State Farm Classic opponents named for both state-ranked SJO basketball squads

Earlier today, organizers for the annual State Farm Holiday Classic have released the brackets for this year's tournament. The 42nd installment, which includes both the St. Joseph-Ogden girls and boys teams, will be played on four days starting December 27 and ending on December 30 this year. The 64-team event will be hosted at four different venues in Bloomington-Normal.

St. Joseph-Ogden's Ella Armstrong

Ella Armstrong goes up for a second half shot around Centennial's Avery Loschen last month. Armstrong and the Spartans will open their State Farm Holiday Classic title run against Normal U-High on December 27.
Photo: PhotoNews Media/Clark Brooks

The currently undefeated St. Joseph-Ogden boys basketball team is the #2 seed. The Spartans open tournament play at 10:30a against #15-seeded Vikings from Tri-Valley. The small school boys game will be played at Normal West High School.

SJO will face the winner (or loser) of the following scheduled game between Quincy Notre Dame and Rock Falls. Sacred Heart-Griffin earned the nod for the #1 seed.

There are six state-ranked teams included in the small school division field of competition. Along with SJO at #10 in Class 2A, there is #4 Springfield Sacred Heart-Griffin (2A), #9 Aurora Christian (1A), #19 Rockford Lutheran (2A), #22 East Dubuque (1A), and El Paso-Gridley at #24 in Class 2A.

First-year head coach Drew Arteaga and the Spartan girls' program will tip-off against Normal University High School. Backed by a strong senior class and deep bench, SJO earned a #4 seed in this year's tournament. The team will face the winner (or loser) between the next game at Normal Community between Annawan and Rockford Lutheran in the quarterfinals.

With the Class 2A state-ranked at #14, the SJO girls' team will play 1:30p on Day 1. Spartan fans will be able to comfortably catch both opening-round games on Monday.

Other state-ranked teams in the small school girls bracket include two #1 teams, Brimfield in 1A and Winnebago ranked as the top team in the state in Class 2A. #3-ranked Paris in 2A.