February 26, 2015

Throwback Thursday: Basketball 2007

This is the first Throwback Thursday feature of the year. Admittedly, I put doing weekly #TBT on the back burner in order to get the new Megapics section up and rolling in January on the PhotoNews website. As soon as that was done, next thing I know we're covering the IHSA state finals for dance, cheer and wrestling. Now that those big weekends are out of the way, it is time to get back to featuring a few of the more than 53,0000 photos on central Illinois' best sports site.

Today's Throwback is a look back at the 2007-2008 basketball season, some of great action photos and a few of the awesome players from seven years ago. Names you might remember from that season were Heritage's Lindsey Nichelson and Brittney McClellan, Salt Fork's Joel Learnard, Corbin Sebens from Monticello, Unity's Dani Gooch and Ana Deters and Tuscola's Clayton Meyers.

It was a rocky season for the Unity basketball program with Zebo Zebe, one of the Rockets' leading scorers in school history. Along side a supporting cast made up of Heath Woodcock, CJ Moody, John Humer and bench full of hard-nosed ballers, the Rockets finished the season just above the .500 mark after falling in the regional title game to Bismarck-Henning in February of 2008.

Meanwhile, Unity's rival St. Joseph-Ogden Spartans depended on solid play from big man Jake Firkins and three-sport teammates Zach Becker, Michael Cessna and Tyler Johnson. Tad Worley was the agent that held the SJO together that season with his long-range shooting and ball handling in clutch moments during tight games.

Here's a look at the players and moments we captured that year. Click here to see the entire collection of photos published from the season.

Zack Becker
December 07, 2007 - St. Joseph, IL - Zack Becker blocks a shot during St.Joseph-Ogden's home conference game against Momence. The Spartans suffered a tough loss falling 53-45 to the visiting Redskins.

Unity's Shane Woodcock
February 23, 2008 - Paris, IL - Unity's Shane Woodcock sits on the bench with teammates during the last minute of their season. After a low scoring 1st quarter, Bismarck-Henning widened the lead to 9 points by halftime. The Blue Devil defense didn't allow many open looks as the Rockets fell to Bismacrk-Henning 56-42 in the Class 2A Regional final. See more photos from this game here. [Photo: Douglas Cottle/PhotoNews]

Joel Learnard and Jon Knoll
December 28, 2007 - Broadlands, IL - Salt Fork defenders Joel Learnard (3) and Jon Knoll (2) prevent Cole Judy (5) from getting a clean shot off. The Storm defeated the Hawks 58-47 and will play in the championship game. The Hawks will play for 4th. Click here for more photos from this game. [Photo: Douglas Cottle/PhotoNews]

Unity's Heath Woodcock and Canton's Matt Putrich
December 29, 2007 - Charleston, IL - Unity's Heath Woodcock collides with Canton's Matt Putrich [right] while going up for a shot in the second half at the Charleston Holiday Basketball Tournament. The Rockets, who were a new entry into the annual tournament, fell 55-34. The Little Giants went on to win the 5th-place title over Paris.

Dani Gooch and Kylie Holland
November 27, 2007 - St. Joseph, IL - Rockets' Dani Gooch [left] and Spartans' Kylie Holland [right] battle for a loose ball during second half action. St. Joseph-Ogden improved to 5-0 after defeating visiting Unity 54-47. Check out nine more photos from this rivalry game here.

Bismarck-Henning's David Ingram
January 19, 2008 - Danville, IL - Bismarck-Henning's David Ingram cuts down his share of the net after winning the Vermilion County basketball title. The Blue Devils beat the Storm 57-49 Saturday evening.

Monticello's Brent Rhodes fight for a rebound
December 27, 2007 - Monticello, IL - Monticello's Brent Rhodes fight for a rebound against St. Thomas More's Tyler Schwerghart [10] and Kristian Gallivan [22]. The Sages, who went on to win their annual tournament for the first time since 2002, defeated the Sabers 62-54.

Senior Greg Cannon
February 19, 2008-Rantoul, IL- Senior Greg Cannon smiles at a framed picture he received during Senior Night as his grandmother (left) and mother (right) look on. [Photo: Douglas Cottle/PhotoNews]

Click here to see the entire collection of photos published from the season. Did you play during this season? Share your fondest memory in the comment section below.

