After placing fourth in the IESA State Tournament last year as seventh graders, the Litchfield Middle School eighth grade boys basketball team started the postseason off on the right foot with a regional championship victory on Friday, Feb. 7.
Coached by Justin Ripley and Anthony Robinson, the Panthers earned a first round bye as the top seed, then took on North Mac in game two of the Greenville Regional. Litchfield would beat the fourth seed from Girard 44-24 to advance to the championship game against second seeded Greenville, who had defeated Hillsboro (32-23) and Morrisonville (42-24) to make it to the title game.
Playing on the Blue Jays’ home court, the Panthers battled to the end and scored a 38-28 victory over the host school. The win improved Litchfield’s record to 22-0 on the season and earned them a spot in the Vandalia Sectional on Wednesday, Feb. 12, against Staunton. Unfortunately their season would come to an end there, with a three-point loss to the Terriers.
Nokomis Junior High
While three of the four Montgomery County eighth grade boys basketball teams were in Greenville, the fourth was trying for a regional title in Assumption at the Class 2A Central A&M Regional.
The top seed, the Braves earned a first round bye, then beat Decatur Dennis 52-16 in round two. In the championship game on Feb. 8, Nokomis ran into the second seeded host school, who pulled out a 38-23 victory to end the Braves’ season.
Like the eighth grade, three of the seventh grade boys basketball teams were in the same regional, this time in Hillsboro. Two of the teams, Litchfield and Morrisonville, would square off in the first round, with the Tomahawks picking up a 31-22 victory. Unfortunately, the Morrisonville-Lincolnwood co-op squad would run into top-seeded Greenville in the next round and fell 42-31.
Hillsboro would also make it out of the first round with a 24-21 victory over Vandalia. The Dragons would fall in the second round though, with North Mac earning a 45-17 victory.
Nokomis would be the second seed in the South Fork Class 2A regional and would get a first round bye. In the second round, the Braves would run into Sangamon Valley, who came away with a 37-7 victory en route to a regional championship two days later over Decatur Johns Hill.