It was a night to remember for Rachel Hageman.
Before winning MVP honors in the Sauk Valley Media All-Star Basketball Classic girls game, the Newman High School graduate took time to win the 3-point contest at halftime.
"I was so surprised. I'm pretty good at 3s usually, but I never really do good in contests, because I get really nervous," said Hageman, who made 19 3s this past season.
The girls 3-point finals matchup was a bit on the unlikely side, as two posts, Hageman and Rock Falls' Jordan Giddings, went toe to toe after each sank seven of 15 in the first round.
After shooting from the wings and the top of the key in the first round, the finals were from the baselines. Good news for Hageman. Not so much for Giddings.
"I've always loved the baseline shots, but when we were warming up, Jordan was making all of them, and I was getting really nervous," said Hageman, who hit six of 10 in the final, while Giddings made just one.
"That's my weakness," Giddings said of the baseline 3s. "When I heard that, I was like, 'Oh, man,' but in practice I was doing good. In the competition, nothing was going in, so the last one, I just did a granny."
Giddings shot just eight 3s last season, making three.
It's good to be the king
Rock Falls' Jace Anderson won the King of the Hill state 3-point contest as a sophomore. The smart money would have been on him to win the SVM All-Star Classic boys 3-point contest.
The smart money would have been right, but Anderson was pushed by Prophetstown's Carter Ames.
Anderson drained eight of 15 3s in the first round, while Ames hit six, including his last four.
In the initial round of the finals, Ames and Anderson each knocked down six of 10 3s from the baselines.
The contest then moved to 10 shots, five from each wing, from about 25 feet out. Anderson went first and hit five. Ames could only hit two.
"I was hoping we were going to do that, because I usually shoot out there anyway," Anderson said. "That's the only time I can shoot with no one in my face."
Winning the state contest as a sophomore brought with it expectations.
"Everytime it gets brought up, I feel like I'm under a lot of pressure to live up to the hype," Anderson said.
Cain able in dunk contest
One was enough for Oregon's Alex Cain.
Cain made good on just one of his three attempts in the boys dunk contest, but it was enough to get him the win.
Cain was the first of the six contestants. After missing on his first attempt, Cain converted the same dunk on his second try, as he tossed the ball high into the air, let it bounce up near the rim and threw it down with two hands.
On his third attempt, Cain had Oregon teammate and fellow all-star Ian Holley run in front of him and dish the ball off the backboard, but the dunk could not be completed.
Up next was Jacob Johnston of Erie, the eventual runner-up. Johnston made all three of his attempts.
First, Johnston pulled the ball back behind his head and threw down a two-hand dunk. Then, from the right wing, Johnston tossed the ball, let it bounce toward the rim then slammed a two-hand reverse dunk.
On his final attempt, Johnston brought out Erie teammate and all-star Connor Saad. The 6-foot-4 Johnston tried to leap over the 5-11 Saad as Saad stood under the left side of the basket. Johnston didn't clear Saad cleanly, but still threw down the dunk.
"After Jacob, I thought I was in trouble," Cain said. "I didn't think I was going to win it. I thought after Jacob jumped over [Saad], I figured he had it won."