WATSEKA, Ill. - Watseka athletic director Barry Bauer preaches balance to the teams he coaches, and if there is one coach qualified to talk about balance - it's Bauer. The Watseka athletic director is in his first year coaching the girls basketball team. He took the job in part to spend more time with his daughters Taylor and Madison. Then in July the boys basketball coach left; he was asked to take over that team as well. Bauer accepted, and needless to say it has been a busy couple months. "I wouldn't recommend it," Bauer said of his busy schedule. "It's been a lot of work, a lot of time but I'm so grateful because I really enjoy the group I have, both the boys and girls."
BLOOMINGTON, Ill. - The individual state wrestling tournament will stay in Champaign for at least five more years. The Illinois High School Association announced Monday it has extended the agreement with State Farm Center through 2020. The IHSA also announced the state finals for boys golf (Bloomington-Normal, Decatur), softball (East Peoria) and competitive cheerleading (Bloomington) will stay at their current sites for five more years.
CHAMPAIGN, Ill. - Illinois football commit Matt Domer announced Monday he will play at Bowling Green instead of the U of I. Domer signed with Illinois last February, but he was denied admission into the school. He took classes last semester at Parkland in hopes of joining Illinois this semester, but Domer announced on Twitter he is headed to Bowling Green instead. Domer was a standout running back at Chicago's Mt. Carmel High School.
CHAMPAIGN, Ill. - Chatrice White was named Big Ten Freshman of the Week on Monday for the third time this year. Against a pair of Top 20 teams last week, White averaged 15.5 points, 7.5 rebounds, 3 blocks and 3 steals per game. She scored a team-high 22 points in a win over No. 17 Iowa.
CHAMPAIGN, Ill. - Former Parkland golfer and coach Zach McNabney has passed away after a three-and-a-half year battle with cancer. McNabney is a Central High School and University of Illinois graduate, who was a standout golfer with the Cobras. He then coached the team for six years before stepping down this past year. McNabney led the team to four conference titles and two trips to nationals.
Update: 10:21 pm, 1/11/15, Sunday CHAMPAIGN -- It was a big night for a basketball team in the area.
The Illinois basketball team lost at Nebraska 53-43 Sunday night. The Illini shot 15-55 from the field and 6-29 from three-point range. Illinois drops to 11-6 and 1-3 in the Big Ten.
The Champaign Swarm defeated the St. Louis RiverSharks 113-100 in their first game as a new team.
The Centennial Chargers finished the game on a 17-0 run to beat rival Central 66-48.
Illinois women's basketball coach Matt Bollant has turned the program around. In his third season, the Illini are out to their best start in seven years with wins over two nationally ranked teams.
The Parkland men's basketball team beat Prairie State 78-49 for the Cobras' 10th straight win.
The Eastern Illinois men's basketball team defeated Belmont Saturday 84-73. It's the seventh win in a row for the Panthers who improve to 4-0 in the OVC. They are in first place in the conference.
Highlights and scores from Full Court Friday on 1/9.
CHICAGO, Ill. - The Chicago Bears introduced their new general manager Ryan Pace Friday morning. Pace is a familiar face to Central Illinois sports fans. He was a four-year standout at Eastern Illinois in the late 1990s. At 37 years old Pace is the youngest GM in the NFL. Friday he pledged an "aggressive" approach and building through the draft. Pace has spent the last 14 years with the New Orleans Saints, most recently as their director of player personnel. But it's at Eastern Illinois where he got his start as a defensive end from 1996-1999.
CHAMPAIGN, Ill. - Illinois trailed by five at halftime, but they used a strong second half performance to race past No. 17 Iowa 73-61 Thursday night at State Farm Center. Freshman Chatrice White led the way for Illinois with 22 points. Brittany Carter added 19, and Iowa-native Kyley Simmons chipped in 16. Illinois (11-4, 2-1) hosts No. 18 Nebraska Sunday.
