Local Sports

Monticello Falls in 2A State Title Game to Nashville

Saxton Hoepker's layup with 21.1 seconds remaining was the game-winning basket as the Nashville Hornets escaped with a 32-31 state championship victory over the Monticello Sages Saturday afternoon in the Class 2A state title game from the State Farm Center.


As heard on 95.9 FM WEZC and at dewittdailynews.com, Tanner Buehnerkemper missed an open layup that would have put the Sages up 33-30 but the senior, who was tremendous all game, especially on the glass, came up just short down the stretch setting up the game-winner for the Nashville second-team all-state senior. 


A gracious Buehnerkemper after the game said one miss and one loss didn't define the season for the Sages and Coach Kevin Roy agreed with his senior.



The Sages started the game slowly, shooting 3-for-16 for the first half but led Nashville 11-10 thanks to forcing the Hornets into five turnovers. Monticello went 5-for-7 from the floor in the second quarter to open it up to a 25-21 lead after three.


When Joey Sprinkle knocked down a wide-open layup on an offensive scramble to make it 31-25, it looked like the Sages were going to be able to find looks to keep the Hornets at bay but Nolan Heggemeier knocked down a three on the next Nashville possession and Monticello could not find the basket the rest of the way.


Kolten Gajewski (gaw-che-ski) grabbed an offensive rebound and made the put-back with 59-seconds left to cut the Nashville deficit to 31-30.


After Buehnerkemper's miss, Hoepker drove the lane and made a layup to put the Hornets up for good.


Despite the defeat, Coach Roy spoke highly of his team.



The seven Sages seniors were in seventh grade when Monticello was last in the State Tournament and Joey Sprinkle says he and his teammates want to be good role models for the younger Sages making their way through the ranks now because that team in 2017 was that to them. Trevor Fox says second-place for them, while disappointing, is something they are proud of. 



Monticello was able to play just a short nearly 30-minute drive from the Sievers Center in Monticello to the State Farm Center in Champaign. Dylan Ginalick says it was almost like they were playing on their home floor and wanted to show Illinois basketball fans what the Sages were all about.



Ginalick led the Sages with 11 points and three assists. Tanner Buehnerkemper grabbed a team-high 10 rebounds. 


Gajewski finished with a double-double for Nashville with 14 points and 11 rebounds.


Monticello shot 35.5-percent from the floor while Nashville shot 36.4-percent. The Hornets went 2-for-12 from distance while the Sages finished 3-for-11.


Monticello went 6-for-9 from the foul line and Nasvhille went 6-for-10 from the line.


The Hornets outrebounded Monticello 26-18 and turned 11 offensive rebounds ten points. 


The score was tied twice and there were eight lead changes. 


The Sages came into the state title game having won 13 in a row. They finish the year 33-4 overall, the winningest team in school history.


The next Sages sports broadcast on 95.9 FM WEZC and online at dewittdailynews.com will be Monday when the Sages open the baseball season in Rantoul taking on LeRoy. 

Townhall Top of the Hour News

Local Weather - Sponsored By:


Local News

DeWittDN on Facebook