Who will be the 2013 Hall of Famers?


Who will be the 2013 Hall of Famers?

The class of 2012 for the Illinois High School Basketball Hall of Fame and Museum in Pinckneyville was inducted last Saturday. The group of 25 included Johnny Kerr, Rich Falk, Sergio McClain, Natasha Pointer, Lloyd Batts, Joe Ruklick, Greg Starrick, Steve Kuberski, Bob Owens, Tom Cole and Rod Fletcher.

So who will fill out the class of 2013? Who will be the 10 representatives from the pre-1960s? Ten from the post-1960s? Five women?

Instead of getting easier, it gets more difficult for the selection committee. There are many worthy candidates--and all of them will eventually be enshrined in the Hall of Fame. But the committee bases its annual choices on quality and exclusiveness, not quantity and inclusiveness.

Players who almost-but-not-quite earned spots in the class of 2012 figure to be inducted in 2013.

The elite list includes Perry Barclift of Quincy, Champaign's Jesse Clements, Corey Maggette of Fenwick, Hiles Stout of Peoria Central, John Tidwell of Herrin, Walter (Junior) Kirk of Mount Vernon, Bob (Chick) Doster of Decatur, Sam Puckett of Hales Franciscan, Terry Cummings of Carver, Dwyane Wade of Richards, Billy Harris of Dunbar and Jay Lovelace of Carbondale.

Barclift is probably the least known of the many great players produced in Quincy over the decades. Probably because he was the first. He earned his stripes by leading the Blue Devils to the 1934 state championship by upsetting defending champion Thornton and Lou Boudreau 39-27.

Barclift scored 22 points in the state final, the most by any player up to that point and the most until Mount Vernon's Max Hooper scored 36 in 1950. Barclift also shared scoring honors in the four-game event and was the leading vote-getter on the all-tournament team, ahead of Boudreau.

Barclift scored 309 points as a senior and 486 in his career, Quincy's all-time record when he graduated. In two years, his teams went 49-6. He went on to play at Western Illinois and was the first person inducted into Quincy's Sports Hall of Fame in 1987.

Barclift's performance in the state title game caused University of Illinois coach Craig Ruby to tell reporters: 'Quincy is the greatest high school basketball team I have ever seen and that Perry Barclift is the headiest and best player. That boy is to high school basketball what (St. Louis Cardinals star) Pepper Martin was to baseball," said Quincy historian Tom Oakley.

Wade, a Richards graduate of 2000, was a late developer in high school. He grew four inches before his junior year and began to see more playing time. As a junior, he averaged 20.7 points and 7.6 rebounds. As a senior, he averaged 27 points and 11 rebounds while leading his team to a 24-5 record and the sectional final.

Maggette was one of the premier players in the class of 1998, which generally is compared to 1979 (Isiah Thomas, Terry Cummings) as the best class ever produced in Illinois.

Cummings was a two-time All-Stater at Carver. He averaged 16.4 points in 85 games at DePaul, was a first-round choice in the NBA draft in 1983, was Rookie of the Year and played in the NBA for 18 years.

Harris, a 6-foot-3 guard at Dunbar, was a playground legend in Chicago. He averaged 26 points per game as a junior and 33 as a senior. In a game against city power Du Sable in 1969, he converted 27 of 39 shots for 57 points, including 41 in the second half. Admirers still wonder how many points he would have scored in the three-point shooting era.

Puckett, a mercurial 5-foot-9 guard at Hales Franciscan, is sometimes lost to history because he played before the Chicago Catholic League joined the Illinois High School Association. He scored more than 2,600 points from 1967-70 to rank among the top 20 scorers in state history. He led Hales to three consecutive National Catholic Tournament championships. Isiah Thomas said Puckett was the best player he ever saw.

Stout was a three-sport All-Stater. He scored 1,546 points in his career, most in the Peoria area. He led Peoria Central to a 29-4 record and second place in the 1953 state tournament. A member of the Greater Peoria Sports Hall of Fame, he also was a standout quarterback in football and first baseball in baseball. He later played at Illinois.