February 23, 2015

State Finalists To Watch

Each year when we cover the Illinois High School Association's state wrestling tournament, the top newspapers from around the state reporting on high school wrestling's season finale send us a list of the athletes they want us to cover during the three day tournament. As in past years, the list was long and distinguished with names like Crystal Lake Central's Andrew Marsden and Sandburg's Rudy Yates. The PhotoNews had more than 200 state finalists from more than 25 wrestling programs from around the state to follow for the best prep sports sections in the state. Below is a partial list of the top athletes and links to the photos of them from this weekend we were asked to focus on. In some cases, we'll have additional photos from other sports and seasons of many of these elite Illinois athletes.

Click on the name and follow the link to our photo collection on the PhotoNews Media website. Should you get a "No results matched your search." message it may mean we have photos in our files offline that were not posted or requested by a news organization. Send us a message to cu.photonews@gmail.com if you would like us to review our archive for photos for any of the names on this list to publish on our site to share with college recruiters, family and friends.

Abdullah Assaf
Adam Ferrell
Alec McKenna
Al'lon Carter
Amier Khamis
Andrew Marsden
Andrew Stengal
Anthony Griffiths
Anthony Randazzo
Anthony Rink
Anthony Rubino

February 21, 2015 - Champaign, IL - Hinsdale's Juwan Edmond pushes Alton's Nicholas DeLoach to the edge of the mat during their third-place match at the 2015 IHSA state wrestling finals on Saturday afternoon. Edmond went on to win the bout 9-1 to place third. (Photo: PhotoNews Media/Clark Brooks)

Anton Krocko
Austin Chaon
Austin Gomez
Austin Macias
Austin Parks
Batavia Dylan Uzumecki
Branden Peshek
Brandon Meyer
Brandon Muselman
Brian Burns
Brian Krasowski
Britches Sikula
Bryan Ditchman
Cam Pait
Carson Oughton
Charlie Faber
Chris Murino
Christian Brunner
Cody Barnes
Cody Minnick
Cole Bateman
Corey Jurzak
Corey Knudsen
D'Andre Johnson
Daniel Close
Darvell Flagg
DJ Penik
Dylan Thurston

February 21, 2015 - Champaign, IL - Plainfield South's Eric Johnson and Hinsdale South's Joshua King wrestle for the 220-pound Class 3A title at the IHSA State Wrestling Finals on Saturday night. King went on to win the bout by way of a 9-6 decision. Johnson finished second at this year's state tournament. (Photo: PhotoNews Media/Clark Brooks)

E.J. Phillips
Eric Barone
Eric Johnson
Eric Schultz
Eric Wagner
Ethan Harsted
Garrett Dziedzic
Grant Sutton
Ian Mullen
Jack Jessen
Jake Dudeck
Jake Szlenk
Jason Stokes
Jimmy Brennan
Joey Rivera
Joey Schloegel
John Cianco
John Cullen
Johnny Mologousis
Joseph Mier
Josh Fiegel
Josh King
Josh Stenger
Juwan Edmond
Kaneland George Strang
Keone Derain
Kirk Johansen
Kolbe O'Brien
Kyle Betourne
Kyle Eighner
Kyle Ruettiger
Kyle Szlenk
Lenny Petersen
Logan Lundelius

February 21, 2015 - Champaign, IL - Coal City's Joey Rivera celebrates his pin for the the 106-pound Class 1A title over Litchfield's Colin Davidson at the IHSA State Wrestling Finals on Saturday night. Rivera earned his title sticking Davidson at 2:32. (Photo: PhotoNews Media/Clark Brooks)

Louie Hayes
Luke Iida
Marcus Povlick
Mason DeLong
Matt Allen
Matt Crnich
Matt Rowland
Michael Cullen
Michael Gomez
Michael McGee
Michael Petersen
Nathan Traxler
Nick Hawkins
Nick Remke
Nick Wolf
Noah Keefe

February 21, 2015 - Champaign, IL - Willowbrook's Jack Jessen looks for a shot in on Marmion's Riley DeMoss during their 170-pound Class 3A championship match at the IHSA State Wrestling Finals on Saturday night. Jessen went on to finish second at this year's tournament after a 5-4 loss to DeMoss. (Photo: PhotoNews Media/Clark Brooks)

