By Kyle Daubs
Coles County was downright disrespected in the third week of boys and girls basketball rankings for the 2021 season.
I just completed my own shortened junior high basketball season, but I had something to look forward to when I got home. Most nights, my games crossed over the same night as Mattoon and Charleston girls basketball. That meant when it was time to lay my nearly 3-year old down for bed, we were going to watch the fourth quarter of a Mattoon or Charleston girls game.
Two coaches that I respect with the utmost feelings. These aren’t two newbie coaches leading a first-year program. Coach Miller has an undefeated regular season under his belt and nearly 400 career wins, while Coach Aydt has a 30-win season and has revitalized Mattoon basketball.
Apparently, it’s just two big fish lost in a vast ocean of bias and ignorance.
How have the rankings gone for three weeks and yet neither Charleston and Mattoon have a single vote in the rankings?
Charleston is a different story, which I will get to in a moment. However, despite two losses to Charleston, Mattoon should be considered a state-ranked team, at least in the top-25 for Class 3A.
Mattoon have lost twice to Charleston twice, Teutopolis (which somehow didn’t receive any votes), a solid Mahomet-Seymour team and Effingham. These are nowhere near bad losses.
Mattoon could also have a case for not receiving votes for their losses to Mahomet-Seymour and Effingham, but, in a normal year, their wins in holiday tournaments would make up for it. With an all-state caliber guard in Mallory Ramage and a solid senior supporting cast, this Mattoon team can beat most anybody.
As for Charleston, that is by far the bigger slap in the face.
Last week, Charleston clinched the Apollo Conference championship with a 54-50 win over Teutopolis. This senior class won the state championship as eighth-graders, in case the state of Illinois forgot. Despite not playing basketball in two years, Hannah Buescher and Kat Blase are playing exceptionally well, while Shae Littleford looks like a First-Team All-State selection in helping this team to a 12-0 start.
Sacred Heart-Griffin, the team that beat CHS’s undefeated 2018-2019 team in the sectional a couple of years ago, is at No. 4. If the Cyclones are No. 4 with a pretty similar schedule to Charleston, how do the Trojans not receive a single vote?
Since when did the Central State 8 trump the Apollo Conference or Big 12 for one of the best conferences in the state? While Decatur MacArthur may have won a regional title last year, you can’t convince me that their unimpressive wins over Decatur Eisenhower, Jacksonville, and Lanphier combined with a 16-point loss to Sacred Heart qualify them as the No. 7 team in Class 3A.
Peoria Central, leading the Big 12, and Dunlap, which clinched the Mid-Illini after a blowout win over powerhouse Morton, are pretty good. However, those two teams should be ranked Nos. 1 and 2, not 3-0 Simeon and Kenwood.
The voters are letting last year’s rosters and suburban bias blur the big picture. In a year when a pandemic has taken away the state series, we will never know which team is the best in the state.
I do know one thing, though.
Chicago Simeon and Kenwood can call down to Coles County and schedule a game whenever they want and truly find out who is better.
My money is on Coles County.
Class 3A Rankings
|2. Peoria Central||8-0||64|
|4. Sacred Heart||10-0||50|
|7. Burlington Central||7-1||22|
|10. St. Ignatius||8-1||8|
|10. St. Viator||6-1||8|
Others receiving votes: Marian Catholic 6, Rock Island 2, Dixon 2, Galesburg 2, Sycamore 2, Jersey 1.