Sunday, December 30, 2018

Cold day's work


Eric Tetteneger, from Mahomet, applies a band of rubber on a car in a parking lot near the corner of North Second and Warren in downtown st. Joseph on Saturday, December 22. Despite the sub-30s temperature, the eight-year veteran with Safelite methodically applied the weather seal before replacing the vehicle with a new windshield. (Photo: PhotoNews Media/Clark Brooks)



SJO to host 2nd Annual Christie Clinic Shootout

Varsity and junior varsity boys basketball teams from small and large school programs from around the state are lined up to play in this year's Second Annual Christie Clinic Shootout on Saturday.

St. Joseph-Ogden's Jaden Miller tries to prevent a pass by Cissna Park senior Conner Lober during second half action of the SJO-Toyota of Danville Classic championship game on December 21. The Spartans and the Timberwolves, who won this year's title, will be back in action against different opponents at SJO for the 2019 Christie Clinic Shootout on Saturday. (Photo: PhotoNews Media/Clark Brooks)


The event is sponsored by Christie Clinic from Champaign along with Eastbay, an athletic apparel retailer, and Toyota of Danville.

Game action starts at noon with varsity contests held in the main gymnasium at St. Joseph-Ogden High School and JV games played at the Middle School on the southeast side of town.

Twelve teams, including #6 Danville in Class 4A, top-ranked Oswego East, the Galesburg Silver Streaks and the Maroons from Champaign Central, will battle for bragging rights on the first weekend in 2019.

The small school programs taking part in the event include #1 Associated Press ranked Cissna Park. The Timberwolves, who won the SJO Toyota of Danville Classic title less than two weeks ago, will be back in action at St. Joseph-Ogden for a second time this season facing the rising 2A talent from Monticello, one of two teams representing the Illini Prairie Conference.

The host Spartans will take the floor against Pleasant Plains in the nightcap starting at approximately 7:30p.

After each game a Player-of-the-Game recognized with a trophy presentation after each of the six varsity games. The award is sponsored by the St. Joseph Chamber of Commerce.

Fans, family and friends can follow the Shootout on Twitter @sjosports and use the tag #sjoshootout to share photos and comments from the event.

Admission is $5. Wristbands will be good for the entire day at both both locations. Season passes will not be honored for this event. Concession will be available in the school cafeteria for spectators.

Can't make it to the game? All six games will be broadcasted on WPXN 104.9 FM. The contest between Danville and Galesburg will also be available on the air through WGIL 97.7 and 1400 AM in Galesburg.

2019 Christie Clinic Shootout Schedule

12:00 PM - WATSEKA vs. MT. PULASKI
1:30 PM - DECATUR MACARTHUR vs. DANVILLE
3:00 PM - MONTICELLO vs. CISSNA PARK
4:30 PM - ALTHOFF CATHOLIC vs. CHAMPAIGN CENTRAL
6:00 PM - OSWEGO EAST vs. NORMAL COMMUNITY
7:30 PM - PLEASANT PLAINS vs. ST. JOSEPH-OGDEN

Maps to the tournament locations, game results along with team rosters and photos can be found on the official Christie Clinic Shootout site at http://www.sjo.k12.il.us/news/2019-christie-clinic-shootout.


Saturday, December 29, 2018

Spartans win consolation title at State Farm Classic

The St. Joseph-Ogden boys basketball team used a 10-point second quarter lead to say farewell to 2018 with a three-game win streak after crushing Bishop McNamara in the State Farm Classic consolation bracket championship contest on Friday evening, 61-52.

SJO closed out this year's tournament appearance winning three of their last four games and with a much needed confidence boost heading into the 2019 half of the season.

Coming off a 29-point performance hours earlier in his team's semifinal win over Winnebago, the Spartans were once again led by senior Jack Cook, who was 5-for-8 from the charity stripe and finished the game with 22 points.

Cook averaged 23.5 points per game tallying 94 points in SJO's four post-Christmas games. Over the three-day event he made 23 of his 30 free throw attempts.

