MaxWire National Blog

Covering High School Sports in America

Category: Illinois Girls Basketball

  • If Jay Hatch ever wants to step away from coaching high school girls basketball, he could have a career as a professional caddy, perhaps.

    He got some firsthand experience Thursday when he stepped in to caddy for Brian Harman at the John Deere Classic, a PGA event in Deere Run in Silvis, Illinois. He was literally plucked from the crowd to carry Harman's bag through the rest of the round.

    Hatch, the girls coach at Alleman (Rock Island, Ill.), had to step in when original caddy Scott Tway became ill. He helped Harman shoot an 8-under-par 63 to tie for the lead after the first day.

    “It was cool. I only got heckled once. I always wanted to see what it’s like from inside the ropes,” Hatch said, according to WQAD Channel 8 in the Quad Cities. "Nothing to do with me. I just got him the clubs and learned when he wanted the towel. He did all the yardages, all the reads, I didn't do anything."

    Harman told WQAD, "My man Jay came in and did a real good job. He was a true pro."

    Hatch's teams have gone 78-52 since 2006 and finished 11-16 this past season. The story states he was inducted into the Illinois High School Basketball Coaches Hall of Fame this year.
  • Sometimes one game can sum up an athlete's high school career. That's true for Indiana signee Tyra Buss.

    File photo by Wayne Litmer

    Tyra Buss, Mount Carmel

    The Mt. Carmel (Ill.) star is one of the nation's most electrifying girls basketball players and she poured in 66 points Saturday to become the all-time leading scorer in state history with 4,095 points. Buss moved to seventh on the all-time national list, according to the NFHS Record Book, passing Baylor University women's coach Kim Mulkey for the spot.

    It's pretty hard to have something else in your career overshadow a 66-point performance, but the 5-foot-7 senior guard managed to do it in an 84-82 loss to Princeton (Ind.) in front of a standing room only crowd at the Toyota Teamwork Classic in Indiana.

    Buss surpassed Brittany Johnson, who set the record in 2007 for East Richland (Olney, Ill.). She tied the record with two free throws and passed the mark with a 3-pointer to beat the record of 4,031.

    The reigning Miss Basketball in Illinois accomplished the feat with her future college coach in attendance. For her career she has averaged 36.9 points per contest, but would need 1,329 more points to break the national mark held by Adrian McGowen of Goodrich (Texas), who played 2003-06.

    Go to the 2-minute mark of the video to see the record-breaker.

  • File photo by James Conrad

    Anthony Smith, formerly of Bolingbrook

    Tony Smith made a surprising career change this week.

    One of the top high school girls basketball coaches in the country, Smith is leaving powerhouse Bolingbrook (Ill.) for a new start at Homewood-Flossmoor (Flossmoor, Ill.).

    "It was time for a change," he told MaxPreps on Sunday. "Not too many people thought I would leave Bolingbrook. It's just a chance to do it (build another top program) again. I think I'm still young (36). I think Bolingbrook is pretty well set."

    In 12 years, Smith guided Bolingbrook to a superb 331-39 record with four state titles and a pair of second-place finishes. He also turned out two McDonald's All-Americans - Ariel Massengale and Morgan Tuck.

    Smith revealed that from among a very large number of candidates, Homewood-Flossmoor officials interviewed three coaches.

    He has the greatest respect for his new school.

    "Homewood-Flossmoor is a great school with academics and athletics," he said. "They have a commitment there to greatness, a thing I could not pass up. They have good talent coming out that way."

    Smith concedes his new job will carry some added pressure, because the previous coach, Dana Noble, was fired despite posting a 63-25 record in three years.

    He conceded, "They expect excellence there. They don't want to be just average. That's the type of expectations I have for myself and my kids."
  • Dwyane Wade and Jackie Joyner-Kersee are among the 25 former prep stars set to be inducted into the Illinois High School Basketball Hall of Fame's class of 2013, according to the Southern Illinoisan.

    Wade averaged 27 points and 11 rebounds per game as a senior at Richards (Oak Lawn), then starred at Marquette before winning multiple NBA titles as a member of the Miami Heat.

    Getty Images

    Dwyane Wade, Miami Heat

    Known for her six Olympic medals in the heptathlon and long jump, Joyner-Kersee was also a prominent basketball star for East St. Louis. She went on to play basketball and compete in track and field at UCLA, where she ended her career with over 1,000 total points. She was eventually honored as one of the 15 greatest players in UCLA basketball history.

    Other notable selections include former NBA player and coach Doug Collins and Chicago dunk legend Ronnie Fields.

    "We are thrilled to welcome a new class of exceptional basketball players into our Hall of Fame," said executive director Dick Corn. "There are so many decorated basketball players when you look at the history of high school basketball in Illinois. We take great pride in celebrating players, teams and coaches and the history they have made."

    Players were inducted in three categories: Pre-1960s, Post-1960s and Women.

