PREP GIRLS BASKETBALL: Salt Fork holds on to win regional

Feb. 17—CHRISMAN — Ona cold winter's day on Saturday, the Salt Fork Storm girls basketball was able to heat up the nets at the right times.

The Storm was able to win an IHSA Class 1A regional title for the first time since 2020 with a 41-36 win over Arcola at Chrisman High School.

"It is pretty special," Salt Fork coach Brian Russell said. "Anytime you can go through the grind of the season, get the goals you wanted all year and then it comes together in the regional championship. It's super-special."

Salt Fork was up 25-11 at halftime and 31-17 going into the fourth quarter, but the Purple Riders were not going to go away.

Arcola went on a 9-0 run to close the game to 31-26 and got within one point of the Storm two different times before Salt Fork was able to close the game.

"We knew they were going to come back and they did," Russell said. "The girls stepped up and did what they had to do to win it."

The Storm are 27-5 after the win and after a slow start — followed by the return of Alexa Jamison from injury — they have won their last 18 games.

"The thing about this group of girls is that they play for each other," Russell said. "In the start of the season, the girls were trying to figure out their roles and then Lex came back and just allowed us to complete our team and this team has been an amazing group of young ladies that have worked hard. They win for each other and want to go to battle for each other. It is a great group of young ladies that completed one of their goals and I am super-proud to be a part of it."

The Storm will now face Effingham St. Anthony's on Tuesday at 6 p.m. in sectional play at Moweaqua Central A&M High School.

"St. Anthony is a high-scoring team, so we are going to do some scouting the next couple of days and practice on Monday and try to win another one," Russell said. "It is one of those situations where I want the girls to celebrate, but stay hungry for what's ahead on Tuesday."