The Fightin' Irish didn't take chance with putting Chance Izard, SJO's most prolific free throw shooter, on the line. However, the junior found his sweet spot on the floor hitting 3 three-pointers on his way to his third 13-point finish and led the Spartans in converting foul shots (7-8) to points during the State Farm Classic 87.5% of the time.

Senior Joel Orcutt also scored 11 points against McNamara and finished the tournament with a total of 49 points. He missed just two of his nine free throws attempt in four games.

The Spartans also enjoyed a stellar night from Payton Grimsley, who stepped up in the finale delivering 11 points courtesy of 3 treys and a pair of free throws.

McNamara was paced by Payton Gerberding with 16 points and Broghan O'Connor, who dropped 14 through the hole.

Spartan fans will have to wait until Saturday, January 5, to see their team in action again. SJO (10-6) will take the floor against Pleasant Plains at 8:30 during the Christie Clinic Shootout hosted at the high school.

Shootout action starts at noon with the Monticello Sages taking on the Watseka Warriors from the Sangamon Valley Conference.


Friday, December 28, 2018

Maclayne Taylor's buzzer beater advances SJO at State Farm Classic

A lot coaches stress how you finish is all that matters.

That turned out to be the case yesterday at the conclusion of the St. Joseph-Ogden girls basketball game against the Lady Panthers of Central-Southeastern (CSE), a coop between Central and Southeastern high school from west-central Illinois.

With less than 4 seconds left on the clock, Maclayne Taylor scooped up an inbound pass from Bree Trimble inside the free throw circle and took the last shot of the game. The ball bounced off the glass and through the rim as the buzzer sounded to give SJO a 51-50 overtime victory at the State Farm Classic on Thursday.

Four of Taylor's 6 points in the game were made in the extra quarter at Bloomington High School.

"I didn't know if we would get the ball back," said Spartan head coach Kevin Taylor as he witness CSE's Leah Turner tipped the ball away from his Maclayne, who is also his daughter. "It was a big relief when it went in."

Earlier in the game, the Spartans fought hard to finish the half with a one-point lead after a two-point deficit at the end of the opening quarter. By the end of the third quarter, SJO led 34-27. The 7-point lead would soon be erased and the two teams traded blows like championship UFC fighters to a draw at the end of regulation time.

"They are a well-discipline, well-coach team," Coach Taylor said praising Matt Long, the opposing coach with nearly 500 wins to his credit, and his team. "They ran good plays and good sets. They are well-organized."

In overtime, neither team could gain a clear advantage. CSE, the #8 seed, led 50-49 with less than 4 seconds to play. Taylor's quick reaction to recover the ball and put it in the air was the perfect finish.

"I hope the fire and momentum keeps going," said Coach Taylor. The Spartans advance to a semifinal showdown against Illini Prairie Conference foe Bloomington Central Catholic late this afternoon. "It doesn't get any easier."

SJO will also face the Saints again in league play in their final home contest of the season. That game will likely be for the IPC title. Meanwhile, the winner of today's contest will play for the small school title on Saturday. The loser will have a shot at third-place honors.

SJO's offensive effort was led by senior Peyton Crowe with 14 points. Trimble, who was scoreless in the first quarter, finished the game with 13 points. Hannah Dukeman rounded out the Spartans top three scorers with 8 points. Sophomore starter Payton Vallee matched Taylor with 6 points.

The Lady Panthers were led by Laney Lantz and her game-high 27 points. Alivia Lantz added another 11 points and Leah Turner chipped in 6 more.

CSE moves to the consolation bracket to face Rock Falls.


Thursday, December 27, 2018

SJO boys bounce back at holiday tournament

After suffering a three-point loss the day before, the St. Joseph-Ogden boys basketball team bounce back to win their first bout in the consolation bracket at the State Farm Classic on Thursday. SJO defeated Peoria Lutheran 61-53 thanks to double digit production from three key players.

Jack Cook delivered another team-high performance with 16 points. Chance Izard and Joel Orcutt matched scores for a second straight day with 13 points each. Keanen Swansen added another 9 to round out the top three scorers. Payton Cain and Brayden Weaver came off the bench to chip in 8 and 2 points, respectively.

