Five area wrestlers are a win away from a berth to next weekend’s IHSA state tournament.
On the first day of the Class 2A Pontiac Sectional on Friday, three Ottawa wrestlers and two La Salle-Peru grapplers advanced to their respective semifinals. A win in the semifinal guarantees a berth to state.
The top four wrestlers at every weight advance to state.
Ottawa 195-pound senior Alex Fuentes and 220-pound senior Cyrano Rayfield both won a match Friday to advance to the semifinals, while 145-pound junior Daniel Close won two matches to move into the semifinals.
La Salle-Peru 113-pound senior Riley Sweetland won his lone match Friday to make it to the semifinals, while 132-pound senior teammate Jacob Wever won two matches to advance to the semifinals.
All other area wrestlers at the 2A Pontiac Sectional lost Friday but are still alive in wrestlebacks, which have not yet begun.
Local wrestlers at the 1A Byron Sectional were not as lucky as all suffered a defeat but all are still alive in wrestlebacks.
Princeton 120-pound freshman Austin Wetsel won his first-round match but fell in the quarterfinals, while three other Tiger wrestlers lost their first-round matches.
St. Bede 132-pound senior James Peacock and 285-pound sophomore John Barnes both won their first-round matches but lost in the quarterfinals, while Mendota 138-pound sophomore T.J. Christmann and 145-pound junior Jim Rodda both lost their first-round matches.
Ottawa 54, Sterling 35
John Carroll finished with a double-double of 13 points and 12 rebounds as the Pirates earned a Northern Illinois Big 12 Conference West Division win Friday in Sterling.
Brett Johnson scored a game-high 19 points for Ottawa (19-1, 8-0 NIB 12 West), while Isaac Gassman added 13 points.
Tied at 15-15 after the first quarter, the Pirates outscored the Golden Warriors 16-8 in the second quarter and held Sterling to just two points in the fourth quarter.
Bureau Valley 68, Riverdale 55
The Storm bounced back from Tuesday’s loss as they earned a win in a Three Rivers Conference North Division game Friday in Port Byron.
BV led 9-6 after the first quarter and 28-21 at half before the Storm broke open the game by outscoring the Rams 23-13 in third quarter.
Henry 79, Woodland 46
A 26-point second quarter busted opened the game as the Mallards earned a blowout Tri-County Conference victory Friday in Henry.
Nathan Helle scored a game-high 23 points for the Mallards (19-4, 6-1 TCC), while Jake Schlosser added 16 points and Deven Guelde contributed 14 points.
Princeton 71, Sherrard 56
Four Tigers scored in double figures as Princeton earned a Three Rivers Conference South Division victory Friday in Sherrard.
Garrett Duffin scored a team-high 19 points for PHS (5-20, 3-8 TRC South), while Brenton Schmidt added 16 points, Tyler Clark had 12 points and Zach Hicks chipped in 10 points.
Dixon 63, La Salle-Peru 55
The Cavaliers fell behind early and never caught up in a Northern Illinois Big 12 Conference West Division loss Friday in Dixon.
Noah Lamboley scored a game-high 26 points for L-P (9-12, 2-5 NIB 12 West), while Kaleb Jakse added 14 points.
Heyworth 71, Fieldcrest 68 (OT)
Leading by five entering the fourth quarter, the Knights lost the lead and then the game in overtime in Friday’s Heart of Illinois Conference showdown in Minonk.
Fieldcrest led 26-22 at halftime and 41-36 after three quarters but were outscored 20-15 in the fourth quarter.
Jackson Puetz scored a game-high 27 points for the Knights (14-11, 6-4 HOIC), while Drew Barth added 24 points.
Hinckley-Big Rock 61, Leland-Earlville 47
Nolan Baumbach had 16 points, five rebounds, four assists and four steals, but it wasn’t enough as the Panthers fell in a Little Ten Conference game Friday in Hinckley.
Collin Bomstad added 17 points for L-E (6-18, 1-6 LTC).
Serena 66, LaMoille-Ohio 50
Josh Gross scored a team-high 14 points, but it wasn’t enough as the Lions fell in a Little Ten Conference game Friday at Serena.
Preston Powers chipped in nine points for L-O (5-18, 1-6 LTC).