Regional Champs Set To Battle
Top four teams from ABV 1A Rankings make it to the sectionals
Two seeding favorites and two up-setters are still alive in the postseason heading into the Gallatin County 1A Sectional this week.

Both Sesser-Valier and Woodlawn advanced after being the top two seeds in Sub-Sectional A while both Gallatin County and Cairo managed to grab regional titles on Friday night.

Sesser-Valier needed double-overtime to oust Steeleville, 62-59, at home to advance for the second straight season into the sectional round.

Woodlawn took no prisoners in their decimation of Thompsonville at Wayne City, a game in which they never trailed.

Gallatin County topped longtime rival Hardin County on the Cougars home court, 64-52, to win their second regional crown in three years.

And Cairo derailed the hopes of Goreville to make a return trip to Peoria by beating the Blackcats, 74-71.

The Pilots won their second consecutive regional title.

The two highest ranked teams in the ABV Rankings for this sectional complex are Sesser-Valier and Woodlawn and they could meet on Friday night for the sectional championship.

Like the Gallatin County Sectional on the other side of the bracket heading to SIU, the top-two seeds in the Sub-Sectional A made it to the sectional in pretty easy fashion.

At the 1A Altamont Sectional, both ABV top-ranked Central A&M and second-ranked Nokomis rolled past teams to win their respective regionals last week.

These two combatants played in the sectional title game last March at Central A&M and it will take a major upset to keep that rematch from happening this coming Friday.

The Odin Eagles won their first ever regional championship on Friday night on their home floor while St. Elmo-Brownstown edged rival Altamont at home to eliminate the Indians from contention.

The Sesser-Valier Red Devils are sitting at 24-6 after the Steeleville win and they will need to be even better this week if they want to make another trip to SIU Arena.

Sesser-Valier has been to the supersectional at Carbondale once, winning the 2014 super on their way to a fourth place finish at state.

They also won 1A supersectional title at Salem in 2010 as they finished in second place at the state that year.

The one common part of this postseason and the previous runs to Carver Arena is that they will likely have to face Woodlawn again.

The Red Devils have had the Cardinals' number in the most recent state tournament games between the two, sporting a 4-0 record “head-to-head” with three regional title wins and the aforementioned supersectional victory at Salem.

Last season Sesser-Valier rallied to beat Woodlawn to win the Zeigler-Royalton Regional in overtime and this season the two teams played another close contest at Woodlawn with the Red Devils also coming out on top, 38-36 in overtime on a basket by 6-foot-2 senior guard Tyler Winchester in the final seconds.

Winchester is the top scorer for head coach Shane Garner at S-V, averaging 20.4 points a game.

The rest of the offensive production is balanced as five other Red Devils are over five-points a contest.

Senior Seth Boles is at 7.4 points a game on average while junior guard Peyton Bates adds almost seven a night.

Senior Eli Gunter (6.7 p.p.g.), junior Logan Kirk (6.1 p.p.g.) and sophomore Garrett Gunter (5.4 p.p.g.) provide support for a balanced attack.

The Red Devils won their own holiday tournament this season by beating Marissa/Coulterville in the finale.

They also have wins over 2A regional champ West Frankfort along with 2A Carlyle and 1A teams of note Thompsonville, Mounds Meridian and Woodlawn.

The losses are all to top-shelf teams; 2A regional champions Fairfield and Pinckneyville and 2A regional runner-up Chester (twice), 3A Benton and 1A Okawville, who also won a regional Friday night.

Woodlawn will enter the sectional at 25-5 coming off of a 58-40 win over Thompsonville to nab the 1A Wayne City Regional title.

Jumping out to a 12-0 lead, the Cardinals were never threatened in beating the AP state-ranked Tigers.

Woodlawn got 27-points from junior guard Blake McKay in the win as the three-year starter has averaged 20.6 points a night for 2018-19.

Six-foot-three senior forward Jake Martin provides “punch in the paint” for Woodlawn as he is right at 12 points an outing.

His 14-points and 14-rebounds were key in the regional title win.

Juniors Chase Hollenkamp and Race Rynski are both 6-foot-2 guard/forward types.

