Tonight's Western Big 6 Conference girls matchups could give us a conference champion, but will definitely show us who is ready for the post-season.|
With most teams having just three games left after tonight, regionals loom in the not-so-distant future.
To the task at hand, though.
There is nothing more exciting than Galesburg at Rock Island. The Rocks (21-2, 7-0 Big 6) are ranked No. 6 in the state, moving up after dismantling United Township on the road last week and can wrap up the WB6 crown with a win tonight. A win would put the Streaks (17-9, 5-2) two games back, and UT at least two back as well with two to play and the Rocks having swept both chasing teams.
The Streaks and Rocks met more than a month ago in Galesburg and it has taken me this long to have an opinion on it.
The good? They combined for 154 points which is almost unheard of in a girls game.
The bad? There were 72 turnovers and 60 fouls in 32 minutes of basketball. Do the math, that's a turnover every 26.7 seconds and a foul every 32 seconds.
After talking about that game with both coaches and multiple officiating crews, I've decided that dispite all the stoppages, it was a great game.
One of the reasons there are so many fouls and turnovers is that the system challenges the officials on how to call the game. To be consistent if they call it tight, they have to call everything. With each team playing 15-16 girls, there are a lot of fouls to go around.
The first game was also relatively early in the season and I would expect tonight to be a pretty thrilling contest with both sets of girls ready to prove they're the best in the league.
Galesburg (17-9, 5-2 WB6) at Rock Island (21-2, 7-0 WB6): The Rocks could win the Big 6 title for the second straight season with a win over the Streaks tonight. Never before has Rocky won back-to-back titles. Of their five WB6 crowns only once have the Rocks won it outright; that came in 1985-86 season when they went 10-0. Rocky is fresh, coming off a weekend without a game after the hard-fought win in the Panther Den. The Rocks are also getting more balanced scoring and not depending on Shavonne Brewer to always provide offense. Confident 3-point shooting from Carlee Hoover, Jacqueline and Morgan Twing, along with solid bench play has made the Rocks a big-time threat. … The Streaks are coming off a long weekend with losses to Normal U-High and Morton after beating Peoria Notre Dame. Despite the two losses, they continued to receive attention in the state poll, garnering one vote. In the loss to U-High, star Jessica Lieber had to leave with a head injury but came back and played against Morton, although the Potters held her to just one basket. To beat the Rocks, the Streaks will have to shoot better from the 3-point line than they did the first time around (18 percent) and hope to keep Rocky from doing the same. … It should be a high-intensity game, that's as thrilling as prep girls basketball gets.
Alleman (13-12, 1-6 WB6) at United Township (15-10, 5-2 WB6): The UT Panthers have been through the gauntlet in the last week. They played five games in six days with four of them against teams ranked in the top 10 in the state. After losing to the Rocks and seeing their hopes for a Western Big 6 title repeat start to slip away last Thursday, they rebounded with their best win of the season, a 51-49 victory over Champaign Centennial, which was ranked No. 3 in 3A. They followed that with a drubbing by 3A's 8th-ranked Morton, but UT beat Peoria Notre Dame on Monday. Tuesday, the Panthers lost to 4A 8th-ranked DeKalb, 23-17. There's no rest for the weary either with the Pioneers coming to town. … Alleman is riding a wave of confidence since the new year, and after getting its first conference win last week, the Pioneers are out to prove they don't belong in the basement of the league. It's going to be a defensive battle with two coaches who know how to keep other teams off the scoreboard. It would be an upset only because of their Big 6 records should Alleman win. Both quality teams heading into the stretch run.
Moline (7-17, 2-5) at Quincy (9-9, 1-6 WB6): Both of these teams are desperate for a win. The Maroons haven't won a game in 2013, and Coach Steve Ford has been stuck on win No. 300 for nearly a month. … Quincy isn't doing all that much better, having lost three straight. ...Both teams need some wins to gain confidence for the post-season where they each face big-time talent in their respective regionals.
Western Big 6 girls' champs
Galesburg - 13
Moline - 11
United Township - 6
Rock Island - 5
Quincy - 3
Alleman - 2
Milan, IL Details
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