Wildcats win regional title

With 1:15 remaining in the game, Jake Parr made a 3-pointer to lead the Anna-Jonesboro Community High School boys’ basketball team to a 54-51 win over Chester for the Class 2A regional championship at Johnston City Friday, Feb. 23.

The win was a school record for A-J. With the win, the Wildcats improved to 23-8. The previous school record was 22-7, which was set during the 1952-1953 season, and 22-6 in both the 1944-1945 and 1948-1949 seasons.

“That was kind of our goal that we talked about this season – the all-time wins in school history,” A-J coach Mike Chamness said. 

With the win, the Wildcats also earned their first regional title since 2004, which was during Chamness’ senior season while he was a player at A-J.

“I’m glad our guys got to experience it,” Chamness said.

The Wildcats have played in a lot of close games this season.

Chamness said that in games decided by margins of 6 or fewer points, A-J has posted a 10-2 record. 

The Yellowjackets were ahead 49-44 with 4:35 remaining when the Wildcats got a boost.

With Chester up by 5, Chamness said the team was looking for a way to respond, and A-J’s Jacob Zimmerman hit a key 3-point shot.

The Yellowjackets led 9-6 after one quarter. The Wildcats fought back to pull ahead 28-26 at the half. A-J led 41-40 after three periods.

Jake Parr led the way with 25 points and 11 rebounds. Sawyer, who was a perfect 6 of 6 from the field and 2 of 2 from the free throw line, finished with 14 points and 3 rebounds. 

Sheldon McGrath had 7 points and 2 rebounds. Zimmerman had 3 points and a rebound. Noah Smith had 3 points. Blake Pena had 2 points and a rebound.

A-J was 15 of 26 in shot attempts from the floor, 6 of 13 from 3-point range and 6 of 10 from the free throw line.

The Yellowjackets were 23 of 43 in shot attempts from the floor, 1 of 3 from 3-point range and 2 of 6 from the charity stripe.

A-J 59, West Frankfort 57: With 3.1 seconds remaining, Parr made a short jump shot and an ensuing free throw to lead the Wildcats to the first round win in the Class 2A regional at Johnston City Tuesday, Feb. 20.

“We got it to Jake and he made a play,” Chamness said. “He made the shot and got fouled.” 

The  Redbirds led 10-9 after one quarter. The Wildcats came back to pull ahead 30-26 at the half and 48-40 at the end of three periods.

Only 18 seconds into the final quarter, McFarland’s jump shot boosted A-J to a 50-40 advantage.

“We got up 10 in the fourth quarter and we let it slip away,” said Chamness, who credited very good rebounding which helped to fuel the comeback bid. 

Parr finished with 25 points and 9 rebounds. McGrath had 11 points and a rebound. McFarland had 10 points and 5 rebounds. Pena had 5 points and a rebound.  

Ross Pinnon had 3 points and 3 rebounds. Zimmerman had 3 points and a rebound. Sawyer had 2 points and 3 rebounds. Tyler Smith and Noah Smith had 2 rebounds apiece.

The Wildcats were 18 of 34 in shot attempts from the floor, 5 of 19 from 3-point range and 8 of 14 from the free throw line.

 The Redbirds were 14 of 33 in shot attempts from the floor, 8 of 18 from 3-point range and 5 of 7 from the free throw line.

This season has been special for the A-J coach.

“I enjoy coaching them,  they are all good kids,” Chamness said. “It’s fun to come to practice each day.”

He knows A-J has a very solid opponent this week against  host  Trenton Wesclin at the Class 2A sectional.

A-J was scheduled to face Trenton Wesclin Tuesday night.

Pinckneyville and Nashville also were playing at the sectional. 

The section title game is set for 7 p.m. Friday. The winner advances to the Carbondale super-sectional, which is set for 7:30 p.m. Tuesday, March 6.

“Trenton Wesclin is really good,” Chamness said. “Playing on their home floor will be tough. They’ve got five guys who can shoot it. But we’ll take one game at a time.”

The Gazette-Democrat

112 Lafayette St.
Anna, Illinois 62906
Office Number: (618) 833-2158
Email: news@annanews.com

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