Izard was stellar from the line draining all four attempts.

The Crusaders were led by Gabe Meister with a game-high 18 points and Braden Tilson with 10. Tilson and teammate Josh Grindinger shot 100% from the free throw line. Tilson was 6-for-6, while Grindinger hit 2-for-2 in Friday's quarterfinal.

The Spartans advance to face Winnebago in the consolation semifinal on Friday at 2 p.m..




SJO sets State Farm Classic record

The St. Joseph-Ogden ladies made a stunning debut in their opening contest at this year's State Farm Classic basketball tournament. The #1 seed held Peoria Christian to just 10 points, not for just one quarter, but the entire game in a dominating 80-10 victory.

The win was the seventh best score, now tied with Rock Island from a game in 2016, recorded in the tournament's 40 year history.

"I think our team came out with energy and everyone was exited to start the tournament out in a positive way," said Spartan head coach Kevin Taylor. "I hope we care that energy over for our next game where we will see a very good team."

SJO took command early outscoring the Chargers 23-5 in the first quarter. They dialed up the pressure in the second to take a 41-point lead at the half.

Allowing Christian just 3 points total in the second half and buoyed by bench players, the Spartans added another 39 points to scoreboard. Ten of Taylor's 11 players contributed in the drubbing.

Bree Trimble led SJO with a game-high 21 points and was followed freshman Payton Jacob, who came off the bench to add 10 points. Parkland College recruit Peyton Crowe and junior Katie Cramer scored 8 points. Erin Miller, who was 2-2 from the free throw line, along with Taylor Barnes, Maclayne Taylor and Hannah Dukeman contributed 6 points each. Dukeman also shot 100% from the charity stripe.

The victory set a new tournament record making it the largest winning margin (70) in a girls game.

The Chargers, who fall to 0-13 on the season, were led in scoring by junior Tiffany Mallow with 5 points. Lydia Keehner finished with 4 points and Kaitlyn Johnson made one of two free throws to round out their team's scoring effort.

The Spartans advance to face Laney Lantz and Camp Point Central/Augusta SE on the championship side of the bracket. Lantz scored 21 point in their tournament opener against Oakwood. Tipoff is schedule for 4pm today at Bloomington High School

Wednesday, December 26, 2018

Last day to sign up for youth basketball program is Saturday

The St. Joseph Youth Basketball Program will be holding its final day of registration at St. Joseph Middle School this Saturday from 9 to 10:30 a.m.. The program is open to both male and female players.

Students in grades one through six enrolled in the St. Joseph Grade School District or the Prairieview-Ogden School District are eligible to sign up.

"I hope that they enjoy playing basketball and continue to work hard," said program director Larry Sparks. "I hope they have fun and like the experience that sports give them as they get older."

The 10-week Saturday program starts on January 12th and ends on March 16th. Student athletes will practice basketball fundamentals the first four weeks and then team up to play games for the final six sessions.

The cost is $40 and there will be a $5 late fee for any athlete registered after December 31. Deadline for late registration is January 12.

For more information contact Larry Sparks at (217) 202-5858.

SJO boys drop first game at State Farm basketball tournament

Senior Jack Cook's 27 points wasn't enough to keep the St. Joseph-Ogden's boys from suffering a heartbreaking 64-61 defeat to Rockford Lutheran at the State Farm Classic on Wednesday.

Chance Izard and Joel Orcutt each finished with 13 points. Keanen Swanson chipped in another six points and Brayden Weaver, who was 2-4 from the free throw line, was the only other Spartan to contribute with 6 points.



St. Joseph-Ogden's Jack Cook goes up for a shot around Westville's Brady Crain during the 2016 Leader Classic holiday basketball tournament. Cook led the Spartans with 27 points in the team's 2018 State Farm Classic tournament opener against Rockford Lutheran. (Photo: PhotoNews Media/Clark Brooks)


The Crusaders were lead by Eric Nystrom with 27 points and Brock Guse with 15.

SJO moves to the consolation side of the bracket to face Peoria Christian at Normal West on Thursday.