Pat Walker
Patrick Brucki
Paul Turner
Qarin Johnnic
Ramon Lopez
Reiss Bielski
Ricky Vigil
Riley Buchanan
Riley DeMoss
Riley Vanik
Robbie Precin
Robby Duh
Romeo McKnight
Rudy Yates
Sage Friese
Shayne Oster
Tom Buell
Tom Slattery
Tom Welch
Travis Piotrowski
Trevell Timmons
Trevor Schmidt
Tyler Johnson
Tyree Johnson
Vinnie Piunti
Zach Krause
Zach Martin
Zach Spencer

February 22, 2015

Best of Illinois state wrestling 2015

I threw together this not-so-quick review highlighting some of my favorite shots from this weekend's IHSA State Individual Wrestling Finals. Many of these were found in newspapers around the state this weekend. Were any of these in your hometown paper? If you want to see more photos and memorable moments from of our coverage this year's state tournament check out the links at the end of this blog post.

Marmion's Riley DeMoss
Marmion's Riley DeMoss celebrates his 5-4 decision over Willowbrook's Jack Jessen at the IHSA State Wrestling Finals on Saturday night.

Crystal Lake South's Eric Barone
Crystal Lake South's Eric Barone slides Alton's Phyllip DeLoach over his head during their 145-pount semifinal match. Barone advanced to Saturday's championship match defeating DeLoach by major decision, 10-2.

Montini's Michael Johnson and Highland's Nick Czar
Photo art of Montini's Michael Johnson as he tries to force Highland's Nick Czar to the mat during their 285-pound Class 2A title match at the IHSA state wrestling finals. Johnson won a 2-0 decision in a match that went all three periods for the title.

Geneseo's Hunter Grau
Geneseo's Hunter Grau celebrates after his championship victory over Boylan's Alexander Butler at the IHSA State Wrestling Finals on Saturday night. Grau won the 138-pound title in overtime, 5-3.

Lockport's Tyler Johnson hold on tight to keep Dundee-Crown's Christian Brunner from shaking him off during their third-place match at the 2015 IHSA state finals on Saturday afternoon. Brunner won the bout by way of an 8-2 decision for third while Johnson placed fourth.

Herscher's Mitch Geister and Harvard's Zach Martin
Herscher's Mitch Geister lifts Harvard's Zach Martin off his feet during their 1A quarterfinal wrestling match at the IHSA state wrestling finals in Champaign. Geister went on to win the bout, 6-4.

Mercer County's Quinton Ball
Mercer County's Quinton Ball celebrates his 1-0 semifinal win over Durand's Eli Burdick. Ball advanced to Saturday's championship match in the Class 1A 285 weight class at the IHSA state wrestling tournament on Friday.

Harvard's Zach Martin
February 20, 2015 - Champaign, IL - Harvard's Zach Martin cleans his tongue during his Class 1A quarterfinal wrestling match against Herscher's Mtich Geister. Martin fell 6-4 to Geister at the IHSA state wrestling finals in Champaign.

Marmion's AJ Jaffe
Marmion's AJ Jaffe tries to roll Oak Park-River Forest's Jaime Hernandez to his back during their third-place match at the 2015 IHSA state wrestling finals on Saturday afternoon. Jaffe prevailed with a 4-2 win in the 132-pound Class 3A division.
St. Joseph-Ogden's Wesley Kibler
Photo illustration of St. Joseph-Ogden's Wesley Kibler with a wide grin as he hugs head coach Richard Vetter after his title win over Monmouth-Roseville's Logan Millizer at the IHSA State Wrestling Finals on Saturday night. Kibler defeated Millizer by a 14-2 major decision to win the Spartans program's first individual state wrestling title.

Related Links
Want to see more great photos from the tournament? Check out the following galleries on the PhotoNews site:

Thursday's Wire Images

Friday's Wire Images

Saturday's Wire Images

PhotoNews State Wrestling Gallery
Even more photos and custom art designs.

Wrestling Photo Gallery
We have 11 years of wrestling coverage available on our site. Search for your photo or of your favorite athlete using the search engine.

