more tangible for the kids. They can see a picture of Carson and Max and realize, ‘Oh, this is what she’s talking about.’ That makes it more real for them.”

And that’s a good thing because, after all, PBD has been a reality for the Chapmans, the Damerys, and other families who have seen a loved one afflicted by it. If these kids can do anything to help out and learn and have a little fun while doing it, it becomes a win for everybody concerned.

By Steve Robinson | February 9, 2019 - 10:45 pm
Posted in Category: The Normalite, U-High

NORMAL – Springfield Lanphier High head basketball coach Blake Turner admitted his team is used to being at the top of the Central State Eight Conference, but this season has been different, due in part to having young players on a team that has been struggling to stay around .500 all season. The Lions managed to keep host University High at bay for most of the first quarter, but spent the remainder of the contest chasing the Pioneers, who won the contest, 73-60 before around 600 fans.

Junior guard Jason Snodgrass’ trey inside the game’s first minute put the Lions up, 3-0, but was quickly stifled by a trey from U-High junior guard Alex Wood followed by a deuce by Nate Torres, giving the Pioneers a fast 5-3 lead, but junior guard Larry Hemingway quickly tied the game with a layup at 5-5. Wood followed up with another trey giving the Pioneers an 8-5 lead.

But a deuce by Lions senior forward Karl Wright lit the fuse on a 9-0 run for the visitors which featured two free throws by Hemingway, a trey by Snodgrass, and deuce by senior forward Shain Chairs. That barrage forced U-High to call time, down 14-8 with 3:07 left in the quarter. A free throw by junior forward Joe Brown helped start U-High’s recovery, followed by a goaltending call against the Lions on a Torres shot, closing the Lions’ lead to 14-11. Wood closed out the quarter with a trey at the 1:07 mark followed by a deuce, which gave the Pioneers a 16-14 lead going into the second quarter.

A pair of 5-0 runs by the Pioneers highlighted the second quarter, the first of which began with two free throws by Torres. Torres was also intentionally fouled by Lions junior guard A. J. Frazier. In total, he went 3-for-4 and was followed by a deuce by junior guard Drew Wollenschlager, putting the Pioneers up by seven, 21-14. But a trey by Snodgrass closed the gap to 21-17 with six minutes left. Brown hit two more free throws for the Pioneers having been fouled by sophomore guard K.J. Dedrick, pushing the Pioneers up, 23-17.

A Snodgrass deuce helped pull Springfield Lanphier (11-13, 6-7 Central State Eight) within four, 23-19, but that was quickly followed by the Pioneers’ next 5-0 run which featured a deuce and free throw followed by another deuce all by Torres, extending U-High’s lead to nine, 28-19, prompting the Lions to call time out at the quarter’s 3:01 mark.

Following the timeout, Torres and Wood each sank baskets for U-High (17-7, 10-3 Central State Eight), extending the Pioneers’ advantage to 32-19 with 2:05 until halftime. Freshman forward Tye Banks’ deuce would be the Lions’ last points of the half, closing U-High’s lead, 32-21, before Pioneers junior guard Logan Christensen and Torres would each be fouled and combine for 2-for-4 from the line to push U-High’s lead, 34-21. Wollenschlager’s deuce would give U-High a 36-21 lead with 1:15 left. The two sides would go into halftime with a 36-23 Pioneers lead after Hemingway’s jumper closed the half.

Wollenschlager opened the third quarter with a trey at 7:46 pushing U-High up, 39-23, and that triggered a back-and-forth of baskets by Lanphier’s Wright, Torres for U-High and two unanswered deuces by Snodgrass before Lanphier called a 30 second timeout at the 6:01 mark, trailing by 12, 42-30. Coming out of the timeout, Hemingway and Banks hit back-to-back unanswered deuces, pulling the Lions within eight, 42-34, with 4:36 left in the quarter. Wood responded for the Pioneers hitting a deuce. That prompted Lanphier to call time again, down 44-34, at the 4:26 mark. Hemingway followed up with a one-man 5-0 run, a trey and two free throws, to pull his team within five, 44-39, at 3:28 in the quarter.

But an intentional foul committed by Chairs on U-High’s Wood leading to two free throws, followed by a deuce by Torres allowed the Pioneers to extend their lead to nine, 48-39, prompting another Lanphier timeout at 2:11 in the quarter. Hemingway went on another 5-0 run, including a trey, before freshman guard D. J. Starr’s jumper closed the quarter, with the Pioneers owning a 50-44 lead going into the fourth quarter.

