By Al Zipsie

A runner up state finish for the Eastland girls basketball team wasn't good enough.

The Cougars (34-3) erased a ten-point halftime deficit outscoring Lewiston 15-5 in the third quarter and going on to win the 1A state championship 62-57 Saturday in Normal at Redbird Arena.
They went into the fourth quarter tied at 41 all and pulled away behind a team effort. Erin Henze a first-team all-state senior hit 4 of 6 3-pointers and hit all six free throws to lead the way with 20 points. Her 138 three-pointers was one shy of an all-state season record. Second team all-state senior Lydia Coatney had 15 points, senior Dani Rush hit a couple of key 3 pointers and found the right time to have her best game of the season with 12 points. Meredith Janssen added nine points and Karlie Krogman had 6 points and led the team with eight rebounds.
It was the first NUIC girl's state championship by an NUIC team since Aquin won it back to back in 2012 and 13. An NUIC boys team has never won the state title in hoops.
Eastland has the most success in the NUIC in basketball. It's the third state finish for the Eastland girls, the first and second the last two years along with a third in 2014. The fifth overall for Eastland as the boys finished fourth twice in 2010 and 13.
Eastland whipped Hume-Shiloh 70-28 in the 1A semifinal Friday. Henze outscored the entire Hume-Shiloh team with 29 points to lead the Cougars.
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Eastland moves into third in NUIC state hardware with 14, and now with five state titles. Go to Facebook NUIC sports hardware.
NUIC Boys basketball. River Ridge Sectional. Tuesday Dakota (28-4) plays Fulton (21-9). Wednesday Indian Creek (34-0) plays Lena-Winslow (26-7). The winners play for the championship Friday. Dakota basketball and wrestling have a 38 game winning streak and counting going into Friday's Sectional championship. Dakota record 65 straight which make National news in 2005-06 when the football team went unbeaten at 14-0 2005 and was state champions. Wrestling went unbeaten 2006 24-0 and state champions and basketball 2006 was 27-1, not losing until Sectionals.
Stateline Sports Hub. NUIC All-Conference Boys Basketball. Combines all divisions.
1st Team
Evan Flynn. Dakota. Senior.
Trey Selman. Milledgeville. Junior.
Declan Schemmel. East Dubuque. Junior.
Taylor Patterson. River Ridge. Senior.
Benjamin Vandigo. Scales Mound. Sophomore.
Honorable Mention.
Brennan Carlson. Aquin. Junior.
Kellen Henze. Eastland. Sophomore.
Josh Clark. Dakota. Senior.
Isaiah Bruce. Lena-Winslow. Senior.
Sean Ormiston. Lena-Winslow. Senior.
Michael Popkin. West Carroll. Senior.
Zach Baker. Orangeville. Junior.
Tucker Mumford. Polo. Senior.
Ethan Williams. Warren. Senior.
Ben Hunziger. Aquin. Junior.
Ben Werner. Scales Mound. Sophomore.
NUIC All-Conference Girls Basketball. Combines all divisions.
First Team.
Erin Henze. Eastland. Senior. First-team all-state.
Abby Barr. Aquin. Senior. Second-team all-state.
Abi Payne. Amboy. Junior. Second-team all-state.
Lydia Coatney. Eastland. Senior. Second-team all-state.
Tiana Timpe. Stockton. Junior. Honorable Mention all-state.
Second Team.
Tabytha Toelke. Dakota. Junior. Honorable Mention all-state.
Mallory Powers. Amboy. Junior. Honorable Mention all-state.
Sami Wasmund. Galena. Senior.
Karlie Krogman. Eastland. Junior.
Camdyn Pennick. Ashton/Franklin Center. Senior.