Going Dancing!

Holy Cross 8th graders make it to state tournament

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BENSON – There are only eight teams remaining to play for the eighth grade IESA Class 1A State Championship. Holy Cross is one of them.

The Warriors entered their name into Elite Eight with a 49-33 sectional championship victory over Streator Woodland on Monday, Feb. 5 at the Roanoke-Benson Junior High School in Benson.

“Winning this game, being in the state tournament, and having a chance to play for a state title means everything,” said Holy Cross Coach Luke Tillman. “I want this for the kids more than anybody. I’m pumped. They’re pumped. We’re excited to make it to another game and keep our season going.

“Our eighth graders stepped up and so did the seventh graders who we pull up to help us. They blend together and form a great team.”

The Warriors (18-2) knew they were in for a battle early as they trailed Streator Woodland (15-8) immediately after tipoff.

The team gathered, refocused and didn’t look back as it held a 24-17 halftime advantage, 40-28 after the third quarter, and outscored Woodland 9-5 in the fourth quarter for a 16-point victory.

“They came out and played well. We were down 5-0 early. Our boys hadn’t been to this level before, so there were nerves. After they shook the nerves, we started to attack the hoop, play aggressively, and score the ball,” said Tillman.

Cole Tillman led the Warriors against Woodland with 17 points, Ross Sondgeroth had 14 points, Quinn Eddy scored 11, Cal Doyle added five, and Diego Diaz added two.

Holy Cross plays Griggsville-Perry (18-10) in the first round of the IESA Class 1A State Tournament at 11:30 a.m. Saturday, Feb. 10 at Warrensburg-Latham High School.

The other three Elite Eight games include Lincoln Chester-East Lincoln (16-7) vs. Pontiac St. Mary’s (22-2) at 10 a.m., Peoria St. Jude (19-8) vs. Royal Prairieview Ogden (24-3) at 1 p.m., and Pana Sacred Heart (23-3) vs. Ottawa Marquette (20-1) at 2:30 p.m.