SJO knocks down Annawan for first win at State Farm Classic

Payton Cain stepped up with a team-high 10 points in the St. Joseph-Ogden boys' basketball team's first game at this year's State Farm Holiday Classic basketball tournament.

The Spartans defeated Annawan 47-42 after a strong second half on Thursday, the first day after Christmas.

Five other SJO players contributed offensively to the victory. Ty Pence finished with nine points while seniors Chance Izard and Conner Hodge collected eight points a piece to round out the top four scorers.

Braves' Ryan Goodman led all scorers with 16 points. Julian Samuels kicked in another 15 in the loss.

The Spartans advanced to face Rockford Lutheran in the championship half of the bracket with the hopes of advancing to the championship game on Monday for the first time since 2016.

Box Score
St. Joseph-Ogden 12 12 7 16 - 47
Annawan 11 14 6 11 - 42

St. Joseph-Ogden: Conner Hodge 8, Payton Cain 10, Jordan Kelly 7, Payton Grimsley 5, Chance Izard 8 and Ty Pence 9.

Annawan: Ryan Goodman 16, Austin Earley 6, Mason Matney 2, Josh Sims 3 and Julian Samuels 15.

Ladies post win in State Farm Classic opener

The St. Joseph-Ogden girls basketball team picked up another overtime win this season after a 46-42 decision over Bishop McNamara in their State Farm Holiday Classic opening game on Thursday.

Ashlyn Lannert dropped a season-high 16 points to lead the SJO to their 11th win of the season. Senior Taylor Barnes added another 10 in the team's 14th game this season.

During the extra session, Abby Behrens, who came off the bench to finish with five points, hit three of four free throws the help the Spartans advance in the tournament's championship bracket.

The Fightin' Irish were paced by Caris White with 16 points.

Box Score
St. Joseph-Ogden 5 16 9 12 4 - 46
Bishop McNamara 6 10 15 11 0 - 42

St. Joseph-Ogden: Ashlyn Lannert 16, Payton Jacob 7, Atleigh Hamilton 2, Abby Behrens 5, Taylor Barnes 10, Alyssa Hamilton 4 and Ella Armstrong 2.

Bishop McNamara: Ty Hill 1, Amari Stevenson 11, Caris White 16, Olivia Lorence 5 and Claudia Dolliger 9.

Spartans played their tails off, fall to Maroons after solid first half

For two quarters St. Joseph-Ogden dominated the floor in their road game against Champaign Central.

After holding the host Maroons (5-6) scoreless in the first quarter and forging a 24-18 halftime lead, the Spartans (6-2) fell 43-39 picking up their second consecutive loss in early season play.

Payton Cain gets a high-five from teammate Chance Izard in the first half. (Photo: PhotoNews Medial/Clark Brooks)
"When we got tired we made some mental mistakes," said head coach Kiel Duval in his first comments about the game. "We played our tails off on the defensive end."

SJO led by as many as ten until late in the third period when 6-4 guard Khailieo Terry buried six points and Diego Sanchez drilled a pair of threes to nudge Central past the Spartans by two, 33-31.

"He's a really good player," Duval said the Maroon's marquee player. "Terry takes all you attention every single possession."

After the lousy first quarter Terry said he had to adjust the way he attacked the rim.

"Every time I drove they were looking to take a charge. I just had work around the perimeter a little more," he said. (I had to) get my buckets in transition. (I had to) push them. Make them hurt."

Despite the hurt, playing on fumes, the SJO contingent gave their all. Despite the majority of their shots falling short of the hole in the final quarter, they didn't let up on relentless attacks and slashes into the paint.

Payton Cain and Chance Izard could get in and penetration for otherwise easy shots while Ty Pence had nice open looks from the outside. Unfortunately, whenever the trio put the orange rock up, it missed.

"It seemed like we were short on every single shot," Duval said, sharing his fourth quarter observation.