Wright’s jumper seven seconds into the fourth quarter reduced U-High’s lead to four, 50-46, and prompted another Lanphier timeout. Coming out of that timeout, the game’s most intense period of scoring between the two sides took place starting with two free throws from a fouled Torres for U-High and two free throws for Lanphier from a fouled sophomore guard Maki Rose reduced the Pioneers’ lead, 52-48, with 7:20 left.

Wollenschlager’s deuce, two free throws and a trey by Wood helped push U-High in front of Lanphier, 59-48 with 6:12 left in the contest, but a trey by Banks shaved that lead to eight, 59-51. A deuce by Wollenschlager allowed the Pioneers to regain a 10-point lead, 61-51. A three-point play by Wright and a free throw by Morgan shaved U-High’s lead to six, 61-55 with 4:47 left, but two free shots by a fouled Hemingway put that lead back up, 63-55. A trey by Rose allowed Lanphier to come within five, 63-58.

Baskets by Starr and Torres again extended the lead to nine, 67-58 before Hemingway sank another basket pulling Lanphier within seven, 67-60, with 2:18 left prompting the visitors to take time out. But following that timeout, three Lanphier players, including Hemingway and Snodgrass, committed fouls sending Torres to the free throw line twice and Wood once. There the duo went a combined 6-for-6 leading to the final score.

Torres and Wood led the way for U-High in double-figures scoring 28 points and 24 points, respectfully. Hemingway’s 18 points led the charge for the Lions. He was followed in double-figures by Snodgrass’ 14 and 11 from Wright.

U-High head coach Andrew McDowell admitted that before this contest, his team’s free throw shooting “hasn’t been done very well at the end of games the last several games.” But he added, thanks to coaching by one of his assistants, Lester Hampton, the team had managed to improve from the charity stripe.

McDowell said his team is trying to learn to make adjustments when it encounters “aggressive pressure” from opponents. He added his team “needed this type of game to prepare us for the postseason.” He added he told his players to continue playing the way had all game during the fourth quarter when Lanphier was closing in, but to increase their intensity while doing that.

McDowell added Lanphier’s Wright didn’t suit up when the two teams met Jan. 8. “He’s an athletic difference maker,” McDowell said about Wright.

“U-High came out and jumped on us in the first half,” said Lanphier head coach Blake Turner. “I thought they were faster, quicker, more progressive than us in the first half. At halftime, I challenged the kids to come out more aggressive and play with a little more passion. At that point, it was not about Xs and Os. It was about competing.” Turner said he believed his players managed to match U-High’s intensity in the second half.

Pioneers Junior Varsity Wins, Too: U-High’s junior varsity team took on their counterparts in a contest prior to the varsity game, coming away with a 52-43 win.

NORMAL – Two incumbent Normal Town Council members, and five of the seven challengers seeking to win a Council seat left open by another Council member’s decision not to run for another term participated in a debate hosted by Neighbors Association of Normal (NAN) Saturday, Feb. 2. The event was held in the Community Room at One Normal Plaza, the former Illinois Soldier’s and Sailor’s Children’s Home.

Two one term Council incumbents – Kathleen Lorenz and R. C. McBride – faced five of the six declared first-time candidates during the two-hour session facilitated by NAN Member Lyndetta Alsberry. Five of the six other formally announced candidates for the two seats – Alex Campbell, Dave Shields, Joel Studebaker, Karyn Smith, and Stan Nord — round out the field of candidates and also took part in the session. The sixth candidate, Pat Turner, was unable to participate due to a family emergency. Karl Sila, a write-in candidate for a Council seat, did not participate in the session formally, but was present in the audience.

Lorenz and McBride are each seeking re-election to a second term on the Council. There is a vacant seat needing to be filled as a result of Council Member Jeff Fritzen’s decision not to seek another term in what was the second of two stretches on the Council, having first been elected in 1983. He stepped away from politics in 1999, and ran again in 2003, and has been reelected onto the Council since.

The priorities the Town of Normal ought to consider when offering tax incentives to businesses wanting to come to Normal was one topic which generated numerous comments among the candidates.

“I think one of the most important things you should do with tax incentives is affordable housing,” stated Campbell, an ISU student. “I think it’s an issue that, while it definitely effects students.” But he said he believes the most neglected group to be affected by the incentives are people he put into classification of “non-student non homeowners.” He said he believed it important to see the Town provide incentives to local developers so they can use that cash to create “more mixed income housing.”

