The Commercial-News, Danville, IL

Sports

January 23, 2014

Devils return to title game

Bismarck-Henning playing for its sixth time in seven years

DANVILLE — Bismarck-Henning had its string of five straight Vermilion County Tournament championships come to an end at the hands of the Armstrong-Potomac Trojans.

Not only did Armstrong-Potomac claim the Vermilion County title a year ago, but in the process, the Trojans snapped the Blue Devils 16-game winning streak at the Palmer Arena with a 31-27 win in pool play a year ago.

On Wednesday night, Bismarck-Henning got itself back in the championship game with a 39-32 victory over the Salt Fork Storm.

“We have been fortunate to play in a lot of championship games, and even last year, we put a good fight to try and make it back to the title game,’’ said Bismarck-Henning coach Mike Stephens, whose team took third in last year’s County Tournament. “So, we weren’t totally disappointed in our performance, but we are certainly happy to be back in that final game.’’

Bismarck-Henning senior Maddie Winkler, who missed part of last year’s County Tournament to run a half-marathon, admitted being back in the title game is a big deal for the Blue Devils. That was quite obvious as the team could be heard celebrating throughout the Palmer Arena.

“Being back in the championship is exciting,’’ she said. “It’s something that every team in this county wants to win.’’

But does it take on a bigger significance after having your streak broken a year ago?

“I’ve always said this is a special tournament, especially for me’’ Stephens said. “Being a Danville guy, this is the one chance that a lot of people that I know can get out and see my team play.

“And for the kids, it’s very special to play for the County Tournament championship.’’

And Bismarck-Henning had to win a battle against Salt Fork to get back into the title game.

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