Short on endurance for games like SJO's non-league game against the Maroons, he was adamant that his team needs to practice a little harder so they can go the distance in four-quarter sprint fests like Tuesday night's contest. "If you practice hard like that all the time, those shots start falling in the fourth quarter."

Conner Hodge nibbled at Central's five-point lead late in the last quarter of the game, narrowing it with a bucket from the paint. Later, Jordan Kelly delivered the team's last field of the game to make the score, 38-37.

With 9.3 left on the game clock, SJO still had an outside chance to at least tie up the game. Unfortunately, a clutch free throw from Reece Jacobson sealed the Maroons program's 1,736th win.

Izard emerged as the team's leading scorer with 15 points for SJO. Pence, who led his team in rebounding with five boards, finished with eight points. Cain also contributed eight points and was perfect from the free throw line make all four of his attempts.

Held scoreless in the first quarter, Central's Terry scored 15 of his 17 total points in the second and third quarters. The junior was credited with nine rebounds in first game back for the Maroons this season after a seven game hiatus.

Sanchez, who had four rebounds for the Maroons, finished with eight second half points, thanks in part to a pair of treys in the third quarter.

Box Score
St. Joseph-Ogden 8 16 7 8 - 39
Champaign Central 0 18 15 10 - 43

St. Joseph-Ogden: Conner Hodge 2, Payton Cain 8, Jordan Kelly 4, Payton Grimsley 2, Chance Izard 15 and Ty Pence 8.

Champaign Central: Terry 17, Jacobson 4, Wagner 6, Marshall 3, Allen 2, Roosevelt 3 and Sanchez 8.

Christmas tree pick-up schedule for St. Joseph set

The Village of St. Joseph offer a community-wide Christmas tree pick-up during a special collection dates starting on January 13 through January 17, 2020.

Village officials ask that all decorations be removed and that trees be protected from the elements until the pick up. Residents must place unwanted trees on the curb and any plastic slip cover used to protect the tree prior to pick up be removed.

SJO girls start State Farm Classic run with 10-3 record

Alyssa Hamilton keeps the ball away from Morton's Olivia Remmert
(PhotoNews Media/Clark Brooks)

Alyssa Hamilton keeps the ball away from Morton's Olivia Remmert while looking for an open teammate to pass the ball. Hamilton and the Spartans, who lost to visiting the Potters, 62-27, head back to the hardwood the day after Christmas to square off against Bishop McNamara in their opening game this year's State Farm Holiday Classic in Bloomington-Normal. Game time is slated for 8pm at Normal Community High School.

Should SJO prevail, the ladies will play less than 24 hours later at 5:30pm at Bloomington High School. A loss will move them into consolation bracket to face the loser of the contest between Normal U-High and Rockford Lutheran.

St. Joseph-Ogden heads into the annual holiday tournament with a record of 10-3 after picking up a pair of home court wins after the loss to last year's Class 3A state champions. The Spartans slipped by Paxton-Buckley-Loda 58-47, and then pounded the Urbana Tigers, 58-40.

See more photos from St. Joseph-Ogden's home game against Morton here: SJO vs Morton photo gallery.

"You just have to have fun with it", SJO basketball fall at home

The undefeated Morton girls basketball team had plenty of hype preceding their visit to St. Joseph-Ogden back on December 14.

The Potters, starting four juniors and a sophomore from last season's state title team, entered the game with an impressive 8-0 record and it was clear after the first four and half minutes of their game against the Spartans why.

Ella Armstrong looks for a step toward the paint in SJO's home game against Morton.
Ella Armstrong looks for a step toward the paint in SJO's home game against Morton. The Potters held the sophomore guard scoreless for 32 minutes. (PhotoNews Media/Clark Brooks)     .:: Buy this photo ::.

Morton jumped out to a quick 14-0 lead and held it until SJO's Ashlyn Lannert found net giving her team the narrowest margin all night in the scoring gap between the #1 Class 3A team in the state with a little more than three minutes left in the first quarter. The Potters then used the next two quarters to steamroll their way to a 62-27 non-conference win.