Both are right around five points a game while sophomore Jackson Tiemann, a 5-foot-10 guard, has really stepped up for Coach Brian Gamber's club with the absence of senior Jackson Bennett.

Bennett injured his knee in a game against Herrin and was lost for the season.

Senior Aaron Spangler is also an important piece of the framework for what has been a very successful season so far.

Sophomores Hunter and Hayden England provide support minutes.

Woodlawn has some significant wins on the resume with triumphs over 2A teams Hillsboro and Carlyle along with a 3A win over Freeburg.

Other wins of note include Metro-East Lutheran on the road and Thompsonville (2).
They also played both 3A Herrin and 2A Teutopolis tough before losing both of those games on the road.

The other losses came against 2A Pinckneyville, 1A Marissa/Coulterville and Sesser-Valier.

Gallatin County and head coach Jeff Herrmann, in his first season leading the Hawks, went through some tough stretches during the season but all is well right now at “The Junction.”

The Hawks rallied for a win in their regional opener against Joppa and then defeated both Mounds Meridian and the host Cougars to keep the postseason going.

Audie Goebel leads these Hawks in most categories, as he is the leading point scorer for the teams here this week.

The 6-foot forward, who tends to play much taller than that, leads Gallatin County with 23.7 points a night while leading the team with seven rebounds on average.

Senior running mate Robbie Prince, a 5-foot-9 guard, adds to the totals with 11.3 p.p.g. while 6-foot Dawson Hish cashes in 16.3 points a contest.

Garrett Rushing, a 5-foot-10 senior, is also part of the veteran crew (8.3 p.p.g.).

The season had down moments, including being ousted early from the Eldorado Holiday Tournament and also dropping a couple of battles against Thompsonville in the Greater Egyptian Conference regular season and tournament.

However the two losses to the Tigers are the only defeats since January 5th.

Gallatin County is on a 13-of-15 stretch, including five-consecutive wins to reach this point.

The have wins over 2A Eldorado, 1A Cairo and 1A North Clay and they played 2A Du Quoin and 3A Massac County tough in the early part of the season.

The Cairo Pilots play a very tough independent schedule that takes them on some long bus rides.

However Coach Larry Wood doesn't seem to mind because the hardware in February is all that really matters as this mentor now has a pair of regional titles for the trophy case.

The Pilots have six players who all average over seven points a game, including 15.2 points a contest from freshman Devante Morse, a 6-foot guard.

Morse also grabs 4.3 rebounds a game for the Pilots.

Isaiah Brown, a 5-foot-10 sophomore, is next on the scoring list at 11.8 a night.

Riko Nelson, a 6-foot-2 junior, and 5-foot-7 junior Terrell Jones, are both averaging 9.4 a game.

Dequavius Williams, a 5-foot-9 junior guard (7.6 p.p.g.) and 6-foot-4 sophomore Alton Hervey (6.9 p.p.g./7.1 r.p.g.) make the top six tough to defend.

Cairo is 15-17 but when you look at the schedule of large schools they have played, they are not without a chance to reach Peoria.

They have wins over 3A Massac County, 2A Carmi-White County, 2A Du Quoin, while most of the defeats have come at the hands of larger teams from Kentucky and Missouri along with a couple of losses to 3A Herrin.


For Central A&M and head coach Rob Smith, the sights have been aimed at SIU Arena since they walked off the floor last March a beaten team following a 74-61 loss to Goreville.

The mostly young Raiders have stayed focused all season and enter the sectional at 29-3.

The losses were to 2A Williamsville, and Chicago area large teams Lincoln Way-East and Corliss.

Both of the Chicago losses occurred during the Effingham/Teutopolis Holiday Tournament.

Since the Coliss defeat, the Raiders have rolled to 18-straight victories to get to Altamont.

Coach Smith has a mostly young group that were also pretty good on the gridiron last fall as they were a playoff team in football.

Connor Heaton is a 6-foot-4 junior who has posted some impressive figs in 2018-19.

His 19.7 points and 8.2 rebounds along with dishing the rock at 4.4 assists are prolific numbers.

He is one of those complete player/athletes having led the football squad from his quarterback position.

Six-foot-four junior classmate Griffin Andricks adds 16.6 points a contest for the Raiders while leading the squad with 8.4 rebounds.

