SJO Lady Spartans advance to the semifinals of the 2017 State Farm Holiday Classic with comeback win

The St. Joseph-Ogden girls’ basketball team is turning heads under first-year head coach Kevin Taylor, and the area had better take notice. 

The fifth-seeded Lady Spartans erupted for a 29-point fourth quarter to come back and defeat #4 seed Rockford Lutheran 73-71 in a quarterfinal matchup on Thursday evening at Central Catholic in Bloomington.  The Spartans led the Crusaders 15-14 at the end of one quarter, but watched that lead dissipate and turned into a 35-30 deficit at the half. 

Sophomore Hannah Dukeman led SJO (11-4) with 21 points, while Peyton Crowe and Bree Trimble added 14 and 12 points, respectively.  Senior Sarah Acklin also had a solid performance with 9 points for the Lady Spartans, who spent a lot of time at the free throw line, especially in the second half.  SJO was 20-34 from the stripe, and Crowe was clutch from the line, making 8 of her 9 attempts. 

Rockford Lutheran (10-3) was led in scoring by Ambranette Storr, who had a game-high 32 points.  Madison Davis added 19 points for the Crusaders, who were 12-16 from the foul line for the game. 

The Lady Spartans move into the semifinals of the small school girls bracket, and will face top-seeded Annawan on Friday afternoon at 4:00 pm at Normal Community High School’s ‘A’ gymnasium.  The Bravettes are the defending IHSA Class 1A state champions and defeated Rock Falls 69-48 on Thursday in their quarterfinal contest.  Annawan is a perfect 14-0 on the season and returns everyone from their state championship a year ago. 

SJO’s boys’ team wasn’t as fortunate in their quarterfinal matchup, as they went up against 2016 State Farm Classic small school boys champ Quincy Notre Dame.  The Raiders defeated the Spartans 66-43 in a game that was about as close as the score indicated. 

After falling behind 18-12 after one quarter of play, SJO only scored 8 second quarter points, most of those coming late in the period.  Jack Cook was the only Spartan player to notch double figures with 12 points, while Chance Izard was next with 7 points.  Jordan Brooks, who came in as the Spartans’ leading scorer, was held without a point in the game, more than likely the first time that something like that has occurred. 

SJO (9-1) struggled to get to the free throw line, and didn’t do well once there, only making 2 of their 7 attempts from the stripe. 

Quincy Notre Dame (8-2) was led in scoring by Nick Schwartz with 14 points, while Mac Little and Tommy Ray each scored 10 points apiece.  The Spartans held the Raiders’ big man, Jase Wallingford, in check, only allowing him 6 points on the evening.  The Raiders shot 7-11 from the free throw line, and blew the game wide open in the middle of the contest, where they outscored the Spartans 37-16 in the second and third quarters. 

SJO moves to the bottom of the winner’s bracket, and will play Rock Falls at 2:00 pm on Friday at the Shirk Center on the campus of Illinois Wesleyan University.  The Rockets were defeated 73-38 by the Bloomington Central Catholic Saints in the final game of the evening on Thursday night at Normal West, and come into the game with the Spartans at 11-3 overall.

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abramo wrote on January 07, 2018 at 7:01 am

Lady Spartans erupted for a 29-point fourth quarter to come back and defeat #4 seed Rockford Lutheran 73-71 in a quarterfinal matchup on Thursday evening at Central Catholic in Bloomington.  The Spartans led the Crusaders 15-14 at the end of one quarter, but watched that lead dissipate and turned into a 35-30 deficit at the half. 

Cassandra12 wrote on January 23, 2018 at 9:01 am

I’m very happy for the spartans as they have worked really hard and they deserve to reach there. I think they can win assignmentmasters.co.uk review one also as they are great.

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