Tuesday, December 25, 2018

1st annual Santa HO HO HO 5k Fun Run/Walk a success

On the way home from a marathon/half marathon race in Indianapolis, Max Painter and members of his running group lamented how the event was the last race they would run in 2018.

During the discussion fellow runner Brenda Hixon suggested the possibility of taking another road trip. Maybe to Chicago or running in Indy again at either city's Santa Hustle. The group of avid runner decided they would indeed run one more race before the end of the year.

However, the next morning Painter, a veteran who started running while serving in the Army, woke up with a better idea.

"Why don't we just do that here?"

Painter presented the idea to the group and it was a hit.

Combining efforts Hixon and Painter created the 1st Annual St. Joe Santa HO HO HO 5k Fun Run.


Runners start their run during the Ho Ho Ho 5k on Saturday. Over 300 runners took part in what may become an annual event in St. Joseph. (Photo: PhotoNews Media/Clark Brooks)


As they planned the event, they expected, at best, a modest turn out of maybe 50 to 100 Santa-ly cladded runners making their way through the streets of St. Joseph. To their surprise and delight, registrations started rolling in and the field of runners and walkers quickly rose over 200.

"It exploded into this," Painter said while scanning the finish line as runners and walkers crossed the finish line to receive their medals from Mayor Tami Fruhling-Voges and other finish line volunteers. "We love it."

And by this, Painter meant the 325 participants and nearly that number of spectators, family members and well-wishers along the 5k course on Saturday.


Gregory Poe give two thumbs up as he crosses the finish line. (Photo: PhotoNews Media/Clark Brooks)


The near freezing temperatures did not keep runners away.

"It wasn't too cold out there once you got running," said Dwayne Schlabach, who started running to stay in shape.

For Peyton Wendell the race one more opportunity to put on his holiday best, a royal blue two-pieces Christmas suit.

"My aunt bought it for me last year. I wore to school a few times and I thought this would a great time to wear it one last time," he said. "It (the run) was really fun. There were a whole bunch of people out there cheering for you."

Rhonda Littlefield, who crossed the finish line capturing her finish with her smartphone, enjoyed the race.

"I wanted to support the community and do something fun," she said echoing the sentiments of other runners as the sun peeked from behind the clouds through the crisp December air. "I didn't fall down and hurt an ankle so it's a great day. It was a lot of fun!"

Coming off a recent injury that limited his running, Gregory Poe was happy to be able to run and spend quality time with his two sons, Nick and Eric.

"I haven't been able to run for a while," he said. "I really enjoyed it and had a great time."

Hidden behind sunglasses and her Santa beard, Sara Meyer said she also enjoyed the atmosphere and holiday cheer along the course.


Sara Meyer poses for a photo with The Grinch after running in the Ho Ho Ho 5K. (Photo: PhotoNews Media/Clark Brooks)


"I'm use to competing in more competitive races," she said before heading over to have her picture taken with someone dressed in Grinch costume. "It was something fun to do today and a great day for it."

Former St. Joseph-Ogden high school running star Chelsea Blaase was the first competitor and female runner to cross the finish line. Brandon Mattsey was the first male runner in and Kendrick Johnson was the first runner in the youth division to finish the inaugural race.


Wednesday, December 19, 2018

IHSA to start football district format in 2021

Earlier this week, 324 members of the Illinois High School Association voted "yes" for Proposal 23 granting the IHSA the authority to implement a football scheduling system for regular-season varsity games. Three hundred and seven members voted against the measure and 69 school representatives entered "no opinion" on the measure. 118 schools abstained from the vote.

The new system will eliminate the instability caused by conference members moving to softer alignments to get the five wins needed to make the playoffs. It also will address the hush-hush practice of opponent ducking and conference blacklisting.

All of this means starting in the fall of 2021 (or perhaps sooner) coaches will know which of the eight playoff classification their program will compete before the start of their 9-week regular season.


Spartan's Cole Berry makes a catch in the end zone for his team in the first half against Erie-Prophetstown. The Spartans won 48-34 in their Class 3A first-round playoff game on November 1, 2014. Under the new district format starting 2021, SJO will have to finish in the top four to advance to the postseason. (Photo: PhotoNews Media/Clark Brooks)


Varsity teams from each class will be placed into groups of eight- or nine-teams districts by the IHSA, based on enrollment and geographical location, to play a round-robin schedule set each year by the association. The districts will be set for two years.

