They are calling it "Redbird: Round Two." Less than two weeks after the St. Thomas More girls won the state title at Redbird Arena in Normal, the boys are headed to Redbird with a trip to state on the line. St. Thomas More will face Heyworth in the Class 1A Supersectional Tuesday night at 7:00 pm.
Illinois' Kendrick Nunn was named to the Big Ten All-Freshman Team Monday night. The Chicago-native came on late in the season to average 8.6 ppg during conference play. Joining Nunn on the list are Indiana's Noah Vonleh, Michigan's Derrick Walton, Jr., Purdue's Kendall Stephens and Wisconsin's Nigel Hayes. Nunn is the third Illinois player in the last five years to be named to the All-Freshman Team (Richardson 2010, Richmond 2011).
Illinois will face Indiana for the third time this year when they square off in the first round of the Big Ten Tournament Thursday (11 a.m., BTN). The Illini will be the No. 9 seed, but they come in as one of the hottest teams in the league.
The Big Ten Tournament bracket is all set, and Illinois has earned the No. 9 seed and will face No. 8 Indiana in the first round on Thursday (11:00 am, BTN). The winner of that one gets the top-seeded Michigan in the quarterfinals.
CHAMPAIGN -- WCIA-3 News & Sports has welcomed a new family member.
Illinois senior Jon Ekey is the talk of the town after his last-second three won the game for Illinois Saturday night at No. 24 Iowa - the first time the Hawkeyes have lost to an unranked team at home in the last 31 games. WCIA 3's Bret Beherns was there for the magic and has the story.
The Parkland women's basketball team overcame a second-half deficit to rally past Lake Land 76-66 in the Region 24 Championship Game Sunday afternoon in Mattoon. The Cobras advance to the NJCAA Division II National Tournament beginning March 18th in Overland Park, KS.
A look back at Andy Kaufmann's buzzer-beater to beat Iowa at Assembly Hall in 1993.
Illinois junior Jesse Delgado won his second straight conference title at the 2014 Big Ten Wrestling Championships on Sunday. The second-seeded Illini defeated No. 1 seed Nico Megaludis 3-2 in double overtime to help lead the Orange & Blue to a sixth-place finish with 78.5 points. Eight other Illini earned spots on the podium with top-eight finishes, including fifth-place finishes from Zane Richards, Jackson Morse and Tony Dallago.
Illinois senior Jon Ekey saved the biggest shot of his career for his last shot of the regular season. Ekey hit a deep 3 with :0.5 left to lift Illinois to an improbably 66-63 win in Iowa City. Ekey drained three 3-PT on the night - none bigger than the final one. Illinois raced out to a 20-6 lead, threatening to blow out Iowa on their home floor, but the Hawkeyes surged back to lead by five at the half. In the second half, Illinois (18-13, 7-11) managed to re-take the lead late, only to let Iowa tie the game with less than 1:00 to play. That's when Ekey saved the day.
The Illinois men's gymnastics team beat UIC 427.850-401.900. The women beat Lindenwood 197.100-194.450.
The Illinois football team practiced in pads for the first time Saturday as part of their spring workouts leading up to the Spring Game April 12. Several players from last year's team are also working out, but they're preparing for a future in the NFL. WCIA 3's Bret Beherns has more on former Illinois linebacker Jonathan Brown as he gets ready for the NFL Draft.
Highlights and scores from Full Court Friday on March 7th.
Here's what Twitter users are saying about tonight's regional title game between Central and Centennial at Combes Gym. Watch for highlights tonight at 10:00 on WCIA 3.
Illinois might not be at full strength when they finish the regular season at Iowa Saturday night. Senior guard Joseph Bertrand left Tuesday's game early with a knee injury. Head coach John Groce said on a teleconference Friday that Bertrand practiced Thursday and will hopefully be ready. Meanwhile freshman point guard Jaylon Tate will be closer to a game-time deicision as he nurses a foot injury.
The Illinois baseball team will take a four-game winning streak into their series at Western Kentucky this weekend. The start of that series - originally scheduled for Friday - was pushed back until Saturday.
If you're looking for a decision on a starting quarterback soon, you're probably going to have to wait for at least a few more weeks. While offensive coordinator Bill Cubit said earlier this week he could name a starter by the end of spring, he isn't going to force the issue. Right now, Wes Lunt, Aaron Bailey and Reilly O'Toole are all getting equal reps with the first-team offense, and Cubit says that will probably continue for the next few weeks.
