A little bit of winter weather couldn't slow down some of the best in the area in high school basketball and wrestling last week, leading to multiple worthy nominees for our CSM Winter Athletes of the Week.
Standout performances at the Inter-County Conference Tournament were abundant in boys basketball. Local boys athletes also were responsible for a a buzzer-beater winner and a wrestling title as well. Five girls basketball standouts all helped their teams stay hot and some recently picked up significant career achievements.
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The following athletes are our nominees for CSM Winter Athletes of the Week with information on their standout performances. There are polls for Boys Athlete of the Week and Girls Athlete of the Week below.
UPDATE: Cole Gentsch of Normal Community boys wrestling and Cate Uhren of Bloomington Central Catholic girls basketball won voting for our CSM Winter Athletes of the Week. Voting closed at 7 PM Wednesday.
Boys Athlete of the Week nominees
Gavin Walder, Peoria Christian boys basketball
Walder came up big for Peoria Christian in the ICAC Tournament last week, where the Chargers finished second. The junior chipped in 13 points in a win over Delavan in the semifinals on Thursday before leading the Chargers with 21 in their 38-36 loss to Class 1A No. 3 Illini Bluffs in the championship game.
Wes Gudeman, Morton boys basketball
Gudeman nailed a heroic 3-pointer at the final buzzer to give Morton a 58-55 win over Washington on Friday night. With a second left, Gudeman caught a pass from Silas Steffen on the wing and buried it to give Morton the win, the Potters’ fourth in a row. Gudeman finished with a team-high 26 points.
Cole Gentsch, Normal Community boys wrestling
Gentsch helped lead Normal Community to a team title at Mahomet-Seymour’s Marty Williams Invitational, winning the 120-pound bracket. Gentsch started off with a pair of wins in his pool, then beat Mattoon’s Tristan Porter via fall in the semifinals, then beat crosstown foe Abram Rader from Normal West via fall in the championship. Gentsch sports a 31-3 record on the season.
Hank Alvey, Illini Bluffs boys basketball
Alvey keyed a run to the ICAC Tournament title for Illini Bluffs last week, advancing the Tigers to 19-3 on the season. He began his week with 25 points in a quarterfinal win over North Fulton on Tuesday, then proceeded to exceed that mark with 29 in an overtime win over Peoria Heights in the semifinals on Thursday. The Lehigh commit finished his week with a team-high 10 in a low-scoring 38-36 win over Peoria Christian in the tournament title game.
Camron Williams, Peoria Heights boys basketball
Williams lit up the scoring column for Peoria Heights at the ICAC Tournament last week, highlighted by a monster showing against ROWVA/Williamsfield with 33 points and 12 rebounds. Williams also scored 26 in a near-upset of Illini Bluffs on Thursday and helped secure a third-place finish for the Patriots with 17 points in a win over Delavan on Saturday.
Girls Athlete of the Week nominees
Mya Wardle, Peoria Notre Dame
Wardle and the Irish passed some big tests last week starting with a resounding 67-31 win over Elmwood, where she led the team with 14 points to go with eight assists and four steals. On Thursday, Wardle helped PND take down Class 4A No. 4 Normal Community behind a 24-point effort, once again a team high.
Niasha Rutherford, Peoria High girls basketball
Rutherford stepped up big for the 18-1 Lions in a 43-40 win over 16-6 Richwoods on Thursday in Peoria High’s first game playing without all-state guard Aaliyah Guyton. Rutherford sparked a big third quarter for the Lions with multiple 3-pointers and was responsible for her team’s final points down the stretch to seal the win, finishing with a game-high 17 points.
Mya Edwards, Eureka girls basketball
Edwards has been a driving force behind a hot streak for Eureka, where the Hornets have won their last 11 games. The freshman scored 22 in a 53-37 win over LeRoy on Monday and contributed to a big 64-59 win over Tri-Valley in overtime on Thursday.
Kamryn Heider, Richwoods girls basketball
Heider reached a big career milestone last week, scoring her 1,000th career point for Richwoods in the Knight’s Big 12 clash against Peoria High on Thursday. Her nine points in the loss tied teammate Braniyah Hickman for a team high. Heider is looking to repeat as a first-team Big 12 all-conference selection this year and has helped the Knights to a 16-6 overall mark and 4-2 record in conference play.
Cate Uhren, Bloomington Central Catholic girls basketball
Bloomington Central Catholic picked up a pair of Illini Prairie Conference wins last week and Uhren led the Saints in both of them. The senior, who recently scored her 1,000th career point, put up 19 in a 63-29 win over IVC on Monday, then had 23 in a 72-27 victory over Champaign St. Thomas More on Thursday, which helped solidify the Saints’ possession of top spot in the conference. Her efforts came efficiently, as she shot 16-for-26 from the field in both games combined.