U-High 58, Mahomet-Seymour 38
Pioneers Recoup To Beat Bulldogs In Season Finale

February 25, 2006
The Mahomet Citizen

NORMAL – Mahomet-Seymour High’s boys’ basketball regular season-finale at Normal U-High was worth talking about for one quarter.

After that, however, the rest of the Bulldogs’ evening went so astray from how the Bulldogs have played this season that head coach Brett Hersom declined comment following the Pioneers’ 58-38 Corn Belt Conference win here Friday.

The Bulldogs manhandled their hosts in the first quarter, taking a rapid 7-0 lead on the strength of deuces by Tanner Robberstad and Mark McClughen, and a trey at 4:22 by Ben Davis.

U-High senior Seth Doran would score U-High’s first bucket on the night with 3:04 left in the quarter, cutting the Bulldogs’ lead to 7-2, before the Bulldog offense would rev up again on a deuce by Jared Bosch, followed by an unanswered trey by Davis, putting M-SHS up, 12-2 with 1:40 in the period.

Jared Willard added a deuce with 59 seconds left giving M-SHS (15-12, 7-7 Corn Belt) a 14-4 lead going into the second quarter.

But after that, Willard turned out to be the last man to score from the field for

M-SHS almost 14 minutes, as the Pioneers defense shut down the Bulldogs while the host offense regrouped enough to muster a 6-0 run as the second period opened, on the strength of free throws by Drew Miller and deuces by Miller and Jeff Higgins, cutting

M-SHS’ lead to 14-10, with 6:17 left.

Only McClughen going 1-for-2 at the free throw line, improving M-SHS’ lead to 15-10 with 5:45 until halftime, would interrupt the Pioneers before they would go on a

7-0 scoring frenzy, which featured a trey by Miller, which would pull the Pioneers within two, 15-13.

Higgins would tie the game 15-all at 4:34, and Matt Anderson would add an unanswered basket at 3:15 in the period to put the Pioneers up for good, 17-15, at intermission.

Normal U-High (13-13, 7-7 Corn Belt) opened the third quarter with a 9-0 run behind a basket by Anderson, and treys by Tyler Cook and Seth Doran, in addition to a Doran free throw, to give the Pioneers a 9-0 jump start, increasing their lead to 26-15 with 6:06 left in the quarter.

Down 33-19 with 2:05 left in the third quarter, M-SHS’ scoring drought from the floor ended on a steal and layup by Jon Toomer, cutting U-High’s lead to 33-19, but U-High would have a 39-19 lead going into the fourth quarter.

On his way to an 11-point night to lead his team, Davis would hit a trey to open the fourth quarter, cutting U-High lead 39-22.

But there was only frustration and not recovery for M-SHS the rest of the evening, whose bench was assessed a technical foul with 4:18 remaining.

Doran led all scorers with 18 points, followed by 16 from Higgins, and 11 by Miller.


Farmer City
City Raising Ambulance Rates

February 24, 2006
Champaign-Urbana News Gazette

FARMER CITY – The cost of ambulance service has been increased in Farmer City. After six years of no increases, the city has increased the cost of an ambulance run.

The change goes into effect immediately, said David Joswiak, city manager for Farmer City, in his report to the city council at Monday’s meeting at City Hall.

The base rate paid for an ambulance run – whether a person lives within or outside the city limits – is going up by $100.

Joswiak said Medicare, looking to simplify its own paperwork, told ambulance services like Farmer City’s that, effective Jan. 1, 2006, it wanted a single bill with a single dollar amount being requested for quicker processing of reimbursements.

In response to Medicare’s mandate, Farmer City has divided emergency response into two categories, and then, based on the categories, increased the amount each service would cost.

Under the prior guidelines, the city had a base rate of $300 per ambulance run.

To comply with Medicare’s new guidelines, the city has divided emergency services requiring ambulance service into two categories.

The first category, Joswiak said, is considered basic service, with a $400 per call tab for city residents and $500 for people outside the city limits.

Basic service would include basic transportation to a medical facility with calls being handled by an emergency medical technician.

The newer category of service is called advanced service, Joswiak said. It would cost $500 per call in-city and $600 outside the city. Specialized care such as use of a heart monitor or an I.V. would fall into this category.

The average bill for an ambulance call would jump by 25 percent, Joswiak said. But, he was quick to add that while that sounds hefty, it really isn’t if residents consider that over the last six years, the average increase in cost for the service has only been roughly 4 percent annually.

“Doing this lessons the need for (the use of) city tax dollars to fund the ambulance service,” Joswiak said. “There should be less of a need for taxes to be used (if the funding is handled this way).”

Staffing Issues: The town’s ambulance service has an all-volunteer, all part-time staff of 15 and keeps one paramedic and one EMT on call. They are paid $3 an hour plus a flat fee per call.

IHSA Bloomington Sectional
Flanagan Upends Illini Bluffs, 65-59, In Sectional Match

February 13, 2006

BLOOMINGTON – Illini Bluffs’ girls’ basketball game against Flanagan Monday was one for the “almost” file.