Each member school can play the team(s) of their choice on open dates which would be non-district games and do not count toward qualifying for the playoffs. The IHSA didn't announce which weeks on the schedule would be used for non-district games but those will likely occur at the beginning of the season.

The top 4 teams from each of the 8 districts will qualify for the playoffs based on their record.

"I was surprised it passed," said former St. Joseph-Ogden head football coach and athletic director Dick Duval. In 2009 and 2014 similar proposals were put up for vote and was not ratified. "I thought there was no way it would pass."

Justin Franzen, the current AD at SJO, had a feeling the members schools would finally vote in favor of districting.

"It started gaining steam a month or two ago. I thought the vote would be close."

Franzen thinks that the programs St. Joseph-Ogden will face under the district system on the gridiron won't vary much. Monticello, possibly Unity, and Bloomington Central Catholic, because of the success factor, would likely remain on the schedule.

"I think we are in the waiting game right now," said Franzen. "It is hard to speculate where we would play. It will be interesting."

Spartan head football coach Shawn Skinner sees a several positives as well as problems with the change coming to varsity football in Illinois.

"I'm looking forward to the potential it brings," he said. "(Having) one or two games to play to prepare for the "real" has the potential to be interesting."

Since schedules for other sports revolved around football conference alliances, the shift to football districts may encourage athletic directors and coaches to play teams closer teams closer to home.

"I like it. I think it will be good for us," added Duval, who actively volunteers his time to assist with the school's athletic program. Overall, he believes the move will cut overall travel budgets over time. "It will be better for all the sports. We can play local schools again."

For the next two years St. Joseph-Ogden's official IHSA enrollment is 467.5. Until the association announces geographical boundaries and enrollment breaks for each classification, it is a guessing game on who will share the same district with SJO.

Here's a list of possible schools the Spartans could square off against 2021 under the new scheduling format with similar enrollments with 50 more or less in close proximity to SJO.

Riverton (413.5) 1.5 hr drive
Pleasant Plains (421.5) 2 hours
Vandalia (426) 2 hour
Farmington (429) 2 hour
Beardstown (434) 2.5 hour drive
Robinson (453) 2 hour
Newton (458.5) 1.5 hr drive
Wilmington (465.5) 2 hour
Williamsville (467) 1.5 hr drive
Paxton-Buckley-Loda (472) 37 min
Reed-Custer (474) 1.5 hr drive
Mt. Carmel (488.5) 2.5 hour
Monticello (511) 36 min
Peotone (511.5) 1.5 hr drive
Monmouth-Roseville (522.5) 2.5 hours

Moving to a district format is not without its challenges and uncertainties.

"I think that it doesn't really address many of the issues the IHSA and football have," said Skinner, who is not sure the new format will have significant effect on SJO's path into the playoffs since enrollment for the school is relatively stable at this point. "I'm not impressed that we have no idea who is in our district, and my understanding is that we won't know until December of 2020 what our 7 or 8 district games will be."

The new scheduling system threaten traditional rivalries around the state. Unity, for example, may not be on the Spartans regular season schedule under the new system due to their increase in enrollment, which is now at 550. The Rockets could possibly move up to the 4A classification and see more travel if the school district continues to grow. A St. Joe-Unity game would be a non-district contest with no baring on whether either team makes the playoffs or not.

Other factors could also influence a district make up from year to year. School's may elect to drop football altogether, form or dissolve co-ops or make the switch to the growing 8-man football association not governed by the IHSA. Those changes could make district alignments just as unstable as the conference system.

"We also have no solution in place for if cooperatives disband or merge," Skinner said. "We also have no recourse for teams leaving to play 8 man football."


Tuesday, December 18, 2018

Spartans step it up in second half to topple Sabers in conference opener

Early on, it looked like it was going to be a runaway game and an easy victory for the St. Joseph-Ogden girls' basketball team in their conference opener at St. Thomas More on Monday.

