WHO: Hinckley-Big Rock (18-12) vs. Annawan (27-2)
GAME TIME: 7:30 p.m. today
LOCATION: Illinois Valley Community College. 815 N Orlando Smith St., Oglesby
HOW THEY GOT THERE: Hinckley-Big Rock defeated Paw Paw, 45-18, in the Hinckley-Big Rock Regional semifinals, edged Indian Creek in a 46-45 overtime regional final victory and beat Putnam County, 42-30, in the sectional semifinals.
Annawan cruised past Oneida ROWVA, 67-20, in the Annawan Regional semifinals, beat Kewanee Wethersfield, 75-59, in the regional final and toppled state-ranked Newark, 46-21, in the sectional semifinals.
SCOUTING THE BRAVETTES: In the past two seasons, Annawan has lost to a Class 1A opponent just once – a 56-53 defeat against LeRoy in last season’s Illinois Wesleyan Super-Sectional. This year, the Bravettes only losses have come against Champaign St. Thomas More, the top-ranked team in Class 2A, 62-58 in overtime, and Class 3A Rochester, 53-52.
Annawan averages 60 points a game and gives up just 35, and the Bravettes force 28 turnovers a contest. The second-ranked team in Class 1A in the most recent poll, Annawan starts four juniors and a freshman.
Center Celina VanHyfte, an all-state selection last season, averages a team-high 23 points for the Bravettes. Junior forward Megan Foes averages 12 points per contest.
KEYS TO VICTORY: After Monday’s 42-30 win over Putnam County, a team which came into the Oglesby Sectional with just four losses, Royals coach Greg Burks praised his team’s group effort, and said it was possibly their best defensive performance of the season.
Tonight’s game at Illinois Valley Community College will be H-BR’s toughest test of the season, and the Royals will need to be flawless to pull off the upset.
H-BR point guard Jacqueline Madden did a good job taking care of the ball Monday, something the Royals will need once again tonight. Senior forward Abbie Tosch had a game-high 19 points in the semifinal victory, and she’ll be faced with handling VanHyfte down in the post.
Annawan was the team which knocked the Royals out of last year’s postseason, defeating H-BR, 53-32, in the Varna Midland Sectional semifinals. VanHyfte had 21 points and six rebounds in that contest.