The Tigers, trying to advance to Thursday’s Sectional championship, clawed through almost three quarters before falling to Flanagan, 65-59, at Central Catholic High School here Monday night.

Flanagan (26-3) advances to Thursday’s Sectional championship, taking on the winner of the evening’s second contest, host Bloomington Central Catholic against El Paso Gridley.

Under head coach Jim Robertson, the Tigers end their season with a 22-9 record.

Part of the difficulty I-B had was that usually reliable Kate Gonigam was only in for one quarter, playing only that long due to stomach virus. She exited only having scored one deuce all night, and giving I-B a chance to show they could survive without her at her regular position.

I-B battled back early in the first quarter, down 8-4, turning matters around with a trey from Kelsie Greenleaf at 5:53, who followed up with two additional baskets in the period to put up 13-10 with 2:25 remaining.

The scoring see-sawed in the last minute, the teams going into the second quarter with a 17-17 tie.

The second quarter started and ended on back-to-back buckets for I-B, as Lindsey Jarrett hit back-to-back unanswered deuces to open the second quarter, allowing I-B a 23-19 lead with seven minutes until halftime.

In-between those points scored by the Tigers, Flanagan’s offense sputtered until, with I-B leading 30-26, the Lady Falcons went on a 6-0 run thanks to deuces by Meganne Forney, Caitlyn Jones, and Kelsie Laughlin, pulled the Lady Falcons in front, 32-30, at 1:49.

I-B owned a 34-32 lead at intermission.

I-B held onto its lead, complete with treys by Kirsten Garst and Stephani Schaefer opening the third quarter. But the Lady Falcons used the third quarter to wear down the Tigers, which was evident following Megan Laughlin’s buzzer-beater which gave the Lady Falcons a permanent lead going into the fourth quarter, leading I-B, 51-49.

Brittany Leonard led Flanagan with 15 points, followed by Megan Laughlin’s 12.

“(Flanagan) gained my respect tonight,” Robertson said. “The Laughlin girls and Leonard were tough. (Leonard’s) pressure was always there. Flanagan’s pressure was always there and I think we handled it very well for almost three quarters, but I think it started to wear on us a little bit.”

Hitting seven field goals and going 6 for 7 from the free throw line, Jessica Vaughn led I-B with 20 points on the night. Vaughn also tallied six assists and four blocks.

From the field, I-B shot 24-of-45, or 53 percent, while Flanagan shot 27-of-64, or 42 percent successfully from the field.

“We held them down, but as the score got into the higher digits, into the 60’s, I thought that meant things were going to start tipping in (Flanagan’s) favor,” Robertson said.

Bradley 71, ISU 59
BU Braves Sweep Season Series With Comeback Victory

February 12, 2006

NORMAL – Bradley had a key assignment handed them for the second half of their second rivalry game against Illinois State at Redbird Arena Saturday.

Trailing at halftime, 33-30, BU head coach Jim Les repeated what he has tried to get his team to do for the last few games without much luck: Get sophomore Patrick O’Bryant the ball in an attempt to increase scoring chances.

By the second half of the game, BU was able to do that successfully enough that the 5 foot-10 sophomore center led the way in the Braves’ 71-59 Missouri Valley Conference win before 8,388 fans and a local television audience.

ISU opened the second half owning a 36-33 lead, but unanswered back-to-back baskets by BU, including a trey by senior forward Marcellus Sommerville, put BU up, 38-36, with 16:56 to go.

There would be three ties – the last one, 44-all, following a free throw by ISU sophomore center Levi Dyer with 12:24 left in the game. Dyer’s free throw was in answer to a technical foul called against the Bradley bench.

But following that, a free throw by senior forward Lawrence Wright at 11:12, followed by a jumper by Sommerville at 10:17, in effect, gave the Braves their 14th victory.

The Rundown: BU (14-9, 8-7 MVC) jumped out to fast 5-0 lead to start the contest, thanks to O’Bryant sinking two jumpers and making one free throw within the game’s first minute and a half.

ISU (8-15, 3-12), behind sophomore Levi Dyer’s trey at 18:01, cut the lead to 5-3, but BU went on a 10-0 romp, putting the Braves up, 15-3 at 15:39.

ISU steadily roared back behind baskets by senior guard Greg Dilligard and two treys each by Dyer and junior guard Roberto Fortes, allowing the Redbirds to tie the game 24-all with 7:11 left.

From there, each team would sink a basket to exchange the lead before Plank’s jumper at 4:27 would put ISU up, 30-27. From there, BU would chase ISU until the half ended.

“First of all, they made shots,” Les said of the Redbirds in the first half. “We adjusted the way we were playing some of our sets because they were knocking in shots. We just talked about staying after it, keeping the pressure up.

“I told them I believed in the law of averages,” Les said. “I told them, ‘hang in there. Don’t drop your heads. We just need to stay after them.’”

