SJO girls fall to state ranked Annawan, while SJO boys win twice to capture 5th place in 2017 State Farm Holiday Classic.

The St. Joseph-Ogden girls’ basketball team advanced to the semifinals of the 2017 State Farm Holiday Classic in Bloomington-Normal on Thursday on a last second shot by sophomore Hannah Dukeman, and earned the right to play top-seeded Annawan on Friday in a game that would put the winner in the championship game.

The Lady Spartans hung tight with the Bravettes for a quarter, but in the second quarter, Annawan pulled away and would never look back.  SJO had no match for the Bravettes’ senior leader, Jayde Van Hyfte, who scored 40 points in leading her team to a 60-42 victory over the Lady Spartans at Normal Community High School.  Van Hyfte, who is headed to Arizona State next fall to continue her basketball career, comes from a long line of family members who have gone on to the next level to play.

Bree Trimble led SJO (11-5) with 17 points, while Peyton Crowe added 14.  Only three other Lady Spartans scored in the game, with Maclayne Taylor scoring 6, while Hannah Dukeman and Katelyn Berry added 3 and 2 points, respectively.  The Spartans only got to the free throw line three times, making two of those attempts. 

Annawan, who is the defending state champions in Class 1A, improves to 15-0 on the season and appears to be well on their way to attempting to defend their title.  Besides Van Hyfte’s 40 points, Kendall Gripp added 7 points, while Jordyn Sierens chipped in 6.  The Bravettes went to the foul line 22 times in the game, but didn’t shoot very well from that vantage point, only making 8 of those attempts. 

The Lady Spartans will take on Bloomington Central Catholic on Saturday morning at 9:00 am for third place in the small school girls division, and will be on the big stage at the Shirk Center on the campus of Illinois Wesleyan University. 

On the boys’ side of the bracket, following their loss to Quincy Notre Dame on Thursday night, the Spartans finished their appearance in the 2017 classic by winning a pair of games to capture fifth place in the small school boys’ division. 

In their first game of the day, the Spartans defeated the Rockets of Rock Falls 54-53 behind 27 points from senior Bryce Haake.  Jordan Brooks, who was scoreless against the Raiders on Thursday night, came back to score 10 points for SJO, while Joel Orcutt added 8.  The Spartans shot 8 of 16 from the free throw line in the contest, but still managed to squeak out the victory.  Dylan Leaf led the Rockets in scoring with a game-high 28 points.  Rock Falls was 10 for 19 from foul line in the loss. 

The Spartans came back later Friday evening for their second game of the day, and used balanced scoring to defeat the Braves of Annawan 68-67 as Bryce Haake made two free throws with no time remaining on the clock to give SJO the victory.  Haake finished with 16 points, while Jordan Brooks added 14.  Jack Cook and Riley Baker each scored 13 points for the Spartans (11-1), who once again struggled from the free throw line, making only 5 of their 11 attempts.  Annawan had five players in double figures, led by Ben Buresh, who had a game-high 18 points.  Brendon Shaw added 13, while Dylan Thurston scored 12 for the Braves, who were 11 for 20 from the foul line. 

The Spartans will be idle until their appearance in the 2018 Christie Clinic Shootout at SJO High School on Saturday, January 6th.  The Spartans will play Shelbyville in the 6:00 pm game, the fifth of six games that day in the shootout.

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