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Prep Sports

Locals perform well at Illinois Valley All-Star games

OGLESBY — In the late stages of the girl's game at the seventh annual Illinois Valley All-Star Games here at Illinois Valley Community College on Saturday night, Marquette Academy's Emily Owens swiped a steal and dribbled in for what looked like an easy wide open layup for the Purple Team. However, the attempt missed and the rebound was knocked out of bounds.

"Oh my god, I don't know what that was, but it was really bad," laughed Owens, who immediately after turned to see a dozen or more of her family and friends in the stands in playful disbelief. "That whole section was laughing and pointing. It was a really funny moment for sure."

Owens, who finished with nine points, four rebounds and three steals, quickly made up for her miscue by draining a 3-pointer on the ensuing in-bounds play and the Purple Team went on to defeat the White Team 83-55 in front of the nice crowd on hand for the event in its first appearance at IVCC. It had previously been played at Putnam County High School.

"It was fun to play against (Putnam County's) Paige (Veronda) one more time and we were talking during a break in play about how tired we were," said Owens with a smile. "This was a great experience for me and getting to play with (MA teammate) Anna (Sypniewski) one more time was really cool too."

Sypniewski put together a solid game as well for the Purple Team, scoring 19 points, second behind only the 25 game-high markers by Princeton's Anna Murray, while grabbing seven rebounds and blocking a pair of shots.

"I watched my brother, Michael, play in this game a couple years ago (2015) and remember how fun it looked," said Sypniewski. "I didn't think I would ever play in a game again once our (Marquette) season ended, so to be able to put on the uniform one more time was awesome. This morning I went to the YMCA to shoot around, and that was the first first time I'd picked up a basketball since the end of the season, but I thought I did OK and it was a really fun."

The White Team, which jumped to a 19-8 lead at the end of the 10-minute first quarter, but trailed 34-32 at the half and 55-43 at the end of three, featured a trio of Times area players, Ottawa's Teegan Guerrero, Flanagan-Cornell's Liberty Vollmer and Fieldcrest's Emma Lorton. Vollmer finished with nine points and three rebounds, Lorton posted six points and three boards, while Guerrero registered nine points, three rebounds, two steals and four assists.

"To be honest, I really didn't know a lot of the girls on either team, but I was looking forward to playing against the girls from Marquette because we don't play them during the season," Guerrero said. "It was a little hard playing with players your not familiar with, plus I hadn't really touched a basketball since the season ended, but it was really a fun experience."

Many of the participants competed in a co-ed 3-point contest between games. Owens won the girl's side by besting both Vollmer and Bureau Valley's Christen Hurley in a shoot-off after each had made seven of 15 in the opening round. Marquette's Austin Threadgill swished seven on the boys side, but fell just short to St. Bede's Jackson Funfsinn. Funfsinn then out-shot Owens 8-4 to take the overall title.

In the boy's contest, the White Team led 25-16 over the Purple Team after the opening 10 minutes and 50-38 at halftime, before putting the game away with a 40-27 advantage in the third to race to a 117-94 triumph. The White Team held a 16-13 advantage in 3-pointers made over the Purple Team, but trailed in rebounds 58-49.

DePue's Manny Winfert led eight White Team players in double figures with 17 points. Little Giants' Eddie Moreno followed with 16 points, while La Salle-Peru's Tyler Martyn and DePue's Rahim McKee-Strong added 15 each, with the latter hauling in 10 rebounds.

The Purple Team was paced by La Salle-Peru's Joel Pantoja's six 3-pointers and game-high 18 points, with Mendota's Ben Bokus scoring 16 points. Fieldcrest's Cam Grandy had seven points and four rebounds, while Threadgill posted five points, two rebounds and two assists.

"I was really looking forward to playing with the guys from Bureau Valley and Hall after we played those guys this year,"said Threadgill. "This was a great honor and opportunity to be able to come out and play with, and against, some of the best players in our area."

"It was great time and I had a ton of fun."

At Illinois Valley Community College

Team Purple girls 83, Team White girls 55


TEAM PURPLE (83) — Wirth 1 0-0 3, Johnson 2 0-0 4, Murray 12 0-0 25,
Sypniewski 7 5-7 19, E. Owens 3 0-0 9, Moreland 2 0-0 4, Hurley 2 2-3
7, Grieff 5 1-2 12. Totals 34 8-12 83.

TEAM WHITE (55) — Darrow 2 0-0 5, Veronda 3 0-0 9, Schorn 0 0-0 0,
Guerrero 4 1-2 9, Vollmer 4 0-0 9, Laible 2 0-0 4, Lorton 1 4-4 6,
Soldati 3 0-0 8, Hatton 2 0-0 5. Totals 21 5-6 55.

Team Purple 8 26 21 28 — 83

​Team White 19 13 11 12 — 55

3-point goals — Team Purple 7 (Wirth 1, Murray 1, E. Owens 3, Hurley 1,
Grieff 1); Team White 8 (Darrow 1, Veronda 3, Vollmer 1, Soldati 2,
Hatton 1). Rebounds — Team Purple 56 (Murray 10, Grieff 10, Wirth
8, Hurley 8, Sypniewski 7); Team White 31 (Veronda 6). Total fouls
(none fouled out) — Team Purple 6, Team White 9.

Team White boys 117, Team Purple boys 94


TEAM PURPLE (94) — Grandy 3 0-0 7, Pantoja 6 0-0 18, Threadgill 2 0-0 5,
Endress 5 0-1 10, Vanaman 6 0-0 14, Steiner 3 1-2 7, Sloan 2 0-0 4,
Petros 2 0-0 5, Duever 4 0-0 8, Bokus 6 2-3 16. Totals 39 3-6 94.

TEAM WHITE (117) — Martyn 7 0-1 15, Cisco 1 0-0 2, Hughes 5 0-0 13,
Winfert 8 0-0 17, Puga 4 0-0 10, Smith 6 0-0 12, Moreno 6 1-1 16,
Allen 2 2-2 7, Funfsinn 4 2-3 10, McKee-Strong 5 0-0 15. Totals 48
5-7 117.

Team Purple 16 22 27 28 — 94

Team White 25 25 40 27 — 117

3-point goals — Team Purple 13 (Grandy 1, Pantoja 6, Threadgill 1, Vanaman
2, Petros 1, Bokus 2); Team White 16 (Martyn 1, Hughes 3, Winfert 1,
Puga 2, Moreno 3, Allen 1, McKee-Strong 5). Rebounds — Team Purple
58 (Endress 11, Bokus 10, Vanaman 9); Team White 49 (McKee-Strong 10,
Puga 9, Moreno 6). Total fouls (none fouled out) — Team Purple 7,
Team White 6.

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