In the final week of the Western Big 6 Conference girls basketball season, all the hay is in the barn. The top three spots are already determined, the scoring and rebounding titles aren't really in doubt, but momentum is at stake.
This is the final game for everyone before heading into the post-season and no one wants to start regionals coming off a loss. These regional tournaments are the toughest in recent memory, and there could be a rematch of the final Big 6 week in the 3A regional title game between Galesburg and Alleman.
The local Class 4A regional road goes right through Peoria Richwoods. United Township will get its third shot at knocking off Rock Island in the opening round before the winner will play the Knights on their home court. Further south, Quincy has to play state-ranked Springfield in the opener, just to get to nationally-ranked Edwardsville.
But before getting into the post-season, teams have one more chance to get themselves ready.
Galesburg (17-12, 5-4 WB6) at Alleman (15-13, 2-7 WB6): These two teams are trending in opposite directions, and with regionals right around the corner, could be seeing each other next Thursday for the regional title. The stakes aren't as high tonight. The only thing up for grabs is position for Alleman. The Pioneers have been in last place in the Western Big 6 since week 1, but would jump up to 4th tonight with a win. The return of senior star Zoe Kelso has sparked the Pioneers to play their best basketball of the season. Alleman has won four of its last five games, and with a win tonight will guarantee another winning season. Galesburg is trending the other way, as the Streaks have lost five straight games. Losing a sixth straight isn't the way the Streaks want to go into the post-season. Seniors Jessica Lieber and Sharron Diggins will no doubt lead with a sense of urgency. Twitter: @ChrisSteele_DA
United Township (18-11, 7-2 WB6) at Moline (9-19, 2-7 WB6):Moline's Maroons came into last week's game against Rock Island feeling disrespected by this column and did everything they could to prove it wrong, nearly pulling off an improbable comeback. That inspired play in a one-point overtime losscarried over to a win over Peoria High on Saturday. So, after losing five straight, the Maroons have won two of their last three. United Township wants to cap a Western Big 6 season that may have been the biggest surprise of the year. The Panthers nearly defended their title share from a year ago with an entirely new starting lineup. They've done it through tough-nosed defense. Last time these two teams played, they combined for just 61 points, expect the same tonight. If either team gets to 40, it could be considered a barn-burner. Twitter: @ASandoval_DA
Rock Island (23-3, 9-0 WB6) at Quincy (11-11, 2-7 WB6): Well the Rocks are trying to put themselves into elite company. Only 12 times in the 35-year history of the conference have the champions gone 10-0, the Rocks could be No. 13.The trip down to Quincy is always like going into the Bermuda triangle, though, and Quincy has been on the verge of upsets all season. The Blue Devils are going to make it tough for the Rocks, but being perfect comes with a price. Twitter: @SchuckDaddy
Today is Saturday, Dec. 7, the 341st day of 2013. There are 24 days left in the year. 1863 -- 150 years ago: Some excitement was created in our corn market today by two new buyers who ran the price up to 62 cents per bushel. 1888 -- 125 years ago: H.C. Connelly sold the Johnson property at the corner of 2nd Ave. and 15th St. to A.C. Schafer for $1,800. 1913 -- 100 years ago: O.W. Billings and George P. Herzog have opened a new ready-to-wear shop at 1611-13 2nd Ave. 1938 -- 75 years ago: Farmers in this section of Illinois are preparing to seal part of their 1938 corn crop and receive government loans on it up to 57 cents per bushel, depending on the quality and storage conditions. 1963 -- 50 years ago: Dohrn Transfer Co. is displaying its new general headquarters for its nine-state operations at 4016 9th St., Rock Island, today to its employees and tomorrow to its customers. 1988 -- 25 years ago: In 30 minutes under a Tuesday afternoon sun at the Kmart store in Moline, millionaire columnist Percy Ross raised $1,400 for the Salvation Army.