“I think that’s super important,” Campbell said, adding, “While it’s just as important to build nice homes, it’s also just as important to build things like newer townhomes.”

Shields said when it comes to what citizens deem important enough to considering offering tax incentives, every citizen will come up with a different need they believe worthy of the incentive being warranted. Those items range from affordable housing to money for a new Normal Library to living wages to senior citizen programming.

“The fact is none of these are mutually exclusive,” Shields stated, adding depending on individual concerns, all of those items are considered worthy of being given priority. “The job of a Council member is to make sure the Town is a thriving, livable place for everybody.” He added each opportunity for such incentives should be looked at for its individual merits and the Town should do “what we can when we can with what we’ve got.”

This subject is “a crucial question for us right now,” Studebaker said. The Town, he added, “has had a number of controversies over the last couple of years, and so, we need to decide ‘what do we want to decide in this community?’

“For me, one of the priorities is a library,” Studebaker explained. He added that if the Town opts to give money or incentives for a developer for any future project, the Town should prioritize such projects.

“I disagree with the premise that tax incentives are necessary,” Smith stated to begin her response to the question. She said the Federal Tax Code begins by describing what items do not get taxed.

“Rather than make concessions to what gets taxed, I think if we took a look at broadening the tax base, and then examining how different entities are taxed, then we could be sure it was done fairly for businesses and residents alike,” Smith added. Doing that, she explained would keep the Town from being concerned about tax incentives to promote development.

“Tax incentives should be used when there is a need for the community, or if there is an economic benefit for a business to come into the community,” Nord said. “If a business like Portillo’s says it’s not profitable to sell their hot dogs in our town, we should not give them incentives so it would be profitable to be here.” He called the deal the Town agreed to with the Oak Brook-based restaurant chain “straight out corporate welfare.”

Referring to Tax Increment Financing districts, or TIF Districts, Lorenz said they are used “as an economic tool.” She said the point to using them “is to increase the wealth of the community.” She added after government bodies like the Council approve such action, they are considered “a public-private endeavor” where developers approach the Town or other governing body seeking permission to build things such as affordable housing.

Once such a project is approved, Lorenz said, government steps back and “those seeking to construct and capitalism takes over.” She said she provided that illustration to give the roughly 25 people who attended the session an idea of how governing bodies like the Council intend for TIF Districts to function.

Evaluating the need for TIF Districts “need to be evaluated on a case by case basis, and they are,” McBride said. He said the need for such a district came into play in December 2016 when the Council unanimously approved a TIF district for the former Mitsubishi Motors North America plant to be used by electric car manufacturer Rivian Motors.

“We had a plant that was going to be stripped and turned into a concrete slab,” McBride recounted, had Council members not entered into the agreement, along with other area taxing bodies including Normal-based Unit 5 School District.

The subject of Normal offering tax incentives was prompted with candidates recalling Normal Town Council members unanimously voting, also in December 2016, to authorize executing of a redevelopment agreement with Bloomington Landmark Development Inc. regarding construction of Portillo’s which was built and is now located on N. Veterans Parkway.

At the time Council members approved the Portillo’s agreement, Bloomington Landmark Development Inc. sought and Council approved $1,825,000 to meet a standard rate of return for such a real estate investment. The agreement provided for a rebate from the Town of all sales, and food and beverage taxes from the restaurant to the developer to a maximum in that amount. The Chicago-based eatery formally opened in August 2017.

Other subjects candidates discussed included issues concerning municipal water policies and rates, candidates’ views on climate change, and funding liability for Town employees’ and retirees’ health costs.

Council candidates are scheduled to meet again in a candidate forum which will be broadcast by Illinois State University’s National Public Radio affiliate, WGLT FM 89.1, on Thursday, March 7. The 90-minute debate will be held in the Old Main Room of ISU’s Bone Student Center beginning at 6p.m.

By Steve Robinson | January 30, 2019 - 10:48 pm
Posted in Category: The Normalite

Andrew Meyer is your typical high school senior in many respects in that he’s finishing up his senior year at University High, he’s completed looking at his college options and decided on where he will go to college by now, and looks forward to graduating and beginning his college career.

But Andrew is not typical in terms of being a high school student in that his weekends are occupied participating in a sport he said he enjoys, hockey. To that end, since the beginning of his junior year, he has been playing goalie for the Chicago Bruins, members of the Central States Developmental Hockey League. The level of play the team Andrew is on is called Midget Major Under 18. At that level, players compete in a full 30-game regular season schedule which runs from late September through early February followed by playoffs. The Bruins coach at that level is Mike Rohdenburg.

