Posted Online: Feb. 17, 2013, 7:12 pm
Class 1A Bloomington Super-Sectional: Annawan (28-2) vs. Iroquois West (22-9)
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By Terry Duckett, firstname.lastname@example.org
Tonight: The Annawan Bravettes return to the Elite Eight for the second straight season as they face the Raiders of Gilman Iroquois West in the Class 1A Bloomington Super-Sectional. Tip-off is 7:30 p.m. at Illinois Wesleyan University's Shirk Center.
Directions to IWU: For Annawan fans, take Illinois 78 south to U.S. 150 and then to I-74. Head east through the Peoria area before getting onto I-55 just as you enter the Bloomington-Normal area. Exit onto U.S. Business Route 51 (North Main Street in Normal) and head south into Bloomington until you come to East Emerson Street. Hang a left and look for the Shirk Center on the left-hand side.
How they got here: Annawan's postseason road began with a pair of regional wins on its home court against Lincoln Trail Conference rivals. After dispatching ROWVA 67-20, the Bravettes topped Wethersfield 75-59 in the regional finals. At the Oglesby Sectional, Annawan then handled Newark (46-21) and Hinckley-Big Rock (64-44).
Iroquois West also began with a home-court regional, sweeping Cullom Tri-Point (58-45) and St. Anne (51-40) to capture the crown, before besting Danville Schlarman 55-44 in the Fisher Sectional semifinals to set up the Raiders' 46-35 title-game win over LeRoy -- the team that ended Annawan's season in last year's super-sectional at IWU.
Postseason histories: This is the second straight sectional-title run for Annawan and just the third in the program's 39-year history to go with the Bravettes' 1978 sectional championship; they are 0-2 in previous super-sectional games.... Iroquois West is coming off just its second-ever sectional title; the Raiders' previous crown came in 2003 when they went 31-3 and reached the Class A state quarterfinals.
Annawan starters: G: Morgan VanHyfte (5-10 Fr., 5.5 ppg, 3.5 spg, 2.5 apg) and Maddie Jackson (5-8 Jr., 6.0 ppg, 3.5 spg, 3.0 apg). C: Celina VanHyfte (6-0 Jr., 24.0 ppg, 9.0 rpg). F: Megan Foes (5-9 Jr., 10.0 ppg, 5.0 rpg, 3.5 apg, 3.0 spg) and Paige Randall (5-10 Jr., 5.0 ppg, 5.0 rpg, 3.0 apg).
Annawan coach Jason Burkiewicz: "They've got a couple of 6-footers, so they match up well with us, size-wise. But their guard play, we can take advantage of by applying pressure with our zone traps. They play a 2-3-2 zone, and the last three years (prior to 2012-13), we had eight losses, six coming to zone teams, so we put two and two together this year. That's been our Achilles' heel, but we've dedicated ourselves to attacking it, and haven't lost to a team playing zone yet this season.''
-- By Terry Duckett