The 11-1 Spartans made all the right moves building an 11 point lead, the largest of the game by either team, when the contest reached the midpoint in the first quarter.


Senior Bree Trimble makes a pass during second half action in St. Joseph-Ogden's road game at St. Thomas More. Trimble finished the night with 17 points in the first Illini Prairie Conference contest of the season. (Photo: PhotoNews Media/Clark Brooks)



SJO, moving the ball well around the perimeter forcing open looks, was fully in control on their way to their 58-43 victory over the Sabers.

Finishing the quarter with 11 points, the table soon turned and STM's giant awoke.

The Sabers stepped up their defensive game creating scoring opportunities for senior NaKaya Hughes to put the ball in the hoop. Hughes' effort, five second quarter field goals and a free throw, erased their early deficit in a palatable momentum shift. The STM starter finished the night with 27 points.

"We came out a little slow and didn't expect them to do what they did," said Peyton Crowe. The senior led the Spartans with 19 points and was perfect 5-for-5 from the free throw line. "In the second half, we kicked it into gear and played better defense."

Spartan head coach Kevin Taylor praised his opponent's effort in the second quarter when his team's focus seemingly wavered.

"I have to give St. Thomas More a lot of credit," Taylor said. "They came out with energy, which I think we lacked at the start of the game."

With 52 seconds left in the half and STM two points away from taking the lead at the half, senior Bree Trimble, a veteran starter and the team's scoring leader this season, wasn't worried.

"I knew it wasn't our half. I knew in the second half we would be okay," said Trimble, who went on to add 7 second half points to the 10 she delivered in the first to finish with 17 total. "I knew someone would be able to pick us all up and get something going."

Back in the locker room during halftime, Taylor made tactical adjustments and told his team they needed to concentrate on playing more aggressively.

"Just get out there, focus and play harder," he told the team before the second half.

Fortunately in the fourth quarter, after St. Thomas took the lead battling tooth and nail to keep it throughout the third, Taylor's words became action.

Offensively, the Spartans scored seven unanswered points pulling ahead 44-37 at the start of the period before the Sabers' next bucket. They then went on a 10-point run to put the game out of reach late in the final quarter.

Nearly half Crowe's scoring production came in the second half. She thanked her teammates for helping her attack the paint.

"They were setting screens making it a lot easier to cut," she said. "Whenever I saw the open lane I went in."

The SJO defensive effort allowed just three STM field goals in the final quarter.

"In the second half we had some fire," Trimble beamed. "We stepped it up and played a lot better."

Next up, before playing in the annual State Farm Classic Basketball Tournament after Christmas, the 12-1 Spartans will travel to Morton on Saturday to face a 3A program that has won three state titles and suffered just 10 losses in the past four years coming into current season.


Friday, December 14, 2018

Spartans notch first win at SJO Toyota of Danville Classic

St. Joseph-Ogden won and it wasn't pretty.

The Spartans dominated the first half of their SJO Toyota of Danville Classic opener against Chicago Longwood galloping to a 17 point lead at the half against in their game on Friday night. The Panthers clawed their way back to get with in six points in the second half, but could not put the brakes on the Spartans, who picked up their third W of the season with a 72-64 win.


Sailing past Longwood's Amari Jordan, St. Joseph-Ogden's Jack Cook goes up for a shot in the first half of their SJO Toyota of Danville Classic basketball game on Friday. Cook, who hit 5 of his 6 free throw attempts, lead all scorers with 33 points. (Photo: PhotoNews Media/Clark Brooks)



Entering their annual tournament at just 2-4, the victory was a confidence booster for the SJO basketball team who have the talent and depth, but are off to a ragged start this season.

"We did some good things in the first half," said head coach Kiel Duval praising his team's effort early in the game. "In the second half we struggled a little bit, turned the ball over and we didn't rebound at all."

He pointed out that his guards are learning to grow into their role on the court. Duval and every player on the roster know they have a lot to work on before postseason play in February. Rebounding and doing it aggressively will be a priority on the SJO's to-do list.