Also at that level, these young men get a sampling of not just teams from the Chicago area, but also from St. Louis, Arizona, and California. Western states’ teams use up airfare while in-state teams play home games, the Meyers explained.

That also has meant that Andrew, son of Scott Meyer, and Dr. Barbara Meyer, has been on the road most weekends for the team’s home games played in the Chicago suburb of Addison. It has also meant traveling up to Addison for twice weekly practices, too. As long as he kept his grades up, his parents had no issue with Andrew playing for the team, his father explained. To do that, Andrew added, has meant doing homework in his father’s vehicle en route to practices.

As important as his grades are, of course, so is the position Andrew plays. You see, Andrew Meyer plays “between the pipes,” as they say, for the Bruins. That’s right, he’s the goalie. And he’s their first string goalie.

Andrew has been playing hockey since second grade in programs which took place in the Pepsi Ice Center adjacent to Grossinger Motors Arena in downtown Bloomington, known as U. S. Cellular Coliseum when he started. “The fast pace of the game and the excitement it brought to the crowd” is what Andrew said appealed to him when he was young and still holds his interest today.

But Andrew wasn’t always a big hockey fan, he admits. As a kid, he started out as a basketball fan. “I would always watch hockey on TV and he’d watch with me,” Scott Meyer explained. From that interaction, the fascination with hitting the ice grew.

Because there was no league or teams in the vicinity of the Twin Cities when Andrew got to the age level he was at now, when the time came to try out for a team so he could try to continue playing, “I headed up to Chicago to find a team for my age level.” He found the level of competition he was seeking when he tried out for the Bruins prior to the start of last season.

Toward the end of Andrew’s first season, the Bruins won their State Tournament which allowed them to advance to a national tournament. At the national level, the Bruins, under Rohdenburg, won the State Tournament and got as far as the quarterfinals of the national tourney before their season ended. When they finished the national tournament, the Bruins were ranked sixth out of 400 teams nationwide, Scott Meyer explained.

Andrew is needed to participate in two team practices a week in Addison and stays overnight with a teammate when there are back-to-back games on weekends.

It’s been exciting to see your kid excel at a higher level of hockey than what was available here,” Scott Meyer said.

“Andrew was phenomenal,” said Rohdenburg of Andrew after his tryout with the team prior to last season. “I liked him from the first time I saw him. His size and how he moves is what struck me” from the beginning, the veteran coach added. “He has a good knack for the game and for the puck. He has great size, he’s poised in the net.”

Of the commitment Andrew’s parents have made the past two years, Rohdenburg said, “Scott and Barb have been phenomenal. They haven’t missed anything in two years.”

Although last season was exciting for the Bruins what with all they achieved, this season has not gone as well, the Meyers said. They finished the regular season with a record of 12-9-9. There are no overtimes to break ties in CSDHL. But the team is looking forward to getting into the playoffs, Scott Meyer added.

Last month, with three colleges trying to convince him to choose them for his college experience, Andrew committed to attended Illinois State University where he will play for the Division I team the Redbirds have in the sport. In the last four years, Rohdenburg has seen a number of players move up to that level. Andrew will become the eighth player to do so.

In a press release announcing Andrew’s signing with ISU, that team’s head coach, Bobby DiNardi said, “We’re happy to have Andrew as a Redbird. He’s a good kid that I’ve personally watched grow on and off the ice over the years. We’re excited to see his progression in the next four years and fills a huge need for the organization.”

Andrew told me he is considering aiming his major studies at ISU toward the field of Kinesiology. Studying that subject, Andrew said, came into focus for him as what he wanted to do as his life’s work just in the last six months.

Playing for ISU will be fun for Andrew as he continues to apply himself in the sport and work toward his college studies during that period. It will also save on mileage for his folks, too. But what I suspect Andrew has learned from the experience of the last two years will travel with him the rest of his life.

By Steve Robinson | January 29, 2019 - 10:24 pm
Posted in Category: Sports, The Normalite

BLOOMINGTON – The boys’ championship at the 108th Heart Of Illinois Conference/McLean County Tournament showed each team which got to the contest looked to have the right to be there, showing control in the half they commanded. But in the end, top seed Gibson City-Melvin-Sibley held overtook sixth seed El Paso Gridley for a 40-36 victory and the tourney title.

