By JACKSON WILSON
Enquirer Democrat Reporter
Macoupin County is going to be well-represented in the sectionals of the Illinois Elementary School basketball playoffs.
Southwestern and Staunton ensured such as both programs added another IESA 7-3A regional championship plaque to their trophy case last week.
The Piasa Birds and Terriers each entered the postseason with winning expectations as contenders in their respective brackets.
Southwestern buried Gillespie and Carlinville by a collective score of 47-17 at Divernon. The Birds entered the semifinals well-rested and locked in, particularly on the defensive side of the ball. Southwestern held Gillespie to just two field goals throughout the entire game and rolled into the championship with a 21-4 victory over the Indians, who squeaked past Auburn, 15-12, in the first round.
Carlinville heated up and was able to sustain momentum over the course of its first two games against New Berlin and Hillsboro before eventually running out of gas versus the victorious Birds. The Cavaliers, a No. 3 seed, crushed No. 6 New Berlin, 17-7, and shocked No. 2 Hillsboro, 24-14, en route to the regional final, which was won by Southwestern in dominant fashion, 26-13.
North Mac also participated in the Divernon regional but went ‘one and done’ against Hillsboro. The Panthers lost to the Dragons, 31-13.
No. 2 Staunton outlasted East St. Louis Lincoln in a 34-32 semifinal shootout then spoiled a Greenville Cinderella story in the championship match. The opposing Comets were looking to advance after upsetting top-seeded Litchfield, 17-16, but the Terriers seized the hardware in a 16-12 nailbiter.
In other seventh grade action, Bunker Hill and Mt. Olive earned one victory apiece at the 7-1A Wolf Ridge regional prior to falling short against Carrollton St. John.
Bunker Hill, an automatic semifinal qualifier as the top overall seed, overpowered Pleasant Hill, 35-10. No. 3 Mt. Olive survived No. 6 Mattoon, 27-24, in the quarterfinals prior to getting housed by Carrollton, 44-12. St. John went on to eliminate Bunker Hill in a 25-23 heartbreaker.
Southwestern (22-1) and Staunton (15-5) battle for a sectional title Wed., Nov. 29 at Auburn Junior High School in Divernon. The winner will advance to the “Elite Eight” round of the IESA 7-3A state tournament. Game time is 6:30 p.m.
Look for coverage of the IESA eighth grade girls’ regionals in next week’s issue.
Boys’ postseason action will also be featured.