The victorious Cougar squad pose with their sectional championship plaque after Friday evening’s win against Freeport Aquin. The Cougars made easy work of the Bulldogs, taking the 49-31 victory. (PA photo/Craig Lang)
Eastland’s Dalton Shaner goes high in the air to make an outlet pass during Friday night’s Sectional final game at EHS vs. Freeport Aquin. Dalton led all scorers in the contest with fifteen points. (PA photo/Craig Lang)
The Cougar’s Dalton Shaner soars between Erie’s Owen McConnell (#45) and Jordan Chandler (#21) as he scores two of his game high twenty-eight points in the Eastland 62-41 win. (PA photo/Craig Lang)
River Ridge Wildcat Cody Landwer (#31) gets off a shot at the hoop with Freeport Aquin’s Nolan Brannick (#12) going for the block. Cody led River Ridge with twelve points as the Bulldogs took the 62-48 victory in the semi-finals of the Eastland Sectional. (PA photo/Craig Lang)
Eastland’s Austin Hansen drains a jumper from the key to put up the Cougars’ first two points of Friday night’s game in Lanark. Austin went on to score seven of the Cougar’s forty-nine points.
(PA photo/Craig Lang)
Cougars Demolish Cardinals
Eastland Cougar head coach Tony Dunlap shows his approval of his team’s play during Friday night’s sectional final contest against the Freeport Aquin Bulldogs. (PA photo/Craig Lang)
Before a packed house in Lanark, the Eastland Cougars improved their record to 28-3 and continued their post season run by making easy work of the Erie Cardinals on Wednesday evening, Feb. 27 in the first semifinal game of the Eastland Sectional.
The Cougars came out of the gate red hot on offense with junior point guard Dalton Shaner dropping his first six shots. The Cougars were equally stifling on defense, limiting Erie to some very tough shots. Eastland jumped out to a twenty to eight first quarter lead and never looked back.
The usually potent Cardinal offense never really got on track and early foul trouble by senior standout Jacob Johnston kept the whole Erie offense on their heels. The Cardinals were able to close the gap in the second quarter slightly, getting to within nine points (26-17) but the halftime lead was eleven (31-20).
Shaner scored fifteen of his game high twenty eight points in the second half on thirteen of eighteen shooting. The Cougars extended their lead to thirteen points (46-33) at the end of three quarters and a sixteen to eight fourth quarter scoring advantage was the final margin of victory.
Eastland shot 57% on 28 of 49. Johnston, who had scored one hundred twenty six points in his previous three games (37, 49, 40), was held to nine points on four of fourteen shooting. Freshman Jordan Chandler led the Cardinals with twelve points. Ty Hartman contributed eighteen points in the Cougar win.
Bulldogs Eliminate Wildcats
The Bulldogs came out red hot on offense and poor shooting put River Ridge in a big hole early as Freeport Aquin cruised to the 62-48 victory in the second game of the Eastland Sectional Thursday, Feb. 28. The Bulldogs hit sixteen of twenty four first half shots (64%) and held a twenty four point half time lead (35-11).
River Ridge shot five of twenty one in the opening half which led to the large deficit. The lead grew to twenty points (49-29) at the end of the third quarter. A nineteen to thirteen River Ridge scoring advantage in the final quarter proved to be the final margin of the win.
Aquin’s Aiden Chang led all scorers in the game with eighteen points while teammates Zach Moyer and Andrew Martin added thirteen and twelve points respectively. River Ridge had ten different players put points on the scoreboard, led by Andrew Ertmer’s twelve points. Teammate Brenden Dauphin added eleven points.
Cougars Crush Bulldogs
In front of a standing room only home crowd, the Eastland Cougars capped off their sectional run with a convincing eighteen point (49-31) win over Freeport Aquin in the final of the Eastland Sectional on Friday evening, March 1.
Eastland jumped out to a seventeen to ten first quarter lead and extended that lead to sixteen points (32-16) at the halftime intermission. The Bulldogs cut into that lead, outscoring Eastland thirteen to eight in the third to close the gap to eleven points (40-29).
The Cougar defense, which has been spectacular, then held the Bulldogs to just two fourth quarter points, while putting up nine to end the Bulldog’s season. Aquin was held to a season low thirty-one points, while their previous low which was forty-four points against Sterling Newman on January 2nd was eclipsed.
Eastland was led in the scoring column by Dalton Shaner, who dumped in fifteen points with teammate Ty Hartman adding a dozen. Aiden Chang led the Bulldog’s with eight points with teammate Anthony Townsend adding seven.
The win advance Eastland (29-3) to the Elite Eight and a date to face the Newark Norsemen (21-11) on Tuesday March 5th at the Convocation Center at Northern Illinois University in DeKalb at 6 p.m.
Class 1A Boys Basketball Sectional
Eastland Sectional Semifinals
Eastland 62 Erie 41
Freeport Aquin 62 River Ridge 48
Eastland 49 Freeport Aquin 31
Class 2A Boys Basketball Sectional
Byron Sectional Semifinals
Winnebago 69 Aurora Christian 51
Sterling Newman 45 Seneca 27
Winnebago 74 Sterling Newman 52
Class 1A DeKalb Super Sectional
Eastland vs, Newark – 6 p.m.
Class 2A DeKalb Super Sectional
Winnebago vs. Monmouth-Roseville – 8 p.m.
Class 3A Boys Basketball Regional
Belvidere Regional Semifinals
Rockford Lutheran 79 Freeport 56
Belvidere 48 Rockford Christian 24
Rockford Lutheran 71 Belvidere 46
IHSA Class 1A State Tournament
Peoria Civic Center
DeKalb Super Sectional winner vs. Jacksonville Super Sectional winner – 12:15 p.m.
Third Place game – 12:15 p.m.
Championship game – 2 p.m.
IHSA Class 2A State Tournament
Peoria Civic Center
DeKalb Super Sectional winner vs. Joliet Central Super Sectional winner – 6:30 p.m.