    The Pre-1960s inductees are: Perry Barclift, Quincy; Nate “Sweetwater” Clifton, DuSable (Chicago); Phil Judson, Hebron; Billy Ridley, Taylorville; Don Sunderlage, Elgin; Jesse Clements, Champaign; Dick Foley, Paris; Hiles Stout, Peoria; Whiey Verstraete, Moline; and Walter Kirk, Mt. Vernon.

    The Post-1960s inductees are: Ronnie Fields, Farragut (Chicago); Rashard Griffith, King (Chicago); Sam Puckett, Hales Franciscan (Chicago); Deon Thomas, Simeon (Chicago); Kiwane Garris, Westinghouse (Chicago); Hersey Hawkins, Westinghouse; Bogie Redmon, Collinsville (Ill.); Dwayne Wade, Richards; Doug Collins, Benton; and Mike Duff, Eldorado.

    The women’s class includes: Jackie Joyner-Kersee, East St. Louis, Carla McGhee, Manual (Peoria); Michele Savage, Immaculate Heart of Mary; Nancy Kennelly Olson, Maine West (Des Plaines); and Tangela Smith, Washington (Chicago).

    Image for MaxPreps Video.
  • The legend of Tyra Buss continued to grow Tuesday night as Mt. Carmel (Ill.) defeated Sullivan (Ill.) 72-56 in the semifinals of the Class 2A girls basketball sectional tournament.

    File photo by Wayne Litmer

    Tyra Buss, Mt. Carmel

    The 5-foot-7 junior guard fell late in the first half and separated her left shoulder. The Daily Republican Register reported that she "appeared to pop the shoulder back into place on her own."

    The trainer worked on her at halftime and all she did in the second half was pour in 30 of her game-high 40 points.

    Tyra's father, Tim Buss, told MaxPreps, "She was in pain during the third quarter and it seemed to get better as the game progressed. Tyra has been icing her shoulder since the injury. Today will see how much she has progressed."

    The big night boosted her career point total to 3,411 points — No. 2 in Illinois history — with still over a year to play.

    The record of 4,031 is well within reach. She also ranks No. 24 in national history.

    The Aces have a perfect 32-0 record and will play Teutopolis (Ill.) for the sectional title on Thursday.
  • Though the girls basketball season is just two weeks old, sensational Mt. Carmel (Ill.) junior guard Tyra Buss already is in mid-season form.

    Photo courtesy of Bob Poynter

    Tyra Buss, Mt. Carmel

    The 5-foot-7 dynamo poured in 51 points on Saturday to spark the Lady Aces to a 60-56 victory over Marshall (Ill.) in the championship game of the Lady Maroon Thanksgiving Tournament in Robinson, Ill. Earlier the same day she scored 40 points in just three quarters of a semifinal victory.

    Her big weekend pushed her career total to 2,356 points, which exceeds the boys school record (2,337) by former Indiana University and NBA star Archie Dees. She has averaged more than 30 points per game for her career and is on target to become the state's all-time leading scorer by the end of her senior year.

    The Daily Republican Register reports that Buss recently made a commitment to Indiana University over Illinois, Wisconsin and Evansville.
  • Photo by Wayne Litmer

    Billy Hicks, Scott County

    A quartet of accomplished high school coaches responsible for producing 11 state championships were announced Thursday as the coaches for the 2012 McDonald's All-American Games.

    The annual postseason showcase will take place March 28 at the United Center in Chicago. The girls contest will tip at 6 p.m. CT on ESPNU and the boys follow at 8:30 p.m. CT on ESPN.

    Billy Hicks of Scott County (Georgetown, Ky.) and Gordon Kerkman of Aurora West (Ill.) were tabbed to lead the East and West boys teams, respectively.

    Hicks has won over 800 games in 32 seasons as a head coach, including the last 19 at Scott County. He led the Cardinals to state championships in 1998 and 2007.

    Kerkman is in his 36th year as a head coach at Aurora West, winning 726 games and capturing a state title in 2000. He was also as varsity assistant at the school for 14 years, giving him an association with Aurora West that dates back to 1962.

    Tanya Johnson of Zion-Benton (Zion, Ill.) and Anne Long of Spring Valley (Columbia, S.C.) were selected as the girls coaches. Johnson has won over 600 contests and a pair of state titles in Illinois, while Long has six state titles on her resume with over 700 victories.
  • Dillard (Fort Lauderdale, Fla.) girls basketball coach Marcia Pinder already owns the Florida state record for most career wins, but she put a nice round number on it, with her 800th victory Thursday night.

    "The 800 wins is OK, but that is not the number I am looking for,'' Pinder told the Miami Herald. "This was just another game. We're taking it one game at a time."

    Pinder, who is in her 35th year and has posted an 800-175 career mark, would like to get to win No. 804 this season. If so, that means her Panthers will have claimed their third consecutive Class 5A state title, which would be No. 7 for Pinder.

    Of note, Pinder is now tied for No. 18 nationally for most wins by a girls basketball coach, according to the National Federation of State High School Associations' record book.

    In other basketball coach milestones nationally, Edwardsville (Ill.) coach Lori Blade earned career victory No. 500 on Thursday. In her 18-year career, Blade has compiled a 500-78 career mark, according to the St. Louis Post-Dispatch.