"Games like this; going into it, you know, you just have to have fun with it," said Lannert, who led her team's scoring effort with 10 points. "They're 3A state champs. You just have to have a good attitude going into it and have a good time playing with everyone."

By the end of the first quarter the Spartans trailed by 22-9 thanks largely to shooting from Morton's aggressive defense in the form of anticipating passing lanes and swooping in to create turnovers on SJO possessions. Perimeter shooting and making 14 of their 15 first half free throw attempts stretched the Potters' lead to 25 at the half.

"That's definitely what we strive to be as a team," said Lannert, who was impressed by how tight Morton played as a team. "We'll get there some day. We're all really young and we all just need to keep working hard."

Spartan Taylor Wells takes a shot
Sophomore Taylor Wells goes up for a shot in the first half against the Potters. She finished the loss with six points for the SJO. (PhotoNews Media/Clark Brooks)     .:: Buy this photo ::.
In Morton's two games leading up to the clash in The Joe, the Potters iced the previous three opponents by 35 or more points. The Potters beat Canton 65-30 on the road at the beginning of December and crushed Pontiac at home by way of a 40-point advantage four days later, 75-35. After a three-day break, they pummeled nearby Pekin on their home court, 62-20.

You can't be the best if you don't play the best and that's why the Spartans schedule games against a program like Morton who has won the four out of the last five Class 3A state titles.

"We want to get that level at some point, too," said SJO head coach Kevin Taylor. "They have very few weaknesses if any at all. We competed the best we could and gave it our best shot."

He added: "We want to play them because that how we want to be down the road.

In addition to Lannert's team-high score, Taylor Wells came off the bench to contribute six points and Alyssa Hamilton added another four round out SJO's top three scorers.

Thanks to extremely well-discipline play, the Potters allowed just SJO just three free throw attempts. Wells missed on her only trip to the line and sophomore Abby Behrens went 1-and-1 in the fourth quarter.

The Potters had three players in double figures. Courtney Jones led all scorers with 16 points in three quarters. The senior drilled all three of her free throw attempts. Fellow senior Lindsey Dullard finished with 13 points and was 4-for-4 from the line, all in the first half against the Spartans.

Morton junior Raquel Frakes chipped in 11 points and also enjoyed a perfect night from the charity stripe hitting all three of her free throws.

Box Score
St. Joseph-Ogden 9 6 2 10 - 27
Morton 22 20 18 2 - 62

St. Joseph-Ogden: Ashlyn Lannert 10, Taylor Wells 6, Abby Behrens 4, Alyssa Hamilton 5 and Anna Wentzloff 2.

Morton: Griffin 2, Becker 3, Jones 16, Frakes 11, Dearing 9, McCartney 2, Dullard, Krupa 4 and Baughman 2.

To the editor | It was not an easy decision

It was with a heavy heart that I submitted my resignation to the Saint Joseph-Ogden High School Board of Education as head coach of the SJO soccer team. It was not an easy decision but at the end of the day it was best for the student athletes, the school, myself and my family.

I am very thankful to the school administration for giving me the opportunity to coach at such a great school. I truly enjoyed all of my years on the coaching staff. We can be proud of the many great accomplishments, including:

• Four players have been given the opportunity to play in college
• One player received National Player of the Week
• Two players made All Sectional Honorable Mention
• Seven players made All Conference First Team
• Seven players made All Conference Second Team
• Five players made All Conference Honorable Mention
• One player made All Area Second Team
• Ten players made All Area Honorable Mention
• Improved discipline greatly reducing our dissent yellow cards nearly 100%

I was honored in 2018 with the Sectional Coach of the Year award in which I was nominated and voted on by local coaches for the positive impact and development of our players we were making with SJO soccer. Sadly, there are still culture changes that need to take place with the soccer program.

Regardless, I leave this position with tremendous appreciation for both the opportunity and for the experience, but more than anything I value the relationships I have developed with past & current athletes and the many friendships made along the way.

Dan Vogelsang
St. Joseph

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