“One simple question for the experts”… ready?
These guys cover the teams closer than most so I thought why not fire some questions at them once every couple of weeks?
QUESTION: Canton and Palmyra claimed titles at the Highland Tournament last weekend. Do the Tigers and Lady Panthers win the approaching Tony Lenzini Tournament in Palmyra, too?
BEN MARTH, WGEM Sports Director: The Zini always seems to bring out, dare I say, something zany.
The schedule makers have made it very difficult on top-seeded Canton as the Tigers stare down a potential third meeting with Highland in 11 days in next Wednesday’s semifinals. If Andy Anderson’s group slays the Cougars (again), Palmyra or Clark County likely stands in the way in the title game.
For now, though, I’m sticking with chalk. Canton is too powerful in too many areas and they will win their second tournament title in as many chances this month.
The girls bracket is incredibly top heavy.
Any of the top three seeds – Monroe City, Bowling Green, and Palmyra – can lay claim on hoisting the trophy Saturday night. I have a sneaky suspicion Bobby Spoonster’s Lady Bobcat squad gets in to the title game and upends Monroe City.
QUESTION: Which great start has impressed you the most — Jim Molinari and the WIU men or Jack Schrader and the Culver-Stockton men?
DYLAN AUSTIN, WGEM Weekend Sports Anchor: Based on the level of competition and the rising expectations after a near NCAA Tournament berth last year, the Western Illinois Leathernecks start to the season has been more impressive in my eyes.
Molinari’s team doesn’t have the luxury of sneaking up on anyone this year and have still gone above and beyond what anyone would have thought. In a matter of a less than two years, WIU has not only put themselves on the map locally, but on a Summit League and national level as well. The fact we have a local team legitimately capable of making a run to the NCAA Tournament, and possibly being the conference favorite, is historic and something to savor. My alma mater has made me proud to rock the purple and gold!
QUESTION: Scott Douglas recently picked up career win No. 350. What’s something the Quincy Notre Dame boys basketball coach does to excel that may go under the radar to many watching?
ERIC ERVIN, QND play-by-play broadcaster for WGEM Radio: I’ve been fortunate enough to cover the majority of those victories, and while there’s no question that Scott Douglas is an outstanding coach, I truly believe the key to his program’s success is the environment he has created around his program. He treats his players with respect and they return that respect in kind.
Watch a QND game. The one thing that always stands out is how hard they play. I think that’s a direct result of the respect they have for Scott and the culture that he has developed within the program.
QUESTION: The Quincy University women have won three straight with two being on the road in the GLVC. What are they doing better now and can they keep this streak going?
BROC HAMPSMIRE, QHS/QU play-by-play broadcaster for WGEM Radio: Over the last three games they have simply gotten better and more consistent performances from their best players.
Sophomore forward Kelly Buresh has probably been the Lady Hawks most consistent player all season, but she got this streak started hitting six 3-pointers in QU’s blowout win over HLGU. Then junior transfer Hannah Weedman had her breakout game at Bellarmine last Thursday with 18 points, 10 rebounds, and six blocks.
Another running theme for head coach Jeni Garber’s team lately has been dominating the glass. None more so than this past Saturday’s win at McKendree, when QU out-rebounded the Bearcats by 25. Junior guard Lucy Cramsey led the way with a career-high 18 rebounds to go along with 17 points. If they continue to own the glass and get consistent offensive production from the combination of Buresh, Weedman, and Cramsey, the Lady Hawks should continue to pick up wins in the GLVC.