Illinois-signee Aaron Jordan was named to the Chicago Sun-Times All-Area Team Friday. The Plainfield East junior - and future Illini - averaged 20 points a game, while shooting 47% from 3-PT range. Curie's Cliff Alexander was named the Sun-Times Player of the Year and the Naismith National Player of the Year Friday.
No matter how the Illinois men's basketball season finishes, head coach John Groce has made a lasting impact in the lives of one central Illinois family. All it took was a letter - a simple response - in a time of need. As WCIA 3's Matt Wettersten reports, it made all the difference.
19 NFL scouts from 18 teams were in Champaign Thursday for Illinois' annual Pro Day. Several Illinois seniors worked out in hopes of impressing the scouts before the NFL Draft in May. One guy who had a lot to prove was linebacker Jonathan Brown. He struggled in the 40-yard dash at the NFL Combine, running it in 5.03 seconds. Thursday he improved that time, clocking in at 4.85. Brown also bench 18 reps at 225 pounds. He only did 16 reps at the Combine.
Illinois cut No. 23 Iowa’s lead to nine with 5:17 left in the game but missed its final seven shots as the fifth-seeded Hawkeyes pulled away for an 81-62 win in the first round of the Big Ten Tournament at Bankers Life Fieldhouse on Thursday.
The Illinois Track and Field teams will send three athletes to the NCAA Indoor Championships, which begin March 14 in Albuquerque, N.M. On the men's side, senior Vanier Joseph will run in the 60m hurdles, and junior Davis Fraker will compete in the weight throw. For the women, freshman Kandie Bloch-Jones - an Argenta-Oreana grad - has qualified to compete in the high jump. Bloch-Jones won the Big Ten Championship last week. She becomes the first Illini female high jumper since 2007 to qualify for NCAA Indoors.
Spring practice began Wednesday for the Illinois football team, and the battle for the starting quarterback job is on. Offensive coordinator Bill Cubit said Wednesday he hopes to name a starter by the end of the spring, but he will wait until fall camp if a starter doesn't emerge. Three quarterbacks - Wes Lunt, Aaron Bailey and Reilly O'Toole split up equal reps with the first team on day one.
Boys sectional, regional highlights and scores
A tragic accident took the life of a wife, mother and coach. Three years later, her son Dalton Walsh has emerged as one of the senior leaders for two of St. Joseph-Ogden's top sports teams. Tonight Walsh publicly shares his story for the first time to WCIA 3's Bret Beherns.
Boys sectional, regional highlights and scores
It was a record-setting night at State Farm Center - just not the kind of history Illinois was hoping to right. No. 12 Michigan led from wire-to-wire en route to an 84-53 win. The 31-point margin of victory is the largest by any visiting team in State Farm Center history. Michigan shot 56% from the field and nearly 70% from 3-PT range. The Wolverines hit 16 threes. That ties a State Farm Center record. Illinois (17-13, 6-11) was led by Rayvonte Rice's 16 points and nine rebounds. Illinois will finish up the regular season Saturday at Iowa.
Spring football practice starts Wednesday at the U of I as Tim Beckman prepares for his third year with the Illini. WCIA 3's Matt Wettersten has more on some of the storylines to watch as Spring practice begins.
Former Eastern Illinois quarterback Jimmy Garoppolo worked out Tuesday for scouts and coaches at Northwestern's Pro Day in Evanston. According to reports, 31 of the 32 NFL teams were there. Houston Texans coach Bill O'Brien and San Francisco 49ers coach Jim Harbaugh took an especially close look at Garoppolo. In fact, there was a point during the day when Harbaugh pulled Garoppolo aside for a 1-on-1 workout.
Boys regional highlights/scores
The St. Thomas More community is still buzzing about the girls basketball team winning it's first ever state title Saturday night. Sabers' coach Chris Mennig was kind enough to let WCIA 3 mic him up for the state title game. Here's a look at our behind-the-scenes access with the state champs.
Tim Beckman announced Monday that running back Dami Ayoola and defensive tackle Vontrell Williams are no longer with the Illinois football team. Spring practice starts Wednesday. Ayoola was not with the team last year, but he had hoped to come back this year. Beckman said neither player followed the guidelines and expectations needed to be part of the team.
Illinois' postseason hopes got a big lift Saturday when Illinois beat No. 18 Michigan State in East Lansing. Now, believe it or not, their NCAA Tournament chances are still alive if they can finish strong.
Illinois freshman Kandie Bloch-Jones won the Big Ten indoor high jump title over the weekend. The Argenta-Oreana grad cleared 1.8m to beat out Springfield High-grad Sarah Maxson (Indiana) for the Big Ten title.
