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HS girls’ basketball: Gillespie and Staunton bound for Beardstown sectional

The Gillespie and Staunton high school girls’ basketball teams are regional champions. The Miners defeated Pawnee, 56-50, and Hillsboro, 59-45, to win their first title since 2012 and the Bulldogs repeated, defending home court against EAWR, 66-40, and Roxana, 62-39. The two Route 4 rivals advanced to the Beardstown sectional, where the Miners took on Pleasant Plains and the Bulldogs battled Camp Point Central Jan. 20. Photos contributed.

 

The Gillespie and Staunton high school girls’ basketball teams are regional champions. The Miners defeated Pawnee, 56-50, and Hillsboro, 59-45, to win their first title since 2012 and the Bulldogs repeated, defending home court against EAWR, 66-40, and Roxana, 62-39. The two Route 4 rivals advanced to the Beardstown sectional, where the Miners took on Pleasant Plains and the Bulldogs battled Camp Point Central Jan. 20. Photos contributed.

 

Mt. Olive earns playoff victory

By JACKSON WILSON
Enquirer Democrat Reporter

At the start of the season, the Gillespie and Staunton high school girls’ basketball teams were both county contenders. In January, they were conference contenders. Now, they are postseason contenders in mid-February.

For one Route 4 rival, sectionals are familiar territory. As for the other, it’s been little over a decade.

Staunton repeated as regional champions on its home floor. Meanwhile, Gillespie brought home its first trophy since 2012.
Now, the Bulldogs and Miners are bound for the same sectional destination, with a potential all-time head-to-head showdown potentially in store for the championship game. If this scenario were to become reality, it would undoubtely be the most anticipated matchup since the third round of the 2013 IHSA Class 3A football playoffs, which was won by Staunton at Gillespie.

The Bulldogs and Miners opened sectional play against a couple of northern powerhouses in the Jan. 20 semifinals at Beardstown. Gillespie faced Pleasant Plains in game one of the postseason doubleheader. Staunton followed with a 2023 rematch against Camp Point Central. The winners battle for a spot in the Class 2A Elite Eight Thurs., Jan. 22 at 6 p.m.

Virden regional

After clearing an adverse hurdle to a hard-fought 56-50 victory over underdog Pawnee, Gillespie buried Hillsboro, 59-45, to capture the Virden regional title Feb. 16.

Mia Brawner returned to the starting rotation for the championship and the Miners looked much stronger in comparison to a tight 61-59 conference game against Hillsboro two weeks prior. Brawner had to leave that contest early after sustaining a knee injury but Gillespie was still able to hang on.

With their 1,000-point scorer back in action, the Miners controlled the rematch from the opening tip and never let the Hiltoppers get into a groove. Gillespie led the entire evening and improved to 26-7 overall.

North Mac limped into the playoffs on a five-game losing streak and the Panthers were unable to get back on track despite having home court advantage against Pawnee in the opening round. North Mac concluded the year at 17-14 with a 64-59 loss Feb. 10.

Staunton regional

Fresh off their program’s first conference title, the Staunton Bulldogs chomped on a pair of former South Central opponents in “The Pound.”

The Dogs dominated East Alton-Wood River, 66-40, in the semis, then watched No.3 Carlinville fall to No. 7 Roxana in a heartbreaking 43-41 upset that was decided in the dying seconds – a bitter finish to what had otherwise been a remarkable season for the Cavaliers, who compiled 23 victories in 31 games.

Corrie Allan’s Bulldogs were reminded of a valuable lesson heading into the regional final: Don’t let the underdogs hang around. Staunton put that plan into action and shattered the Shells, 62-39.

The Bulldogs are 27-5 on the season.

Southwestern joined Carlinville and Staunton in the same quadrant of the Beardstown sub-sectional, but failed to get out of the first round against EAWR. A 41-27 road loss to the Oilers brought the Birds’ final record to 12-20.

Mt. Olive earns playoff victory

The season may be over for the Mt. Olive Wildcats, but they will have a playoff victory to remember.

Last week, Mt. Olive defeated Dupo, 52-34, in the first round of the Class 1A postseason. The Wildcats opened the game on an 18-5 first quarter run en route to their ninth win of the year (9-16 final record).

Mt. Olive’s run concluded with a 58-27 semifinal loss against eventual regional champion Father McGivney Feb. 12.

Other action

In other action, No. 13 Bunker Hill went “one and done,” in Class 1A, losing to No. 3 Brownstown, 57-24, Feb. 10. The Minutemaids turn in their colors at 4-24.