EHS Basketball a Force in Post-Season Play
March 8, 2012
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Both EHS basketball programs made names for themselves this season. The Lady Tigers made school history and finished second in the state.
The boys team has made an impressive playoff run defeating Belleville West on Tuesday in the sectional semi-finals. The Tigers will face Pekin High School at 7:30 pm tomorrow at Collinsville High School for the sectional championship.
The girls varsity team, led by coach Lori Blade, finished their season 34-2. Blade received her 500th career win this season and led the Tigers to a nearly undefeated season, falling only once in the regular season. The Tigers convincingly defeated Loyola Academy in the state semi-finals winning 51-34. The Tigers fell in the finals 51-63 to Whitney Young, a team that is ranked number two in the nation, but still managed to cut down a large deficit.
The team will look to continue their success into next season.
Junior Emmonnie Henderson is one of the state’s stand out players. Standing at 6-foot-2, Henderson controls the flow of the game. Henderson averages 15.6 points per game.
Sydney Bloch, Sarah Parker and Ashia Jones are also all junior players who made an impression on the court and look to carry the team next year. With back-up from sophomore Kortney Dunbar, who shows skill and potential, and leadership from senior 4-year varsity member Leigh-Ann Kesper, the Lady Tigers showed their extreme depth through the season.
The EHS boys basketball team is also looking to make a state run. The Tigers have shown dominance throughout the season and finished as co-champions of the Southwestern conference with a regular season record of 20-5.
The Tigers won 13 of their last 15 conference games and carried that into the playoffs. Now on a six-game winning streak, the boys hope to continue their success tomorrow against Pekin after a strong 60-54 sectional semi-final win against Belleville West.
The team’s success has not come from just one or two players but a six player group effort. Juniors Garret Covington and Tre Harris are two of the conference’s leading scorers, accompanied by the rebounding and scoring of junior Drew Curtis.
Senior Josh White’s defense and sharp shooting has helped led the team’s success, along with the ball handling of sophomore point guard Shawn Roundtree. Senior Diarra Cropper’s ability to shut down opposing players on defense has played a huge role in the Tiger’s success.
“Our six main players are all doing different rolls and when they are clicking together, we are extremely hard to beat,” assistant coach Allan Duncan said.
After multiple years of hype followed by disappointment, the change of pace and taste of success is satisfying.
“The hard work that everyone has put in the last few years has really payed off,” senior Diarra Cropper said.
After obtaining their original goal of a conference title, the team now looks forward to a state championship. A tough road lies ahead and if the Tigers grab a victory Friday, they will face some of the most elite teams in the nation in the state title race.
Intense coaching has helped the team into the depths of the 2012 season. Head coach Mike Waldo works the team hard to achieve success.
“It’s no doubt in my mind that Coach Waldo is the hardest working coach in the business,” Assistant Coach Duncan said. “All of our guys from the first man to the 17th man put in hard work Sunday through Thursday on their ability to dribble, pass and shoot. This gives them the confidence that is required to perform at a high level on [game day].”