Following a 4-0 weekend in Gainesville, Fla., a pair of Illini earned conference honors on Monday. Sophomore Kevin Duchene was named Big Ten Pitcher of the Week, while sophomore Ryan Nagle was tabbed Big Ten Co-Player of the Week after helping Illinois to two wins each over No. 23 Florida and Florida Gulf Coast.
Illinois senior guard Amber Moore and junior guard Ivory Crawford were named honorable mention All-Big Ten Monday, as the conference announced its postseason honors. Crawford earned the honor from both the conference coaches and media, while Moore was named honorable mention by Big Ten media members.
The St. Thomas More girls basketball team stopped by the WCIA studios to talk about their state championship season.
The Illinois basketball team cranks up the defense and former Illinois assistant coach Jay Price talks about their new found postseason hopes.
Illini public address announcer Tim Sinclair has been named to the same position with the Chicago Fire. He will stay on doing Illini games and with WBGL Radio in addition to working with the Major League Soccer team.
St. Thomas More defeated Prophetstown 70-34 in the state finals. Teutopolis took third place with a 32-28 win over Elmhurst (IC Central). Central A&M took fourth place losing to Eastland 55-50.
Illinois won at Michigan State for the first time since 2006 Saturday. Tracy Abrams scored a team-high 12 points as the Illini upset Michigan State 53-46 for their third win in a row. Illinois held its fourth straight opponent to under 50 points. The Illini haven't done that since 1947.
St. Thomas More girls win state semifinal game. Teutopolis and Central A&M will each play for third. PLUS boys regional and senior night highlights.
The Central A&M girls basketball team lost to Carrollton 40-38 in the Class 1A state semifinals Friday afternoon at Redbird Arena in Normal. The Lady Raiders jumped out to an early 9-0 lead, but couldn't hold it as the Lady Hawks stormed back for the win. Central A&M struggled offensively all day. They only scored 38 points, which is their second-fewest in a single game all season. The Lady Raiders (27-6) will face Lanark (Eastland) (28-6) in the third place game Saturday at 12:15 pm. The game will be televised LIVE on WCIX.
Illinois LEO Houston Bates has decided to skip his final football season at Illinois and will transfer to a school closer to his home in Louisiana to finish his collegiate playing career. Bates, a native of Covington, La., will graduate in May with his bachelor’s degree in community health, and would be eligible to play immediately at a different school should he choose.
Illinois narrowly missed a huge upset of No. 16 Nebraska, falling 72-65 to the Huskers in front of 7,480 fans at Pinnacle Bank Arena on Thursday. The Illini pulled within 65-63 with 3:03 remaining on an Amber Moore three-pointer but made just 2-of-7 free throws down the stretch as Nebraska salted away the victory from the free-throw line, making 7-of-8 in the final 2:06.
The Illinois men snapped a five-game home losing streak with a win over a red-hot Nebraska team Wednesday night. WCIA 3's Bret Beherns has more on how they did it, and what the win means moving forward.
Wednesday night in Fisher's regional semifinal game vs. Tri-Point with their season on the line, down 55-53 with 2.6 seconds left, Grant Pointer took center stage. He took an inbounds pass, dribbled twice, and heaved a prayer from just inside half-court. The shot was good, and Fisher won 56-55.
Boys basketball regional highlights and scores
Reigning Big Ten Freshman of the Week Kendrick Nunn led the way again with a game-high 13 points as Illinois avenged an earlier loss to Nebraska 60-49. Nunn continued his hot shooting, going 3-for-4 from 3PT range. Rayvonte Rice added 10 points and 9 rebounds for Illinois.
Fisher's Grant Pointer hit a near half-court buzzer beater to send Fisher past Tri-Point 56-55 Wednesday night. Thanks to Dave Fink and Craig Rogers for the video.
Five-star shooting guard Charles Matthews from Chicago's St. Rita High School verbally committed to Kentucky Wednesday morning, choosing the Wildcats over Illinois and three other finalists. Matthews is the No. 1 player in the state of Illinois and No. 12 in the nation according to ESPN.
Boys basketball, wrestling highlights; girls basketball scores
The St. Thomas More girls are headed back to state for the second straight year - and after losing in the state title game last year, they're back for some redemption at Redbird. WCIA 3's Matt Wettersten has more on the Sabers and their quest for their first ever state championship.