CHAMPAIGN, Ill. - It was a game most people didn't give Illinois much of a chance to win; but even without their leading scorer Rayvonte Rice, Illinois found a way to knock off No. 11 Maryland Wednesday night. It was the end of a two-day roller coaster ride for head coach John Groce, who had to scramble to put together a new game play after Rice broke his hand in practice Monday. Illinois found a way to battle through the adversity and knock off a Top 15 team for the fourth time in Groce's tenure in Champaign. "I think sometimes when something happens, like it did to Ray, it puts it into perspective for those guys," Groce said. "I thought they really rallied around that and rallied around Ray and they were really ready to play."
CHAMPAIGN, Ill. - Illinois announced Thursday that defensive line coach Greg Colby and special teams coordinator Tim Salem won't be retained next season. Colby is a Danville native who spent the last two years on Tim Beckman's staff. Salem cam to Illinois with Beckman in 2012. He coach the running backs and special teams for two years before coaching only special teams last season. "This is the toughest thing you have to do as a head coach," Beckman said. "Both Tim and Greg are very good coaches, but I felt we needed to make these changes to help our football program move forward. I want to thank Tim and Greg, along with their outstanding families, for all they did during their time as part of the Fighting Illini football family. I wish both of them the best of luck in their next career step. We'll move forward with replacing them on the staff as soon as possible."
CHAMPAIGN, Ill. - The newly formed Champaign Swarm announced their opening day roster Thursday afternoon. The 11-man roster includes four players from the Champaign-Urbana area. Former Central Maroons Keith Biggers (Kentucky Wesleyan) and Jordan Walker (Walsh University) will team up with Urbana grad Matt Neaville (Union Univ.) and Centennial alum Tiger O'Neil (Benedictine).
CLEVELAND, Ohio - Illinois lost another five-star recruit to Bill Self and Kansas on Thursday. Cleveland power forward Carlton Bragg picked the Jayhawks over Kentucky and Illinois. Bragg had listed the three schools as his finalists in the days leading up to the announcement. Bragg is a five-star prospect, ranked No. 14 in the country by Rivals.com
CHAMPAIGN, Ill. - Without Rayvonte Rice Illinois needed someone to step up, and Wednesday night that man was Malcolm Hill. The sophomore poured in a game-high 28 points to lead Illinois to a 64-57 win over No. 11 Maryland at State Farm Center. Hill provided the scoring punch, sinking nearly every important basket down the stretch. He shot 9-18 FG and 4-7 from 3-PT range. Nnanna Egwu added 11 points and nine rebounds for Illinois (11-5, 1-2).
CHAMPAIGN, Ill. - The Illinois women will carry some momentum into their game against 17th-ranked Iowa Thursday night. Matt Bollant's team has won three out of four, including a road win at Penn State over the weekend. It has been an up-and-down season for Illinois (10-4, 1-1). They scored a season-high 91 points against the Nittany Lions, and they hope to build on that performance when the Hawkeyes comes to town. "Hopefully it gives us a confidence builder and just belief that we can do it; believe that we belong," said head coach Matt Bollant. "I'm not sure that we started the Purdue game feeling that. Now certainly the way we played in the second half should have given us a boost but we need to believe that we can beat Iowa, that we can be different and we can be better."
CHAMPAIGN, Ill. - Illinois hopes to snap its two-game losing streak Wednesday night when Maryland (14-1, 2-0) visits State Farm Center. A loss would send Illinois to an 0-3 Big Ten start for the first time since 2008. The good new is this game comes at home after their first two conference losses were on the road; but this one won't be easy. Maryland is ranked No. 9 in the Coaches Poll and No. 11 in the AP Poll. Head coach John Groce is hoping his team can take a page out of Maryland's book when it comes to finding a way to win when you're not playing your best. "The thing that's been the most impressive about them that I certainly appreciate, especially with what we've been going through with our team, is if you look at their offensive statistics in their two league wins they're not eye-shattering," Groce said. "They certainly can shoot the ball if you look at as a whole their entire season. They're certainly capable of doing that. They just happened not to do it their first two league games, but they found a way to win anyway."
