EGYPTIAN ILLINI CONFERENCE
Mulberry Grove looks for "repeat"
SE/B, CH/BC, Patoka, Ramsey look to rebuild
BY JACK BULLOCK
The Egyptian Illini Conference is one of the smallest leagues in the State of Illinois, if not the smallest, with just five members.

It used to be a larger league but defections from a few teams over the years along with four of the schools now involved in cooperatives, the numbers have dwindled significantly.

Last season the Mulberry Grove Aces (named after flying aces, not playing cards) beat the other four entities in the division to win the league title outright at 4-0.

The Aces overall mark was 20-10, a great achievement for a school with just 108 kids.

It was the first 20-win campaign since the Coach Tom Jackson led squad went 22-5 in 1993-94.

MG reached a 1A regional title game before being bounced out of the playoffs.

Central A&M defeated Mulberry Grove and the Raiders ended up reaching the supersectional last March.

The resume for the Aces got a feather for getting that far.

Andrew Beckham is now the head coach at MG heading into 2018-19 and he has the top scorer returning and some key kids to forge a new lineup for 2018-19.

Graduation hit the rest of the teams in the conference hard in the off-season.

St. Elmo/Brownstown lost three seniors to the “cap and gown” and will need to have some kids take the leap into more varsity minutes.

The Eagles ended the season with title loss to rival Altamont, 58-55, at the Hutsonville/Palestine 1A Regional.

Don't get ABV started on how these two teams that are about five miles apart had to drive 80 miles one-way to H/P for a regional title game.

The Cowden-Herrick/Beecher City Bobcats will be under new leadership as Donovan Riley replaces Marc Bain as the head coach of the co-op.

Things didn't go well last season for the Red and Blue, finishing just 5-23 overall and 1-3 in the EIC.

Four seniors are now gone and the rebuilding will commence with a new mentor in place.

Head coach Joe Eddy and his Patoka Warriors came back to Earth after an atmospheric four-year run where they won four-consecutive regional titles and reached the Elite Eight in 2015-16.

Last winter the Warriors found the going tough and fell to 2-24 overall.

But this coach will keep plugging away as will his club.

Ramsey went just 8-20 overall in 2017-18.

As for the 2018-19 ABV will go with the Aces to keep “flying high.”

For complete team-by-team previews, click on the team links below.

ABV Projected Order Of Finish