John Groce has been looking for a consistent second scoring option behind Rayvonte Rice, and he may have finally found some help in freshmen Malcolm Hill and Kendrick Nunn. The two first-year players have been mainstays in the starting lineup for the last two weeks. Nunn is the reigning Big Ten Freshman of the Week after scoring 19 points at Minnesota. He and Hill have provided the spark this team has been looking for, and they've done a good job taking some of the pressure off of Rice.
Girls supersectional highlights, boys regional scores
Illinois' Kendrick Nunn was named Big Ten Freshman of the Week Monday after he scored a game-high 19 points to help lead Illinois past Minnesota Wednesday night in Minneapolis. It's the first freshman of the week honor for the Chicago-native. Nunn has come on strong late in the season, averaging 13 points game since becoming a starter earlier this month.
Jered Cortez was overcome with emotion as he got ready to take his place at the top of the medal stand. The Glenbard North senior won a 3-1 overtime tie-break to win his fourth straight state championship Saturday night.
A successful weekend for the Illini women's gymnastics team was validated today by the conference office, as they named Amber See Big Ten Event Specialist of the Week and Erin Buchanan Big Ten Freshman of the Week.
Former Illini assistant coach Jay Price looks at the Big Ten race and Illinois' postseason opportunities.
The St. Thomas More girls basketball team plays Riverton Monday night at 7:00 with a trip to state on the line.
GCMS/Fisher Senior Josh Wallick won a second consecutive state wrestling championship Saturday night. Aaron Bennett and Bret Beherns have more on all area athletes competing.
The parkland women's basketball team defeated Lewis & Clark 85-45, while the Parkland men's basketball team defeated ICC 74-65.
High school wrestling, basketball highlights and scores
Girls postseason basketball highlights and scores
The Illini men continued their dominance at the Barn Wednesday night, winning for the 11th time in the last 13 tries in MInneapolis. WCIA 3's Bret Beherns was with the team in Minnesota and has more.
Highlights and results from the preliminary round of the boys state wrestling tournament
The state wrestling tournament starts Thursday afternoon, and more than a dozen area wrestlers enter the meet as sectional champions including St. Joseph-Ogden's Austin Hedrick. WCIA 3's Bret Beherns has more on the 152-pounder and his unbelievable drive to win a state title.
Girls, boys basketball highlights and scores
Freshman Kendrick Nunn scored a career-high 19 points on 5-7 from 3-PT, and Nnanna Egwu picked up his first career double-double with 14 points and 11 rebounds as Illinois rallied past Minnesota 62-49 Wednesday night at Williams Arena. Illinois (15-12, 4-10) fell behind by 11 points early, but they outscored the Gophers 38-22 in the second half to put the game away.
Mattoon quarterback Jared Pilson will play football at Eastern Illinois. The Green Wave senior announced the news on his Twitter page Wednesday. Pilson was a first-team all-conference selection after leading Mattoon to a 7-3 record and an Apollo conference championship.
Girls, boys basketball highlights & scores
The Big Ten Conference has handed out six Freshman Gymnast of the Week honors this year, and Illinois' Chandler Eggleston has won five of those six. There is no question he is one of the brightest young stars nationwide, but as WCIA 3's Matt Wettersten reports, Eggleston has his eyes on a much bigger goal - and he is convinced the U of I can take him there.
The Illinois basketball team is hoping to draw some inspiration from a special guest in practice. Former Illinois guard DJ Richardson has been in town this week working with the team at practice. Richardson's international game is on hold while he recovers from an ankle injury, so he is using the time to try and help out the current team who has lost 10 of it's last 11 games. Richardson knows what they are going through, and he is glad to do whatever he can to help.
Despite their 1-2 start, the Illinois baseball team did show some positive team did show some positive signs especially at the plate over the weekend. The Illini scored 30 runs in their three-game series against Georgia State. It's an offense with a lot of new faces, but they pounded out 34 hits and 3 home runs.
The Cerro Gordo-Bement boys basketball team is peaking at the right time. The Broncos have won 12 of their last 13 games heading into tomorrow's senior night. WCIA 3's Bret Beherns has more on senior Connor Gross, who has stepped up to the plate for CGB this season.
Mahomet-Seymour senior Sam Hohlfelder verbally committed to play basketball at Division III Wisconsin-Platteville on Monday. Hohlfelder made the announcement on this Twitter feed. He is one of the best ball-handlers and scorers in the area, and he has been a key leader for the Bulldogs.
The Illinois baseball team got a wake-up call, losing two out of three in their season-opening series at Georgia State. The pitching, which was supposed to be the strength of this team, was anything but over the weekend.