Boys & girls basketball, wrestling
CHAMPAIGN, Ill. - Illinois All-American gymnast Chandler Eggleston suffered a ruptured patella tendon, and he will redshirt this season. The school confirmed the injury Tuesday. Eggleston has finished NCAA runner-up twice and won a Big Ten title. "A healthy Chandler Eggleston is an irreplaceable athlete," head coach Justin Spring said in a statement. "We will miss him greatly out on the competition floor, but we have a very determined team this year and I believe they will step up to the challenge and continue to be one of the strongest teams in the NCAA this year." The sophomore is expecting a six-month recovery.
ST. JOSEPH, Ill. - One of the state's best football coaches says he has one year left in him. St. Joseph-Ogden coach Dick Duval told WCIA 3's Bret Beherns next season will be his last on the sidelines for the Spartans before he retires. Duval has coached 27 years at SJO, leading the Spartans to 24 straight playoff appearances.
BLOOMINGTON, Ill. - IHSA member schools rejected a proposal Tuesday that would have eliminated conferences in high school football. The proposal would've moved the sport toward a regional or district model. Schools overwhelmingly voted in favor of keeping the current conference system. Only 35% of schools voted to change it. The proposal called for schools to be divided into regions based on enrollment, and it would have meant a lot more travel for some area schools.
CHAMPAIGN, Ill. - If the Illinois basketball team wants to get back on track Wednesday night against Maryland, they will have to do it without leading scorer Rayvonte Rice. The Centennial grad suffered a fractured non-shooting hand in practice, and head coach John Groce says Rice will be out indefinitely. Rice will have surgery on Wednesday. Groce said he will have a better idea on Rice's timeline for recovery after surgery, but he is expected to miss at least a month. Rice has been Illinois' most valuable player so far this season. He's averaging 17.2 points and 6.9 rebounds per game.
GIRLS BASKETBALL Rantoul 43 Centennial 67 BOYS BASKETBALL Central A&M 51 Argenta-Oreana 65
CHAMPAIGN, Ill. - The Illinois men's basketball team has lost its first two Big Ten games of the season thanks to second-half meltdowns in both games; and it has caused some fans to wonder if they're missing Tracy Abrams a little more than some people thought they might. Illinois was out-toughed down the stretch both at Michigan and at Ohio State. Abrams was expected to bring that toughness as one of the team's key senior leaders before he went down to a season-ending ACL injury. With Abrams out, somebody else has to step up and bring that toughness; so far they're not doing enough. "He's a bulldog guy. He's a guy that when adversity hits, he's gonna fight you," Groce said of Abrams. "We need some more of that from our team. I did not like our response to adversity there in the early stages of that 15-0 run [at Ohio State]. I do think our guys are trying, but as I tell them in the movie Christmas Vacation, so do washing machines. They work hard. We've gotta be better. We've gotta respond to that better than what we are right now."
CHAMPAIGN, Ill. - State Farm Center is one of three buildings in the running to host the IHSA boys state basketball tournament starting in 2016. The IHSA announced Monday it received only three bids to host the boys tourney. State Farm Center in Champaign and the Peoria Civic Center bid to host all four classes, while the Sears Center in Hoffman Estates bid to host only classes 3A and 4A. IHSA officials will visit all three sits over the next few weeks before making their decision. They hope to announce that decision in March. Champaign-Urbana held the boys state tournament for 77 years before losing it to Peoria after the 1995 season.
CHAMPAIGN, Ill. - Two-time defending national champion Jesse Delgado could be back on the mat for the Illinois wrestling team as soon as this weekend. Head coach Jim Heffernan isn't guaranteeing he will be back, but he also isn't ruling it out. Delgado has only wrestled twice this season. He has missed nearly two months with an undisclosed injury. Delgado is the nation's No. 1 ranked wrestler at 125 pounds; he has won the last two national titles. Illinois hopes to have him back for their Big Ten opener this weekend, but Heffernan wants to make sure Delgado is fully healthy before coming back. "We'll see," Heffernan said of Delgado's availability this weekend. "He's a pretty valuable part to this puzzle. We don't want to do anything to jeopardize him down the road, but he's doing well. His training's great. He's really responded well. He's doing a fantastic job."