“Coach had been stressing all year to (us to) get the ball to Pat

inside,” said Braves guard Daniel Ruffin. “I mean, we’ve tried our best, and today, it worked out. He did a lot of good things out there today. And now, hopefully, we’ll keep it up.”

Once O’Bryant got the ball in the second half, ISU could do little to stop him or the rest of the BU offense, as O’Bryant led all scorers with a career-high 23 points, including sinking 9 of 10 free throws, and four blocks on the afternoon.

O’Bryant was followed in double-figures by Sommerville with 18 and 16 from Ruffin.

Four Redbirds players found double-figures, led by Dyer, who scored 16. He was joined by Dilligard with 14, Plank with 13, and 11 from Fortes.

For O’Bryant himself, he theorized that the change in how he played could have been related to “the fact that it’s one of the two or three biggest games of the year for us, what with (ISU) being right down the street, you know, (I was) just a little bit more pumped up for this game, I guess.”

ISU struggled with second half shooting, making just 8 of 25, as opposed to going 13 for 28 in the first half which allowed them to lead at the half. BU junior guard J. J. Tauai said advice the team received at halftime from Les and the coaching staff seemed to ring true in the second half.

Bradley made 10-of-29 in the first half, but increased that number to 11-of-25 in the second half.

“When we went in at halftime, coach said (ISU) made a lot of tough shots. He said we pressured them (well) in the first half and in the second half to just do the same thing,” Tauai explained of Les’ instructions. “We’ll just play the percentages. Eventually, they will start missing. That’s what they did.”

Fortes said ISU learned a lesson from this game: “We need to learn how to finish off games, how to win our games. A 5 minutes to go, 3 minutes to go, we were down seven. We had a couple segments where we couldn’t put the ball in the basket…that’s just something we need to get better at.”

ISU head coach Porter Moser called BU’s strategy of trying to get the ball to O’Bryant “a great game plan.

“(O’Bryant) is the kind of guy who gets those kinds of (passes to him), and there were times we had three guys around him,” Moser said. “He was a load. He was dominant.”



Central Catholic 70, Mahomet-Seymour 50
Saints Outpace Bulldogs All Night In Victory

February 4, 2006
The Mahomet Citizen

BLOOMINGTON – The retooling process continues for Mahomet-Seymour High’s boys’ basketball team, as the team continues to jockey rotations in light of the benching of senior Jason Seaman.

M-S HS’ remaining seniors, joined by their junior teammates, tried to keep pace against Bloomington Central Catholic, only to fall, 70-50, Friday night in a Corn Belt Conference contest.

A trio of threes – two scored by BCC’s Tom Norton and a third by Justin Safford – put BCC out in front quickly, causing the Saints’ 19-10 lead at the end of the first quarter. M-S HS’ Ben Davis’ trey with 3:55 in the period helped to keep the Bulldogs close.

BCC (18-4, 10-1 Corn Belt) would outscore the Bulldogs 18-12 in the second quarter, but treys by Tanner Robberstad at 5:56 and Mark McClughen at 4:30 in the period would help narrow the gap. McClughen’s bucket would cut BCC’s lead to 25-18, but that would be the closest M-S HS would come all contest.

McClughen and Davis would lead the scoring for M-S HS (14-9, 6-5 Corn Belt) each man pocketing 11 points.

BCC would go into halftime with a 37-22 lead, and increase that margin to 57-32 to open the fourth quarter.

“(Central Catholic) was hot,” said M-S HS head coach Mike Radliff afterward. “Their field goal percentage was astronomical. “We played a lot better the second half. (BCC) didn’t shoot as well that half. We made some adjustments.”

With Seaman benched since the game against Prairie Central, the adjustment period continued to be in progress against the Saints, in front of a packed crowd of about 1,600 at the John R. Snyder Gymnasium.

“Right now, we need to retool our offense and figure out some things on where to go (from here),” Radliff continued. “Our rotations are thrown off with (Seaman) gone, and we have a week now to figure it out.”

Radliff said retooling means asking his juniors on the team to fill in on the floor a little more often. “We have a great junior class,” Radliff said. “We’re just going to have to go them more.

“They are a really good junior class,” Radliff said, emphasizing that the players that his juniors won State in junior high.

Saints head coach Jeff Wulbrun apparently detected how his team would do on the night even before the opening tip-off.

“Our guys got off to a good start, had a nice bounce in their step before the game, a good look in their eyes, and I thought they did a real good job defensively in the first half,” he explained.

Wulbrun credited the Bulldogs with employing “great penetration” against his offense.

Although M-S HS did a good defensive job, they could not stop BCC’s Matt Pelton from lending 14 assists on the night, coming one short of setting a new school record.

Four Saints players landed in double-figures, led by Josh Brent with 14 points. He was followed by 13 from Safford, 12 from Paul Kabbes, and Norton’s 11.

The Bulldogs’ junior varsity squad fought back from being 16 points down at halftime, only to lose to BCC, 59-50.