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Sports editor

Les Winkeler is sports editor and outdoors writer for The Southern Illinoisan.

Streams of unconsciousness from the world of sports:

Congrats to Nashville: The Nashville Hornets completed an outstanding season by placing second in the Illinois High School Association’s 2A state tournament.

Nashville was the most consistent team in Southern Illinois this year. Saturday night, they just weren’t good enough to get past Chicago Orr. The Chicago Public League team bested Nashville 50-36 to earn its third straight state title.

The championship game loss left Nashville coach Wayne Harre a bit shy of a historical marker. No Illinois high school coach has ever won a boys and girls state championship. Harre’s Hornettes won the state title in 2013.

Since Saturday night’s title game, there have been statewide complaints about an unfair system. As a member of the Chicago Public League, Chicago Orr has the benefit of open boundaries. On the other hand, the school’s enrollment is subject to a 1.65 multiplier.

It would be nice if the state didn’t get through a state championship series without the chronic complaints.

Is the system perfect? Since it was designed by humans, I’m guessing not. On the other hand, why diminish the accomplishments of the Nashville squad by making excuses? The season Nashville put together is not diminished by the engraving on the trophy the team received.

For the record, the system is not stacked against downstate schools. Since 2010, these schools, located in the southern third of Illinois have won state championships: Robinson (2A, 2010), Woodlawn (1A, 2012), Breese Central (2A, 2012), Harrisburg (2A, 2013), Belleville Althoff (3A, 2016), Okawville (1A, 2018).

And, these teams finished second: Murphysboro (2A, 2011), Madison (1A, 2013), Cahokia (3A, 2013), Nashville (2A, 2014), Madison (1A, 2015), Belleville Althoff (3A, 2015), Okawville (1A, 2017), Mount Carmel (2A, 2018).

Sean Lloyd: In the aftermath of Southern Illinois University’s 71-68 loss to Northern Iowa and coach Barry Hinson’s subsequent resignation, Sean Lloyd scoring 1,000 points has been lost in the shuffle.

Lloyd came into the UNI game needing just four points to reach the milestone. When he made a 3-pointer in the first minutes of the game, Lloyd seemed a cinch to become the 47th player in SIU history to score 1,000 points.

Teammate Armon Fletcher joined the elite group earlier this season.

As the game wore on, Lloyd got few shots. Normally, Lloyd can break down defenses on strong moves to the basket, but UNI seemed to close off all the driving lanes. And, the 6-foot-5 guard is adept at scoring on offensive rebounds.

However, Lloyd quickly kicked the ball out every time he picked off a rebound.

Finally, Lloyd scored on a drive through traffic in the final three minutes of the contest. He finished his career with 1,001 points. It’s not a huge difference, but 1,001 looks a lot better than 999.

Turnabout: The Saluki men defeated Northern Iowa twice during the regular season, but fell to the Panthers in the MVC tournament, fulfilling the old adage that it’s difficult to beat a good team three times.

The roles are reversed for the women’s MVC tournament this weekend. The Saluki women lost twice to Northern Iowa during the regular season. As the sixth seed, the Salukis drew third-seeded Northern Iowa for the first round game.

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LES WINKELER is the sports editor for The Southern Illinoisan. Contact him at les.winkeler@thesouthern.com, or call 618-351-5088 / On Twitter @LesWinkeler.

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