"We've got to learn to finish well," explained Duval, now seven games into his head coaching career. "We didn't screen out and gave them (Longwood) extra opportunities. We gave them too many extra possessions."

Spartan senior Jack Cook led the way in scoring for his team with 33 points. The game-high performance was 5 points shy of his career-high 38 points against Heritage last season.

From his perspective, the victory was a confidence booster and one step toward the team's goal of getting their record out of the red.

"This is a big win for us. We are trying to get above .500 by the end of the tournament," Cook said. "It's a big come back (for us) after playing so bad last week."

Cook scored on five of six attempts from the charity stripe.

SJO also received double digit scoring from two other seniors. After a silent second quarter, Joel Orcutt scored 12 of his 18 points in the second half. Keanen Swanson chipped in 10 points.

Longwood also had three players in double figures. Damari Fonza scored a team-high 19 points for the Panthers. Senior Nurell Lacey added 15 points and Marshawn Holliday rounded out top three scorers with 10 points.

Both teams will play two tournament games on Saturday.

Longwood will face Armstrong-Potomac at 10am and finish out their day going head-to-head with the Timberwolves of Cissna Park at 4pm.

Meanwhile, the Spartans Saturday SJO Toyota of Danville Classic campaign starts at 1pm against the Oakwood Comets and will conclude in showdown against Schlarman.

New name, holiday basketball tradition continues at St. Joseph-Ogden High School

The annual Leader Classic basketball tournament was the brainchild of newspaper publisher Scott Hunter, who published the The Ogden Leader and the efforts of St. Joseph-Ogden High School athletic director Dale Doehring 30 years ago. This year, with the folding of Hunter's publication under the ownership of the The News-Gazette, a Danville automotive dealer has stepped up to keep the holiday tournament tradition uninterrupted.


Jordan Brooks steps up to accept his All-Tournament award after the Leader Classic title game on Wednesday, December 21, 2016. Brooks drained 18 points, 12 from 4 three-pointers in the title game to lead St. Joseph-Ogden over Olympia, 84-71. With the loss of the title sponsor, the tournament has a new name and sponsor thanks to Toyota of Danville. (Photo: PhotoNews Media/Clark Brooks)


Now called the SJO Toyota of Danville Classic, the event will continue on for the foreseeable future hosted on the home court of the 2016 boys IHSA Class 2A champions.

The Spartan basketball program opens tournament play tonight with first-year head coach and alumnus Kiel Duval against CICS Longwood from Chicago, who became part of the regular tournament line up in 2014. SJO has won 18 of the 30 tournament titles and are one of favorites along with the state-ranked Timberwolves from Cissna Park.

Below is this year's tournament schedule.


SJO Toyota of Danville Classic Schedule

Thursday, Dec. 13
Game 1: Cissna Park vs. Armstrong-Potomac, 6 p.m.
Game 2: Schlarman vs. Oakwood, 7:30 p.m.


Friday, Dec. 14
Game 3: St. Joseph-Ogden vs. Chicago CICS Longwood, 7 p.m.


Saturday, Dec. 15
Game 4: Armstrong-Potomac vs. Chicago CICS Longwood, 10 a.m.
Game 5: Cissn Park vs. Schlarman, 11:30 a.m.
Game 6: St. Joseph-Ogden vs. Oakwood, 1 p.m.
Game 7: Chicago CICS Longwood vs. Cissna Park, 4 p.m.
Game 8: Oakwood vs. Armstrong-Potomac, 5:30 p.m.
Game 9: Schlarman vs. St. Joseph-Ogden, 7 p.m.


Tuesday, Dec. 18
Game 10: Cissna Park vs. Oakwood, 5 p.m.
Game 11: Schlarman vs. Chicago CICS Longwood, 6:30 p.m.
Game 12: St. Joseph-Ogden vs. Armstrong-Potomac, 8 p.m.


Friday, Dec. 21
Game 13: Armstrong-Potomac vs. Schlarman, 5 p.m.
Game 14: Chicago CICS Longwood vs. Oakwood, 6:30 p.m.
Game 15: St. Joseph-Ogden vs. Cissna Park, 8 p.m.

Top Stories This Month