EPG senior forward Noah Smith led off the game with a bucket which GCMS quickly countered with baskets to open the contest at 2-0, but quickly fell behind 3-2 on a trey by senior guard Bryce Barnes. Junior forward Silas Steiner and senior guard Teron Fairchild doubled the Titans lead, 6-3 with 5:58 in the opening quarter, forcing GCMS head coach Ryan Tomkins to call a timeout.

Following the timeout, a trey by senior forward Caleb Bleich at 4:39 in the quarter, tied the game at 6-all. A foul committed by EPG senior guard Ryne Faulk sent Barnes to the free throw line where he sank one, putting the Falcons up, 7-6. But Titans senior guard Teron Fairchild countered with a trey, giving his team a two-point advantage, 9-7, at the 3:17 mark. Two free throws by Fairchild increased EPG’s lead, 11-7. But the half ended with EPG’s lead reduced to two, 11-9, after Bleich’s jumper with 56 seconds remaining.

Fairchild opened the second quarter for EPG (18-6) with back-to-back baskets – a trey and a deuce to extend his team’s lead, 16-9, at 5:30 left in the quarter. GCMS recovered with a basket from senior guard Connor Birky closing the lead to 16-11. But a Steiner bucket pushed EPG up, 18-11. But EPG junior forward Jack Weber’s foul sent Barnes to the free throw line where he hit both shots, narrowing EPG’s lead to five, 18-13.

EPG (18-6) responded with back-to-back unanswered deuces from senior forward Noah Smith and Faulk, increasing the Titans’ lead to nine, 22-13, prompting GCMS (20-2) to call for a timeout. Following GCMS’ regroup, Barnes hit a deuce with 35 seconds left in the half, but EPG held a 22-15 advantage.

Barnes hit a deuce to open the third quarter, closing EPG’s lead to five, 22-17, but that was brief as EPG added a trey from Fairchild and a deuce from Faulk to go up by 10, 27-17. Freehill hit two deuces to close the gap, reducing EPG’s lead to 27-21, but Fairchild helped push the Titans up again with a deuce, 29-21. When CGMS closed the gap to 29-23, GCMS called time to discuss strategy. After that timeout, Barnes hit a trey with 3:06 left to narrow EPG’s lead to three, 29-26. And from that point on, the contest became defensive in nature with no points scored until the period ended.

But it wasn’t until 6:35 in the fourth quarter when another basket was scored, courtesy of junior forward Jack Weber, putting EPG up, 33-26. A pair of free throws nudged GCMS within five, 33-28 with 6:28 left. A Fairchild free throw at 5:59 put EPG in front by six, 34-28, with 5:59 left.

Barnes hit a deuce to pull GCMS within four, 34-30, with 5:18 left, and that prompted EPG to call a timeout. In fact, once the boys were back on the court after that timeout, head coach Nathaniel Meiss called a second timeout with 4:50 on the clock. After that, Freehill hit his next score, reducing EPG’s lead, 34-30 with 4:44 left. A deuce by EPG’s Smith pushed the Titans further ahead, 36-32. But a deuce by Barnes made it a two-point game, 36-34 with 41.1 seconds left, at which point the Falcons called time.

Once out of the timeout, Barnes fouled an EPG player who missed a lone free throw and the Falcons took another timeout with 41.1 seconds remaining. Once out of the timeout, both defenses were on display until with 15.5 seconds left, Barnes hit a jumper to tie the game and was fouled by EPG’s Steiner in the process. Barnes completed the three-point play, giving GCMS a one-point advantage, 37-36. EPG took two timeouts – right after Barnes’ free throw, and again at 12.8 seconds.

With six seconds left, GCMS senior forward Ryland Holt fouled Steiner, who missed the free throw. EPG’s Weber fouled Holt with 4.5 seconds left, but before Holt to take his free shots, the Titans took a time out. After that, Holt sank one of the two, increasing GCMS’ lead to two, 38-36. The final score was achieved on a rebound shot by Barnes.

“The play we had in the final seconds was that the ball was going to go to Barnes,” explained Tompkins. He added that although the two teams had played a couple weeks ago, EPG gave his kids what they were expecting in terms of play. They’re a tremendous team. It was a battle up at their place two weeks ago and when you have that, you’re always leery to play the same team twice. It was a battle.”

“We had our opportunities, but I’m happy Barnes is graduating,” EPG head coach Nathaniel Meiss said smiling. ”We tried to be really patient offensively toward the end of the third quarter, and that’s something we try to do. I think we defended at a really high level.”