Central A&M, Cissna Park collide on Friday
Raiders, Timberwolves bring impressive resumes to Peoria

– In what undoubtedly an interesting matchup in the semifinals, ABV top-ranked Central A&M, fresh off of their 1A Carbondale Supersectional conquest on Tuesday night, will tangle with Cissna Park at 11 am at Carver Arena.

The Raiders and Timberwolves have size, athletic ability and skills and both have played tough schedules to get them to the Final Four.

Central A&M head coach Rob Smith is no stranger to the Carver Arena setting having been a coach at Teutopolis for several years under Ken Crawford.

He was part of back-to-back trips in 2006-2007 to the finals when it was a two-class system.

His club stands at 32-3 and have won 21-consecutive contests after dispatching Sesser-Valier, 79-69 on Tuesday night at SIU.

Five-foot-eleven junior guard Jacob Paradee scored 23 points and Connor Heaton, a 6-foot-4 junior forward, poured in 21 in the victory.

Six-foot-six junior Griffin Andricks and 6-foot-2 junior Brycen Burgener added 14 and 13 points in the contest.

All four of those players are resourceful enough to produce big scoring games.

Heaton is sitting at 19.9 points, 8.1 rebounds and 4.4 assists a game so far this season.

Andricks is a “space eater” in the paint as he averages 16.4 points and 8.3 boards.

Paradee is next on the hit parade with 14.4 and 4.5 assists.

Senior Austin Sloan, a 6-foot-5 guard, is a defensive ace as is Burgener.

“A&M is a complete team with their size, strength, and athletic ability,” said Pana head coach Adam Metzger, who lost to the Raiders in the season opener for both teams in November. “They have the junior trio of Heaton, Andricks and Paradee but the other role players really do their jobs extremely well in order to win games. They are well coached and do not beat themselves. They are a team on a mission and there isn't a player I'd rather have at the 1A state games than Heaton.”

Central A&M will face a Cissna Park team that has been mentioned and ranked for most of the season with the top 1A teams in Illinois.

Their head coach is Kevin Long who has been at the school 24-years with a record of 457-270.

This mentor has announced his retirement from coaching effective at the end of the season.

While Central A&M has a balanced lineup, Cissna Park also gets points from five main sources.

Twin brothers and twin towers Julian and Christian Stadeli, both who are 6-foot-7 seniors, are the only two averaging double-figures in points per outing.

Christian tosses home 17.1 points a game while Julian adds 11.1.

Rebounding these two also lead the squad; Christian at 7.6 a contest, Julian at 6.4.

Two other Timberwolves are near the double-digits in points; Ian Rogers and Bailey Sluis.

Rogers is a 5-foot-10 sophomore guard (9.5 p.p.g.) and Sluis is a 5-foot-9 senior (9.0 p.p.g.).

Five-foot-ten senior Conner Lober distributes “the rock” for the Wolves, tossing out assists “like candy” (4.3 a.p.g) while adding 4.4 points to the formula of success for 2018-19.

“They have a strong inside game and good depth. They are tenacious defensively (man-to-man) and have good shot selection,” said Fithian Oakwood head coach Jeff Mandrell. “They’re well coached and they toughened their schedule this year and I think that benefited them in the postseason.”