PEORIA – It wasn’t the game they hoped to be playing in, but it’s the game the Comets got.
Newman will conclude its first-ever appearance at the IHSA Class 1A Boys Basketball State Tournament in the third-place game against Goreville on Saturday at Carver Arena in Peoria. Tip-off is at 11 a.m.
Newman (28-5) dropped a 59-44 decision against Annawan in the semifinal round on Friday, while Goreville (23-12) fell 48-33 against Okawville.
The Blackcats are led by first-team all-state point guard Braden Webb, who averaged 18.6 points, 4.4 rebounds and 4.1 assists per game. He was held to eight points on 4-for-16 shooting against Okawville.
Joining Webb as double-figure scorers for Goreville are senior guard Peyton Massey (10.5 ppg) and senior forward Tanner Dunn (11 ppg).
“Those three are their three key guys that we’ve got to key on [Saturday] and try to shut down better than we did [Friday against Annawan],” Newman coach Ray Sharp said.
With a win, Newman would equal the school record for wins currently held by the 2013-14 club that finished 29-3.
“We’ve got three things to play for,” Sharp said. “We need another win to tie the school record for wins. Third place is better than fourth place. And only two teams finish with a win [in each class], and we’d like to be one of those two teams.”
Goreville coach Todd Tripp noted he didn’t watch too much of the Newman-Annawan game, as he was concentrating more on preparing his team for the semifinal game against Okawville. Much like Sharp, he’s glad there is one more game to go.
“Every team up here gets after it,” Tripp said. “Every team up here knows how to play basketball, that’s why they’re here. Everybody’s been on good runs and probably playing their best ball of the season. We’re excited to play on the last day of the year. Not a lot of of people get to do that. We get to do that, so we’re excited about that.”
• The Newman team is slated to return to the Sauk Valley at 6:30 p.m. Saturday, at Montmorency School in Rock Falls. A ceremony will then be held in the Newman gymnasium, starting at 7 p.m.