February 13, 2015

New Photos In Our Megapics Section!

Last month, we added a new web photo gallery on the PhotoNews Media website called Megapics. The new section features photos from games and events we cover in a new format different from our traditional sports news galleries. We made the photos larger ... okay, huge so our fans and viewers can really enjoy the clarity and quality as well experience what makes our photos great, the emotion and expressions captured throughout a competitive sporting event. There no captions as in our media galleries, just the photos doing the talking themselves. Every photos delivering a thousand words. Every photo recording a never duplicated moment in history.

Follow us on twitter at @PhotoNewsWire for the latest updates to the Megapics section. Galleries will be online only for 30 days. Don't miss the chance to enjoy or purchase the moments captured by the photographers at PhotoNews Media. As of this post, there are more than 900 photos from basketball and wrestling from the current season. From time to time we will also feature photos and athletes from past events going back as far as 1999. Like our Facebook page at http://www.facebook.com/myphotonews for updates as well for the latest galleries added to this section.

Our Megapics section ... we think it is Mega-cool.

February 10, 2015

Mahomet-Seymour Wins State Dance Title

January 31, 2015 - Bloomington, IL - Finishing fifth after the first day of competition at the IHSA Competitive Dance State Finals of Friday, the Mahomet-Seymour Dance Team leap to the state title beating the highly competitive and perennial finalists from Highland, Morris and Triad. A little less than two points in the third installment of the Illinois high school sports association's championship series separated the top three places.

PhotoNews state dance special edition
Thirteen judges score Competitive Dance based on ten individual areas of a performance. Routines are evaluated on choreography, musicality, difficulty, technique, group execution, formation, transitions spacing, showmanship and overall visual effect. Ten is the highest number a team can earn in each category.

January 29, 2015

Rockets To Honor Senior Players Tonight

Here's a little somethang we threw together this morning to honor Rebecca Maxwell, Hannah Stone and Paige Sappenfield, seniors who will be recognized at tonight's final home game of the season for the Unity Rockets. Head over to the game at the Rocket Center tonight and check out the awesome commemorative senior posters created by designer Clark Brooks to celebrate their career with the Unity Rockets.

January 28, 2015

Swarm Sting The Windy City Groove

December 20, 2014

Rice's Shot Gives Illini Nice Win

Illinios' Rayvonte Rice made the shot that legends always seem to do as time expired at this year's annual Bud Light Braggin’ Rights against Missouri Tigers. Rice, who finished with 19 points, hit a three-pointer as time expired. The bucket gave the Fighting Illini and head coach John Groce their second consecutive Braggin' Rights victory after a 62-59 final.

In video below, you can see Rice bring the ball down the court and then take advantage of the Mizzou defense switching coverage on him.

Years before he put on the Orange & Blue, the PhotoNews covered Rice's prep career. Here are some of the 20 photos, including a sampling from his brief career as a prep football player, found our archives.

Rayvonte Rice
March 6, 2009 - Champaign, IL - Chargers' Rayvonte Rice dribbles the ball down the court in the Champaign Central regional title game. Centennial defeated Central 70-61 to advance to a Tuesday night sectional game against Springfield Southeast. Rice finished with 17 points and 12 rebounds. See more photos of Rice in our collection . . .

Rayvonte Rice slams a one-handed dunk
January 31, 2010 - Bloomington, IL - Centennial's Rayvonte Rice slams a one-handed dunk during second half action in the large school title game at the State Farm Classic basketball tournament. The Chargers had an extra reason to celebrate New Year's Eve after winning the championship game 46-25 over Rockton-Hononegah in their first-ever tournament appearance. The victory also capped a year for the Charger program which did not lose basketball game in the 2009 calendar year. Rice, who finished with a game-high 14 points, was a unanimous choice for the All-Tournament team.

Rayvonte Rice cuts down the game net
March 6, 2009 - Champaign, IL - Centennial guard Rayvonte Rice cuts down the net after the Chargers defeated host Champaign Central 70-61 in their regional title game. Centennial advanced to a Tuesday night sectional game against Springfield Southeast. Rice finished with a double-double, 17 points and 12 rebounds in the post-season win. See more photos here . . .