The Pinckneyville and Goreville boys basketball teams have a chance to make their special seasons even more memorable this weekend when they compete at the IHSA State Tournament at Carver Arena in Peoria.
Pinckneyville defeated Mount Carmel, 60-47, in overtime to win the Carbondale Class 2A Super-Sectional Tuesday night.
The Panthers (31-3), who are hoping to win the fourth state championship in program history, face Winnebago (29-2) in the semifinals at 5:30 p.m. today. The Indians come in to the event on a five-game winning streak after defeating Chicago Corliss, 58-55, in the
“They are very similar to Mount Carmel,” Pinckneyville coach Bob Waggoner said of Winnebago. “They are maybe a little more athletic at guard, but they also play two bigs at the same time together. Their physical stature is very similar to Mount Carmel. But their pace of play is a little different because they like to play more up tempo.”
The Indians are led by 6-foot-9, 235-pound center, Andrew Morrissey. The senior post player averages 20 points and 15 rebounds per game. Ty Waller, a 6-2 guard, averages 17 points a night.
“They get up and down and like to press,” Waggoner said. “They’ll play some diamond trap defense. Their pace of play is more of what we like.”
The Panthers are led in scoring by three guards. Grant Jausel (14 ppg), J.C. Moll (13 ppg), and Dawson Yates (11 ppg) have played very well for Pinckneyville all season.
Moll was a major reason why Pinckneyville was able to send the game to overtime and win it in the extra four minutes against Mount Carmel. The senior racked up a game-high 22 points.
“He’s been through the wars; he’s a four-year player,” Waggoner said of Moll. “He might be a little out there, but I’m telling you what, there is some college out there that’s missing out on him. I’ve been saying it over and over, he is a big-time player. They need to be taking a look at him because he makes big plays, and he did it again.”
Chicago Orr (28-4) plays Bloomington Central Catholic (25-6) in the other 2A semifinal, which tips off at 7:15 p.m.
Goreville (23-11) is looking to claim its first state title in boys basketball. The Blackcats battle Okawville (25-8) in the Class 1A semifinals at 12:45 p.m. today.
In the Carbondale Class 1A Super-Sectional, Goreville led nearly the entire game, most of it by fairly comfortable margins. The Blackcats beat Central A&M, 74-61, in a game where 70 free throws were attempted.
Okawville defeated Peoria’s Quest Charter Academy, 65-64, in double overtime in the Jacksonville Super-Sectional.
“We played each other at state in baseball a couple years, so we’re familiar with each other, just in a different sport,” said Goreville coach Todd Tripp. “They lost an excellent player from last year (Noah Frederking), but they’re still very good. Their guards shoot the ball well and handle it well and get up in you and guard. They do the same thing every year, and they’re really good at it.”
The Rockets finished as the state runner-up in Class 1A a year ago. Okawville hasn’t lost a game since late January and are riding a 10-game winning streak.
Luke Hensler, a 6-7 forward, leads Okawville in scoring at 15 points per game. Payten Harre, a 5-10 guard, averages 10 per contest.
“Coach (Jon) Kraus does a great job, and they play good basketball,” Tripp said. “That’s what we have to do, too. We have to do the little things well. The team that makes less mistakes and guards a little better will probably win this game.”
Goreville is led in scoring by senior guard Braden Webb, who has amassed more than 2,000 career points and is the school’s all-time leading scorer. Tanner Dunn (6-3, forward) and Peyton Massey (5-10, guard) both average 11 points per game.
It says a lot about Goreville’s team as whole that it was able to earn a double-digit victory over Central A&M despite Webb having a bad shooting night. Webb shot just 4-for-18 from the field and 6-for-13 from the foul line for 14 points. But he did grab 11 rebounds to go along with four steals and three assists.
Massey and Dunn combined for 35 points in that big win.
“That was very impressive, and we felt like our bench also did a great job,” Tripp said. “We had four guys coming off the bench that did a good job to help us maintain the lead. Massey stepped up his game and scores 19, but it really was a total team effort.”
Newman Central Catholic (28-4) plays Annawan (30-3) in the first 1A semifinal at 11 a.m.