Iroquois West's girls' basketball coach Kristy Arie brought home a proud bunch of girls Saturday after her team earned a 4th place trophy at the 1A state finals at ISU's Redbird Arena.
Arie notes the state appearance will bring more interest in the high school basketball program in Iroquois County.
"This group set our expectations high since they were freshmen," IW coach Kristy Arie said. "They've been a coachable group and a hungry group. They always exceeded my expectations.
"The big thing this (trophy) does is get everyone excited, all the way down to the little kids in kindergarten. There's tons of interest in the program."
Seniors Taylor Cultra and Elena Sanchez left their mark at a school that won 89 games after they entered the building, helping Iroquois West secure its first team trophy in any girls' sport.
The Raiders lost 45-28 to top-rated Prophetstown in Saturday's Class 1A third-place game in the 39th annual IHSA state tournament at Illinois State University's Redbird Arena.
"We will be one of the teams everybody looks back at," said Cultra, who grabbed a team-high eight rebounds in the trophy game. "It was a dream. We knew we were capable of it, and it happened.
"Fourth in the state is not something to be disappointed in. My senior year is everything I wanted. Experiencing state is a great thing."
Sanchez, who led the team in scoring in both state games, had nine points.
Mac Girls win it all >
Bishop McNamara (Kankakee) defeated Breese Central, 55-51, Saturday for the Class 2A Girls championship.
All-Stater Khadaiza Sanders scored 19 points and Hanna Mitchell added 12 to lead the Irish. Both Sanders and Mitchell were unstoppable in the 4th quarter. McNamara finished at 29-4.
Sanders had a record 38 points in Friday's semi-fianls.