PEORIA – Before Kaneland senior forward Ty Carlson stepped back to fire away in his bid for the IHSA Boys Class 3A Three-Point Showdown title, he took pause at something in the stands.
His cheering section.
Along with his father, grandmother and two younger brothers, Carlson’s backers included Kaneland interim athletic director Ralph Drendel and the Knights baseball team, of which Carlson also is a member.
All were on hand for Thursday’s preliminary round at the Peoria Civic Center.
Although Carlson’s eight 3s fell short of the 10 he needed to reach a playoff for the top four spots in today’s finals, he still left for home feeling content.
“I had a pretty good showing,” Carlson said. “It was very cool for all of them to come out.”
Carlson also was named to the Associated Press Class 3A Honorable Mention All-State team Thursday after helping the Knights to a share of the Northern Illinois Big 12 East title with team-leading averages in points (16.3) and rebounds (7.3).
That recognition only added to the euphoria he felt on the floor that will host the Class 3A and 4A state finals this weekend. Carlson was awed at the opportunity to see top recruits Jahlil Okafor (Whitney Young) and Jalen Brunson (Stevenson) – opponents in a 4A semifinal today – up close.
Carlson’s younger brothers – Troyer, 8, and Trevor, 12 – served as his rebounders.
“I didn’t really want the season to end. I just kind of tried to keep it going as long as possible,” Carlson said. “It was a really neat experience.”
Burlington Central junior Drew Wiss hit nine 3s in prelims and fell short of the finals cut.
In Class 4A competition, St. Charles North senior Alec Goetz’s seven treys weren’t enough to advance.
Navigato recognized: Geneva junior wing Nate Navigato on Thursday was named to the Associated Press Class 4A Honorable Mention All-State team.
Geneva 11, East Aurora 4: At Geneva, Melanie Burkhardt helped Geneva improve to 2-0 with wins at No. 1 singles and as part of the No. 3 doubles pairing with Halle Marten.
Indoor conference meets loom: Athletes from host Batavia aren’t the only ones geeked about this weekend’s Upstate Eight Conference indoor track meets at the Bulldogs’ fieldhouse.
“Oh yeah, it’s awesome. I love jumping there,” St. Charles North senior boys standout Erik Miller said. “They’ve got a lot of good facilities there. I saw their weight room [and] I was pretty jealous, and obviously their track is top-notch.”
The boys meet is set for today, with the girls to compete Saturday.
Kaneland’s boys and girls teams will travel to Sterling for the Northern Illinois Big 12 indoor meet Saturday.