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The Roundup, December 8, 2023: Buzzer-beaters, upsets, and much more from wild Friday of hoops

Morton Potters basketball
Morton head coach Abe Zeller talks to the Potters during a timeout. Francisco Alonzo/Clutch Sports Media

Friday night had it all in Central Illinois high school basketball.

Dunlap won on a buzzer-beater, Morton proved quite a bit in a takedown of reigning state champion Metamora, and a Heart of Illinois Conference star flirted with a triple-double. 

Fieldcrest stayed undefeated with an impressive win at the Colmone Classic while a number of other teams such as Peoria High, Richwoods, Washington all had nice nights. 

Dee-Mack picked up its first win of the season while Normal Community, Farmington and Brimfield all came away victorious in close games. 

All of that and more, in the Roundup: 

In boys basketball

Morton 51, Metamora 44: Anyone but the Potters would tell you that it was an upset, but Morton (7-1, 2-0 Mid-Illini) snapped Metamora’s (3-3, 1-1) 23-game Mid-Illini win streak with a 51-44 win on Friday night. Morton took a 16-9 lead after the first quarter but trailed 27-26 at the half. After jumping ahead in the third, the Potters stayed ahead for good and were led by Gus Rugaard’s 16 points and five rebounds. Silas Steffen added 9 and Wes Gudeman chipped in 8 for Morton. Metamora was led by 16 points and eight rebounds from Cooper Koch.


Normal Community 62, Manual 56: Normal Community (6-0, 2-0 Big 12) staved off a big third quarter from a Dietrich Richardson-less Manual Rams and eked out a 62-56 win on the road. Manual led 42-38 after a buzzer beater from JaKyle Green to end the third quarter. Noah Cleveland of Normal Community and Gerrell Trapps of Manual shared game-high scoring honors with 21, but 16 points from Ironmen big man Jaheem Webber helped tilt the scales in favor of Normal Community. 

Dunlap 57, Limestone 55: A game-winning buzzer-beater from Austin Walker gave the Eagles a sweet Mid-Illini Conference victory over Limestone after a second-half comeback. The win helps Dunlap move to 4-2 overall and 1-1 in the Mid-Illini. Limestone (0-2, 1-5) lost its third game by three or less points this season. 

Limestone boys basketball season preview: Limestone boasts high expectations in second year under Coleman

East Peoria 54, Canton 32: Canton head coach Jon Grzanich came out on the losing end in his first matchup against his former team. East Peoria continued to pick up steam, winning its third in a row to advance to 4-3 and sit in a tie for the top spot in the Mid-Illini currently at 2-0. The Little Giants dropped their second straight and sit at an even 3-3. 

Peoria High 61, Danville 51: Peoria High (4-3, 1-1 Big 12) got over the .500 hump with a solid road win against Danville (2-4, 0-1). The Lions will rest over the weekend before readying for a non-conference matchup against Chatham Glenwood on Tuesday. 

Washington 55, Pekin 44: Washington (2-4, 1-1 Mid-Illini) got back on track with a Mid-Illini win over Pekin (5-2, 1-1) at Torry Gym. It was just the Panthers’ third game of the season against a team that didn't win a state championship last season. Both teams will be in action on Saturday with Washington hosting Bloomington and Pekin heading to Illini Central. 

Washington gets bigger in size, expectations: Washington hanging hat on size, versatility, mental toughness

Richwoods 82, Bloomington 45: Richwoods (8-1 3-0 Big 12) kept on rolling with a big-time win over Bloomington (0-7, 0-2) at the Robert Frank Gym. Lathan Sommerville led the Knights with 21 while guards Tavie Smith and Jared Jackson each scored 14.

Why this year could be Richwoods' best in recent memory: Richwoods eyes state contention behind guards, multiple transfers

Champaign Centennial 52, Normal West 50: Normal West (2-5, 0-2 Big 12) lost yet another heartbreaker, this time on the road in Champaign to 5-1 Centennial. The Wildcats have lost four out of their five games by six points or less, but hope to rebound against Mt. Zion on Tuesday. 