Clements, Ted Beach and Rod Fletcher and Jim Cottrell notwithstanding, was perhaps the most outstanding player produced by Champaign coach Harry Combes during his sensational run in the 1940s. He was an All-Stater in 1944 and 1945, leading Champaign to third and second-place finishes in the state tournament. He also was a two-time all-tournament choice. His teams finished 31-6 and 34-2.

Kirk, an All-Stater at Mount Vernon in 1942, played in the shadow of Centralia legend Dike Eddleman. He went on to play at Illinois and with six professional teams from 1947 to 1952. In 1945, he led Illinois in scoring with 10.6 points per game, was team captain and earned All-America recognition.

Doster led Decatur to a 37-2 record and the 1945 state championship. The 6-foot-1 senior scored 18 points as Decatur defeated conference rival Champaign 62-54 for the title. He was the tournament's leading scorer with 96 points in four games. As a sophomore, he was a member of coach Gay Kintner's 28-7 team that reached Sweet Sixteen in the 1943 tournament.

Jay Lovelace was a first-team All-Stater at Carbondale in 1958. He held the all-time scoring record of 1,766 points for 36 years and remains second on the list behind Troy Hudson's 1,792. Lovelace still holds the single-game scoring record of 48 points. He earned a scholarship to Illinois.

Others who deserve consideration include Quincy's Larry Moore, Collinsville's Bogie Redmon and Rodger Bohnenstiehl, Rockford East's Skip Thoren, Madison's Don Freeman, Marshall's Rich Bradshaw, King's Rashard Griffith, Farragut's Ronnie Fields, Westinghouse's Eddie Johnson and Hersey. Hawkins, Campbell Hill's Dean Ehlers, Carver's Tim Hardaway, Du Sable's Maurice Cheeks, Hirsch's Rickey Green and Vocational's Juwan Howard.

Who are the five leading female candidates?

Tangela Smith, Robbyn Preacely. Nancy Kennelly, Michele Savage and Michelle Hasheider Burianek. What about Allison Curtin or Molly (Good Golly, Miss Molly) McDowell?

Burianek was named Ms. Basketball as a junior in 1994 when she led Okawville to a 32-2 record and the state championship. She is Okawville's all-time leading scorer with 2,660 points. In four years, she played on teams that won 118 of 130 games. In 2009, she was hired to succeed her coach Kathy Lanter as head coach at Okawville.

Smith attended Washington High School in Chicago where she was named a 1994 Kodak All-American. At Iowa, she was the Big Ten's Player of the Year in 1998. Selected as the 12th overall pick in the 1998 WNBA draft, she has had the longest career of any player in the WNBA. She currently is playing with the San Antonio Silver Stars.

Savage was the Chicago area's Player of the Year in 1987 after leading Immaculate Heart of Mary to the state championship. As a senior, she was considered one of the top 15 players in the nation. She scored 2,311 points in her career, including 727 as a senior. At Northwestern, she was a three-time All-Big Ten selection. In 2010, she was named head coach at Davidson after serving as an assistant coach at Tulane for nine years.

Kennelly was Ms. Basketball in 1988. A two-time All-Stater, she was the bests player ever produced by Maine West coach Derril Kipp, one of the winningest coaches in state history. She led Maine West to a 26-6 record and fourth place in the 1985 state tournament, to a 28-3 record and the Sweet Sixteen in 1986, to a 31-3 record and third place in 1987 and to a 35-0 record and the 1988 state championship. She was a two-time all-tournament selection.

Griffins hope to avoid 'sick feeling' going forward after blowout loss to Bradley

Griffins hope to avoid 'sick feeling' going forward after blowout loss to Bradley

Not all losses are created equal.

When Lincoln-Way East suffered a 35-30 defeat in Week 3 to Homewood-Flossmoor, the Griffins took positives away from the loss. They had held a 14-0 lead in the first quarter, battled back from adversity in the second half and had a chance to win the game in the final minute. Even that loss in retrospect appeared acceptable – if there ever was an acceptable loss – as the Vikings are currently 8-0 and in their other seven wins have outscored their opponents by an average of 38 points.

