SJ-O Unity boys' basketball among area teams to win regional titles

Feb. 24—DECATUR — The Centennial boys' basketball team had already played Decatur MacArthur close once this season. But came away with a 61-56 loss when the two teams met on Jan. 19 in Champaign.

The Chargers and Generals went at it again on Friday night in a closely-contested game. And again, second-seeded MacArthur came out on top, defeating third-seeded Centennial 60-57 in overtime to win the Class 3A Decatur Eisenhower Regional title game.

Centennial trailed 11-4 at the end of the first quarter, but kept its deficit within reach, going into halftime down 24-19. MacArthur extended its lead to 41-35 entering the fourth quarter but the Chargers rallied to force overtime, tying the game at 53 with fewer than 15 seconds to go. But the Generals limited Centennial to only a field goal from Voldy Makabu and two free throws from Todd Makabu in overtime.

Todd Makabu scored 22 points to lead Centennial (20-11), while O'Neil Johnson contributed 15 points.

In Class 2A

Spartans win. Tanner Jacob, Logan Smith and Coy Taylor are used to playing in regional championship games.

They've done so each of the last three seasons. And each time, they've ended the night by making sure St. Joseph-Ogden comes home with a regional title plaque.

SJ-O won its third straight regional championship, this time on its home court, with a 58-41 win against Shelbyville on Friday night.

Jacob scored 20 points to lead the second-seeded Spartans (26-6) in their eighth straight win. He was efficient shooting, going 7 of 12 from the field and 4 of 7 from three-point range. Logan Smith added 15 points and eight assists against the third-seeded Rams, while Tanner Siems (10 points, nine rebounds) and Taylor (eight points, five rebounds, three assists) also contribtued for SJ-O, who move on to play Flora at 7 p.m. Tuesday in a Shelbyville Sectional semifinal game.

"I thought when we finally settled down and into the flow of the game, we really started to play well on both ends of the floor," SJ-O coach Kiel Duval said. "Jacob, Logan and Coy looked like three guys that have been in these games before and they were able to make plays to settle everyone down."

. Unity had not won any IHSA postseason hardware since 2012. The drought is now over after the top-seeded Rockets kept their impressive season intact with a 65-46 win against fifth-seeded Warrensburg-Latham on Friday night at the Sievers Center in the Monticello Regional title game.

Andrew Thomas could barely miss for Unity (26-4), scoring a game-high 20 points on 8-of-12 shooting, including 4 of 6 from three-point range. His twin brother, Henry Thomas, joined him in double figures with 16 points.

Dalton O'Neill added seven points as Unity only trailed in the game's first two minutes before taking a 19-10 lead into the second quarter and leading 33-24 at halftime. Unity kept Warrensburg-Latham at bay in the second half, carrying a 52-37 lead into the fourth quarter. The Rockets will now turn their attention to Teutopolis at 7 p.m. Wednesday in a Shelbyville Sectional semifinal game.

"I couldn't be more proud of this group," Unity coach Matt Franks said. "They have an unbelievable belief in each other, and that allows them to have the success that they have had this year. A true team effort."

Blue Devils hold on. Bismarck-Henning/Rossville-Alvin faced a situation on Friday night it had not seen much this season.

A halftime deficit.

But the second-seeded Blue Devils recovered in the second half, beating third-seeded Prairie Central 54-46 in a regional title game in Onarga.

"We needed a gutsy performance to get the win," BHRA coach Gary Tidwell said after Prairie Central led 25-23 at halftime and 37-34 to start the fourth quarter. "Regional championships are hard to come by. We are proud to get this one, and it means a lot to our program, school and community."

The Blue Devils (30-3) will now carry a 20-game win streak into its matchup with unbeaten Beecher (32-0) at 7 p.m. on Wednesday in a Clifton Central Sectional game.

In Class 1A

Tuscola earns win. Tuscola only led Casey-Westfield by one point at halftime in a regional title game Friday night played on Casey-Westfield's home court. But a strong third quarter propelled second-seeded Tuscola to a 53-37 win against third-seeded Casey-Westfield on Friday night.

Josiah Hortin scored a game-high 22 points for Tuscola (28-5), making 13 of 16 free throws. Jordan Quinn added 12 points, while Kam Sweetnam had eight points and Sawyer Woodard contributed six points and six rebounds.

After leading 25-24 at halfitme, Tuscola limited Casey-Westfield to only five field goals in the second half, with Tuscola taking a 42-29 lead into the fourth quarter.

"Another incredible environment that our kids love competing in," Tuscola coach Justin Bozarth said. "Josiah was phenomenal just dictating the pace of the game. He and Jordan's leadership in the second half really carried us on the defensive end."

Tuscola, which won its third straight regional title, will play either Edwards County or Centralia Christ Our Rock Lutheran at 6 p.m. Wednesday in a St. Anthony Sectional semifinal game in Effingham.

Purple Riders celebrate. Arcola took down one of the state's top teams in 1A, upsetting St. Anthony 57-52 in overtime on Friday night in a regional title game in Bethany.

The fourth-seeded Purple Riders (26-6) put four players in double figures to defeat the top-seeded Bulldogs (29-5), led by 15 points from Braden Phillips. Gerardo Alanis tossed in 13 points, including eight in overtime that was highlighted by making all six of his free throws. Jackson Miller and Brody Phillips each had 12 points as Arcola moves on to play Webber at 6 p.m. Tuesday in a St. Anthony Sectional semifinal game.

"Just extremely happy for our guys, coaches and community," Arcola coach Greg Gisinger said after the Purple Riders won their first regional title since 2016.

Bombers fall just short. St. Teresa's Eli Etchason hit a buzzer-beating jumper, lifting the fifth-seeded Bulldogs to a thrilling 63-61 win against second-seeded Argenta-Oreana on Friday night in a regional title game in Argenta.

The loss denied the host Bombers (19-14) a chance to win their first regional title since 1997.

Chase Logue poured in a game-high 31 points for A-O, which trailed 14-10 at the end of the first quarter, 29-24 at halftime and 49-44 to start the fourth quarter before making a comeback.

Ethan Mahan and Jalynn Flowers joined Logue in double figures, with Mahan scoring all 15 of his points by making five three-pointers. Flowers added 12 points.