Dee-Mack 71, Midwest Central 31: The first win on the season for Dee-Mack, and for the high school head coaching career of Brock Streitmatter, came in fashion as the Chiefs pounded Midwest Central. Dee-Mack (1-4, 0-0 Heart of Illinois) looks to keep the positive momentum rolling in a conference matchup against LeRoy on Tuesday. 

Dee-Mack excited for turnaround under Streitmatter: Energy high at Dee-Mack behind new head coach Streitmatter

El Paso-Gridley 64, Prairie Central 42: The Titans (4-2, 0-0 Heart of Illinois) rebounded from a loss to an Illini Prairie team earlier in the week in Pontiac with an impressive win against another IPC team in Prairie Central. Micah Meiss paced EPG with 23 points, six rebounds and five assists, Jonah Funk came up one rebound shy of a triple-double with 16 points, 10 blocks and nine rebounds and Chancesaye Maxon orchestrated the show with nine points and seven assists.

Clinton 54, Eureka 48: The Hornets couldn’t come away with a win at Clinton despite 24 points and 14 rebounds from Tyler Heffren. Jack Blunier finished in double figures for Eureka (3-3, 0-0 Heart of Illinois) with 10 and Zeke Mason impressed on the boards with 11 rebounds.

Illini Bluffs 51, Princeville 40: The Tigers’ wait for their home opener was well worth it, as they handled Princeville in a non-conference matchup. Illini Bluffs (7-2, 1-0 Intercounty) distributed its scoring evenly, with Lehigh commit Hank Alvey having 13 and Toby Cooper and Jayden Washington each scoring 10. The Princeville (5-2, 0-0 Lincoln Trail) loss was the team’s first since their season opener. 

Fieldcrest 74, LaSalle-Peru 47: Fieldcrest (4-0, 0-0 Heart of Illinois) continued its perfect start to the year with a big win over LaSalle-Peru, who came into the game at 7-1. The Cavaliers closed the gap to as much as six late in the first half, but the Knights ran away with the contest from there. Connor Reichman (21 points, five 3-pointers) and Eddie Lorton (17 points) stood out for the Knights, as did Brady Ruestman who had 13. 

Farmington 60, Abingdon-Avon 56: The Farmers played in their fourth straight game decided by seven points or less and got 19 points from Keauntrey Barnes to help lead them to a win. Zac Taylor helped the winning effort with 14 and Jack Gronewold factored in with 12 for 5-3 Farmington. 

Peoria Christian 63, Cornerstone Christian 32: The Chargers dominated the Cyclones, a Class 1A state finalist last season, to move up to 5-3 in their 2023-24 campaign. Peoria Christian’s Malachi Persinger scored as many as Cornerstone Christian did as a team with 32. 

Normal U-High 42, Rochester 29: The Pioneers came out of a defensive battle with a Central State Eight win over Rochester to advance to 5-2. Normal U-High gets a solid non-conference game against Prairie Central next on Tuesday. 

Teutopolis 54, Bloomington Central Catholic 41: The (wooden) shoe fit for Teutopolis in a win over BCC that caused the Saints to fall to 4-4 on the season. BCC will take on fellow Illini Prairie Conference power St. Joseph-Ogden on Saturday. 

Peoria Heights 58, Lewistown 32: Peoria Heights (3-5, 0-0 Intercounty) shut down Lewistown to 12 points in the first half and used 25 points from Camron Williams to earn a win. Barrett Marfell also contributed heavily for the Patriots with 19. 

Brimfield 51, Havana 48: Brimfield (2-7, 0-1 Intercounty) won in the final minute against the Ducks to snap a seven-game losing streak. The Indians will be back in action at Kewanee Wethersfield on Tuesday. 

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