CERRO GORDO – Coaches around Central Illinois are still getting to know their new teams, but are excited to be back to a “regular routine,” after the COVID-19 pandemic played havoc with last year’s season.

“As a team, we are excited to get basketball season going on its regularly scheduled time this year,” said Cerro Gordo High School girl’s basketball coach Andrew Buhr.

The Broncos gave the first-year head coach his first career victory with a 33-31 win over Windsor-Stewardson-Strasburg on Nov. 16. Junior Haley Garrett led the team with a double-double (10 points, 11 rebounds). Classmate Reese Brunner added 11 points and Haylei Simpson scored 8 points. Skye Tieman led the defensive effort with five steals.

“This will be a growing year for us for sure, as we don’t return any seniors from the previous season,” he said. “We are learning a lot in the first couple of weeks while really putting a strong emphasis on energy, effort and communication as a team and I have been pleased with what I have seen so far.”

The Blue Ridge Knights opened the season with a forfeit over Decatur Christian and then dropped a 49-24 decision to Fisher on Nov. 17. Tatem Madden led Blue Ridge with six points. The Knights then lost to LeRoy, 49-18 the following night.

Arthur Lovington Atwood-Hammond opened the season with a pair of victories. On Nov. 15, the Knights opened the season with a 48-37 win over Meridian and the following night, defeated Tuscola, 41-29. Against Meridian, Sophomore Claire Seal scored 17 points, had seven rebounds and six steals. Kailee Otto and Shaylie Miller each added nine points.

In the win over Tuscola, Junior Charley Condill led the team with 15 points. Seal added seven points and 14 rebounds.

“I am happy with our first two games,” said head coach Mac Condill. “Wins are great of course, but it’s the in-game changes our players made and the adversity they overcame - be it foul trouble, matching physicality, or adjusting to officiating. They really impressed me.”

The Knights graduated a pair of seniors who were both at least 5-feet-11 in Mackenzi Bowles and Makenzie Brown.

“You would think our inside play and rebounding would take a hit,” he added. “But in fact, Charley Condill and Claire Seal have been every bit as productive in controlling the boards and guarding the basket. It’s the backcourt that will continue to find ways to impact the game at which point we will be hitting on all cylinders. It’s early, we have a lot to improve on, but it is nice to finally see what some of our weaknesses are and try to work on them in practice.”

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