Illinois turned the ball over 20 times and allowed Ohio State to shoot 59% from the field. The Buckeyes beat the Illini 77-61. Rayvonte Rice scored 20 points. Illinois falls to 10-5 and 0-2 in the Big ten.
Illinois blew a 13 point second half lead against Michigan Tuesday. The Illini say they're moving on from it and on to Saturday's game against Ohio State.
5. SJO Softball coach Randy Wolken wins his 900th game. 4. SHG, Rochester win state football championships. 3. OVC shake-up after Maroa-Forsyth leaves. 2. Wayne McClain passes away. 1. St. Thomas More girls basketball wins a state title. Chris Mennig is out as head coach, Jay Price is in. Tori McCoy tears her ACL.
It was another big year for Central Illinois high school sports. To help wrap up the year, we're counting down the top ten high school sports stories of 2014. WCIA 3's Matt Wettersten has stories ten through six.
ANN ARBOR, MI. -- It was a perfect opportunity for Illinois to pick up one of those rare Big Ten road wins. And up 13 at Michigan, with just 11 minutes left to play, it looked like the Illini would do just that on Tuesday. But for the third time this season, Illinois let another game get away late.
BLOOMINGTON -- Centennial beat Edwardsville 56-48 in the third place game of the State Farm Holiday Classic Tuesday afternoon at Shirk Center on the campus of Illinois Wesleyan University.
ANN ARBOR, MI -- Illinois blew a 13-point second half lead and was outscored 14-6 in overtime in a 73-65 loss at Michigan Tuesday afternoon. Malcolm Hill was the only Illini who scored in double figures, the sophomore had 19 points, 15 in the second half.
The Fisher boy's basketball team won the BSN Classic over VGH Monday night 77-65. Monticello fell to Ridgeview 65-56 in the Sages Holiday Hoopla finals while the Mt. Zion Lady Indians won the girls Hoopla title over Neoga 66-55.
The Illinois men's basketball team tips off Big Ten Conference play Tuesday afternoon at Michigan. When asked about the optimism surrounding his team, Illini head coach John Groce said, "Talk is cheap; you've got to make it happen. No one gives you anything in this league."
Several newcomers played key roles for the Illinois football team this fall. No one stepped up bigger than freshman receiver Mikey Dudek, who broke several school records. That has third year head coach Tim Beckman optimistic for next season.
ESPNCU host Jeremy Werner talks Illinois basketball and what's ahead for the Illini as they start Big Ten Conference play this week.
Ivory Crawford scored 12 of her team high 16 points in the second half but Illinois' comeback fell short to Purdue Sunday afternoon in a 62-55 loss at State Farm Center.
Highlights and scores from a busy day of high school basketball tournaments and college hoops from across Central Illinois.
Even with a 35-18 loss to Louisiana Tech in the Heart of Dallas Bowl Friday, third-year head coach Tim Beckman is staying positive about the future of his program.
Illinois used a 30-3 run to close the first half en route to a 93-45 blowout victory over Kennesaw State Saturday night at State Farm Center. Rayvonte Rice led all scorers with 21 points, he was perfect from the field converting on all seven field goals he attempted.
The Monticello boys basketball team won both its games at the opening day of the Sages Holiday Hoopla Friday, beating Argenta-Oreana 57-52 and Negoa 75-33.
DALLAS -- Illinois senior quarterback Reilly O'Toole threw for 295 yards and one touchdown in his final collegiate game but it wasn't enough to hold off Louisiana Tech in a 35-18 loss to the Bulldogs in the Zaxby's Heart of Dallas Bowl Friday afternoon.
CHAMPAIGN -- For those Illini fans that weren't able to make the trip to Dallas, they were definitely with them in spirit.
Illinois plays Louisiana Tech Friday at 12:00 in the Zaxby's Heart of Dallas Bowl. WCIA 3's Aaron Bennett has a final preview from Dallas.