Five-foot-ten junior guard Jacob Paradee is next on the scoring parade with 14 p.p.g. along with 4.5 assists.

The Raiders have more size to throw at teams with 6-foot-4 senior Austin Sloan and 6-foot-4 junior Connor Hutchins each adding just under five points a game on offense.

Brycen Burgener, a 6-foot-2 junior, is also part of the equation.

The Raiders won all of their conference games (CIC) including the tournament title while also winning the annual Macon County Tournament.

They have an early season win over 2A regional winner Pana.

They won their two regional games over Okaw Valley and Buffalo-Tri City by a combined 60-points.

Nokomis has produced yet another great season for head coach Steve Kimbro and his 1A power program.

Like they did a year ago, the Redskins are 14-0 against 1A teams, including wins over Arcola and Neoga to win the Neoga Regional title.

The Redskins won both of those games by a combined 49-points.

Nokomis is 27-6 with the six defeats coming against all larger schools, including 3A Taylorville twice, 2A regional winner Alton Marquette, 3A Triad, 3A Granite City and 3A Lincoln.

The wins are many with 14-0 of them against 1A teams and the Redskins are 7-0 against teams from the 2A South Central Conference that they played.

Six-foot-eight junior Carter Sabol averages 17.3 points and 6.2 rebounds heading into the sectional.

He scored 18-points in a 53-33 regional title win over Neoga while 6-foot-1 junior Alex Tosetti added 16.

Coach Kimbro won his 15th regional title on Friday night as the Redskins also got nine-points each from seniors Trevor Wright and Mason Stewart.

Tosetti addes 8.9 points a game while Wright, a 6-foot-1 senior, adds 8.1.

Six-foot-two senior Stewart tosses in 7.3 p.p.g.

Six-foot-six senior Isaiah Bruder (6.5 p.p.g.) contributes.

Should the two teams (Nokomis and Central A&M) meet in a rematch it will be on a neutral court this time around.

Last March Central A&M hosted the sectional and they rallied for a 69-56 win.

Odin and head coach Tyler Mitchell were so close to winning a regional title last winter but they finally got over the hump in beating South Central, 36-21 in a low scoring affair on Friday night.

The Eagles improved their mark to 19-14 and if you're looking for a signature wins you would have to go with two victories over Mulberry Grove, including a come-from-behind win in the regional semifinal.

Odin scored the last nine-points of the game to erase a six-point deficit in the final minutes.

They did play Woodlawn tough twice, losing 59-47 in the regular season and 50-44 in the title game of the Midland Trail Conference Tournament.

Six-foot-two junior Lucas Shaffer leads Coach Mitchell's club with 15.2 points a game. The lefty guard has been a three year starter for the Eagles.

The other double-digit scorer for Odin is 6-foot-4 senior Dylan Friend (11.4 p.p.g.).

Guards Ethan Finckbone ( 9.1 p.p.g.) and Gage Roberts (7.9 p.p.g.) along with Keegan Parrish (4.2 p.p.g.) have all played their roles.

For St. Elmo/Brownstown and head coach Greg Feezel, their was “no place like home” on Friday night as the Eagles turned the tables on Altamont in defeating the Indians to deny the Tribe a chance to play on their home floor in the sectional.

The Eagles won their first regional crown since 2012 with a win over their National Trail Conference rivals.

SE/B got 12-points from junior guard Andy Goldsborough, 11-points from Jacob Baron and 10-points from Nick Rosborough in the triumph on their own floor.

The Eagles improved to 22-12 with the win.

Goldsborough, 6-foot-1 junior, averages a team-best 12.4 points a night.

Six-foot senior Nate Philpot adds 10.1 p.p.g. while 5-foot-10 junior Bryton Pruett is at 9.7 p.p.g.

Jace McWhorter, a 6-foot-2 sophomore, is at 7.4 points a game heading into a rematch with Nokomis.

Nick Rosborogh, 5-foot-11 sophomore, also sees important minutes.

The Redskins took the measure of the Eagles at St. Elmo-Brownstown, 57-41 on December 20th.

Nokomis sprinted out to an 18-2 early lead and held off any and all major rally attempts by the hosts.