By Week 3 the Griffins were still acclimating to the unique situation of playing at game speed with a host of Lincoln-Way North students who had transferred in the offseason. They had a defense made up almost entirely of first-year starters, and the offense was still rotating quarterbacks Jake Arthur and Max Shafer to figure out how to maximize their talent. By many standards the Griffins went toe-to-toe for 48 minutes with a team also considered to be a favorite for a state title.

The same couldn’t be said for the Griffins’ effort last Friday night in Bradley.

An esteemed program with a 2005 state title and 16 consecutive playoff appearances to their resume, it isn’t often the Griffins are embarrassed on Friday night. But those were the words head coach Rob Zvonar used in his postgame speech to the team following their 38-21 loss to the undefeated Boilermakers.

“We chose to play the game,” Zvonar began. “Which means you play it to the greatest of your ability and you honor each other, God, everybody by your play. And we didn’t do that tonight.”

There were plenty of reasons the Griffins suffered their second loss of the season. That is came in such blowout fashion was the bigger surprise. The Boilermakers found the end zone on their first two possessions, rallying behind a raucous home crowd hoping to see their team go 8-0 for the first time in school history.

The Griffins defense, which had allowed 27 points the previous three weeks combined, were on their heels as the Boilermakers used misdirection and a few trick plays to set up the short touchdown runs.

The Griffins offense moved down the field on their fourth possession, moving inside the Boilermakers red zone looking to get on the board. But Iowa commit Camron Harrell stepped in front of a Griffins screen pass on 4th down and returned it 89 yards for a score. On the final play of the first quarter, with the Griffins moving again, Damien Williams read a route and picked off Jake Arthur, returning it 53 yards for a score to give the Boilermakers a shocking 28-0 lead after 12 minutes.

After a spirited halftime speech from Zvonar, the Griffins came out firing in the second half, scoring on a touchdown run from Nigel Muhammad and a Jeremy Nelson 27-yard reception from Arthur. But the Boilermakers weathered the storm each time Lincoln-Way East attempted a comeback. The Griffins only got as close as 14 points late in the fourth quarter.

“I think we came into this game not ready,” said Muhammad, who finished with 164 yards on 24 carries. “But we’re all a team and we all accept this loss together.”

Added senior Jack Carroll, who finished with a team-high nine tackles: “We have this sick feeling in our stomach right now but the best thing is (next) Friday we can come back and get it out of our stomach. If we lose again in the playoffs then we’ll have that sick feeling in our stomach for the rest of our lives.”

That’s now the reality for the Griffins, and a silver lining if there ever could be one for such a blowout loss. With the playoffs a mere week away – the Griffins defeated Lockport on Friday to finish the regular season 7-2 – the feeling each of them felt getting on the bus back to Frankfort will linger with them and act as a reminder of how quickly things can slip away.

“We’re trying to put this behind us,” said Max Shafer. “We’re going to try to get hot and make a run in the playoffs.”

In a loaded 8A class, the Griffins’ two regular-season losses have already knocked them down in the seeding process. While any loss before Week 9 means little in the long run – the Griffins locked up a playoff berth weeks ago – it also means a more difficult road to Champaign. But that’s the reality for Zvonar’s group, and whether it’s a defense playing faster or an offense avoiding costly mistakes, the Griffins are running out of time to right the ship.

But Zvonar believes such a loss as the team suffered last Friday night can act as the catalyst to doing just that. The Griffins have established themselves as one of the state’s premier programs, and that means not riding the highs too high, and not breaking apart when the lows come. Last Friday night was as low as Zvonar had seen any of his 16 teams, but the silver lining occurred in that his squad now knows what it has to do to avoid it when it’s win or go home.

“What we also think is that the program is built on a solid foundation, so when you take a little hit like that you battle back and you go back to what you believe in and what you know can be successful. And that’s fundamentals and keeping things simple, and the kids have bounced back and they’re not acceptable to them what occurred to them, so very proud of their effort and the way they’re working.

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