Nnanna Egwu was one of the few bright spots for Illinois in their loss to Ohio State Saturday night. Egwu pulled down a career-high 14 rebounds to along with three blocks against the Buckeyes. The junior ranks third in the conference in blocks and Top 10 in the league in rebounding in conference games. While the offense hasn't come as quickly or easily as fans would like, the other parts of his game are among the best in the Big Ten.
The Illinois basketball team continues to struggle. Jay Price provides analysis in studio.
GCMS/Fisher senior wrestler Josh Wallick is the defending state champion and poised to finish his career on top again. WCIA 3's Bret Beherns has the story.
GCMS/Fisher senior Josh Wallick and SJ-O senior Austin Hedrick both won sectional titles at the Class 1A Olympia sectional to advance to next weekend's state wrestling meet. More than a dozen other area wrestlers also advanced as champions.
No. 22 Ohio State beat Illinois for the second time this season, 48-39, Saturday night at State Farm Center. The Illini have lost 10 out of their last 11 games.
Highlights and scores from Full Court Friday on 2/14.
NATIONAL -- A social media tool could soon have a big impact on college sports.
Weather cancels Friday night games
Girls, boys basketball
The Arthur-Lovington Knights are enjoying one of their best seasons in decades, and a pair of brothers are a big reason why. WCIA 3's Matt Wettersten explains why it's more than just their family - it's their entire Arthur-Lovington family - that is motivating them to succeed.
St. Joseph-Ogden football coach Dick Duval said Thursday he is coming back for a 27th season as head coach of the Spartans. Duval is retiring from teaching at the end of this school year, but he will remain as head coach and athletic director on what he called a "year-by-year" basis.
The losses keep mounting for Illinois, who has now lost nine of their last ten games and fallen back into dead last in the Big Ten. The latest defeat came at the hands of Nebraska last night in Lincoln.
Rayvonte Rice scored 23 points, but Nebraska pulled away late to hand Illinois a 67-58 loss. The loss is Illinois’ 9th in the last 10 games. Nebraska’s Shavon Shields led all scorers with 33 points. Rice was 7-17 FG (7-11 FT) for the Illini. Freshmen Kendrick Nunn and Malcolm Hill earned their second straight start and combined to score 17 points. Nnanna Egwu struggled to find the scoring column (4 pts), but pulled down a game-high 12 rebounds. Illinois (14-11, 3-9) drops into last place in the Big Ten. They’ll host Ohio State Sunday night.
Girls, boys basketball
The Gifford seventh grade basketball team will face Cissna Park in the sate championship game Thursday night. It has been an unforgettable season for the young Eagles, who have helped lift the spirits of their tornado-ravaged town. WCIA 3's Matt Wettersten has more.
Indiana was the unanimous choice by the conference coaches as the preseason favorite to claim the Big Ten Championship, it was announced on Wednesday. The conference’s coaches voted on the top six teams and also selected three players from their own squads to a Players to Watch list. The Hoosiers were followed in the preseason poll by No. 2 Nebraska, No. 3 Ohio State and No. 4 Michigan State, with Illinois and Michigan tied for fifth.
Illinois got a big boost from it's freshmen in Sunday's 60-55 win at Penn State, but the veterans will need to be the ones to re-emerge if they want to save their season down the stretch. Illinois will go for it's second straight win when they visit Nebraka tonight (8:00 pm, BTN).
Tuesday night was the last boys basketball game that will ever be played at Atwood-Hammond. The school will close at the end of the year, and the district will merge with Arthur. WCIA 3's Bret Beherns was there, and he has more on the end of an era in Atwood.
Boys, girls basketball
It has been a long time coming for Illinois - to finally see some positive results from all their hard work. That is exactly what they have heading into Wednesday's game at Nebraska (8:00 pm, BTN).
Girls, boys basketball highlights and scores
The streak is over. The Illinois basketball team put an end to it's eight-game losing streak with a 60-55 win at Penn State Sunday, and a lineup change may have been the spark they needed. John Groce put freshmen Kendrick Nunn and Malcolm Hill in the starting lineup for the first time this year. They replaced seniors Joseph Bertrand and Jon Ekey, who had both started the first 23 games of the year. Nunn and Hill combined to score 30 points on 11-22 shooting, ensuring the move paid off.
Kendrick Nunn scored a career-high 19 points leading Illinois over Penn State 60-55. The win snapped the Illini's eight-game losing streak. Malcolm Hill also scored a career-high 11 points.