The seventh grade Gillespie Middle School Indians basketball team (25-2) kept their season alive last Saturday in the Class 7-3A State Tournament as they downed Hoopeston Area (24-2) and St. Joseph (22-3) after spending the entire day in Wenoma.
The bus left before 9 o’clock Saturday morning and hundreds of area residents welcomed their hometown winning team back into town shortly after 11 p.m. Saturday evening. Gillespie, coached by Tim Wargo and Stuart Ringer, beat Hoopeston 39-26 in their first round game at 1 in the afternoon to advance to the 6:30 p.m. semi-final action where they knocked off St. Joseph 33-31.
“The kids played great,” head coach Tim Wargo said after the game. “Teutopolis is going to be a handful – they scored 45 points in the semi-final game. We are going to practice Monday, Tuesday and Wednesday to get back here Thursday.”
The bus left around 9 a.m. Saturday and hundreds of residents welcomed their hometown winning team back into town shortly after 11 p.m.
Gillespie 39, Hoopeston Area 26
Gillespie fell behind early as Hoopeston’s Lucas Hofer broke down the Indians’ defense and put Gillespie behind 8-15 after the first quarter of play. The Indians settled down in the second quarter, holding Hoopeston to just 5 points in the quarter to cut the deficit to 17-20 at halftime.
The Indians dominated the second half outscoring Hoopeston 14-2 in the third quarter and then 8-4 in the fourth quarter securing their seat in the semi-final game Saturday evening with the 39-26 victory. Frankie Barrett, Anthony Kravanya and Chance Reiniesch equally led the team with 11 points a piece. Devin Stroh added 4 and Billy Gill scored 2.
Gillespie 33, St. Joseph 31
The real action came in the 6:30 p.m. semi-final game where the Indians battled St. Joseph to see who would advance to the championship game. Despite falling behind 0-9 after the opening tip-off, the Indians only trailed 15-17 at halftime after Anthony Kravanya’s buzzer beater field goal.
The Indians and Panthers were tied 23-23 after the third quarter with Gillespie in foul trouble. With St. Joseph shooting bonus shots midway through the fourth quarter, Gillespie remained patient on the offensive end and converted on open opportunities. Billy Gill gave the Indians a 31-30 lead with 46 seconds remaining, but the Panthers would tie the game at 31 after making 1 of 2 bonus free throws after a Gillespie foul.
After grabbing the rebound and leading the ball to their offensive end, Billy Gill rebounded a missed shot attempt and scored on a put back to give the Indians a 33-31 lead with 10 seconds remaining. The Panthers tried to sketch up a game-winning play during a timeout, but Gillespie remained solid on the defensive end and didn’t foul. Anthony Kravanya led the team with 11 points with Chance Reiniesch following with 8. Billy Gill and Devin Stroh added 6 points each.
Gillespie fans wishing to car pool Thursday night can contact Andy Barber at 217-710-6501 to reserve their seat on a 56-passenger Cavallo bus. Cost per seat will be $15-$20 depending on the final capacity Thursday afternoon. Fans not wishing to make the trip can listen to the game online through WSMI FM 106.
Thursday IESA 3A 7th Grade State Championship from Wenona Gillespie vs Teutopolis Live at 7:30 on FM 106 online http://t.co/ebgIDZMb2e
— WSMI Radio Sports (@wsmisports) February 9, 2015
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