LITTLE ILLINI CONFERENCE
Casey-Westfield looking at LIC repeat
Olney, Red Hill, Robinson looking to contend
BY JACK BULLOCK
The Little Illini Conference produced five teams with at least .500 won/loss marks in 2017-18 and those numbers heading into the 2018-19 campaign could be duplicated.

With a large number of veteran head coaches in this league, the players coming through these hallways will be in good hands.

Casey-Westfield won the title last season with a spotless 8-0 mark and a 25-5 overall finish.

The Warriors dropped a close decision on their home floor to Teutopolis and they will need to replace three starters from that squad who have graduated.

Head coach Tom Brannan has some good ones returning and he is excited to get started on defending the league championship.

The Robinson Maroons ended up 6-2 in the league chase and 15-12 overall against a vicious schedule of large school opposition.

Coach Mack Thompson will need to replace three starters from that squad, including their top gun.

Marshall has a new coach with Tim Pearison leaving the bench and John Webber leading the program now.

Newton new head coach Troy Bierman replaces long time head coach Doug Mammoser for a 19-9 team that fell to C-W in the regional.

The Eagles had six seniors graduate last spring so those minutes will be up for grabs.

The Olney Tigers have been league competitive but postseason “shackled” since the program was moved up to 3A in boy's hoops.

Longtime head coach Rob Flanagan is back and so are three starters and some bench help from a 14-16 team that was tossed aside by Champaign Central at the Paris 3A Regional semifinals.

Head coach Bryan Havil is also in an enrollment predicament as the Red Hill Salukis are one of the smaller 2A teams recently and they have a tough hill to climb to try and make a serious postseason journey.

His club finished at .500 in league play and 13-15 as they were ousted in the 2A Regional by Mt. Carmel in the semifinals at Lawrenceville.

Red Hill lost two starters but return everyone else so the Salukis should be “ready to go” early in the season.

Flora started its season well but it ended poorly after a rash of injuries hit the Wolves' program.

Graduation hit them much harder in the spring, meaning that head coach Phil Leib will have a lot of work to do with the ones returning and new ones coming in.

Coach Randy Bishop, another of the successful veteran coaches in the conference, saw his team suffer through a 5-21 season at Lawrenceville.

However four starters and the rest of the bench from a winter ago along with a key transfer will suit up for the Indians this coming campaign.

The Paris Tigers, the second of the two teams in the 3A boat for buckets, ended up just 1-7 in the LIC last season and 8-16 overall.

With zero returning starters head coach Shawn Nugent will need to continue the rebuild.

The Tigers also qualified for the football playoffs with a chance of a long journey into postseason.

ABV sees a close race that should ultimately end up with Casey-Westfield “hoisting the hardware.”

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

ABV Projected Order Of Finish