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CHAMPAIGN – The third time was the charm.
When Paxton-Buckley-Loda High School girls basketball junior Liberty Jamison participated in the IHSA Class 2A Three-Point Showdown’s sectional round on Thursday, it was the third consecutive year in which she competed on the sectional level.
She finished second among 15 participants at St. Thomas More to earn her first trip to the state tournament.
“I'm really excited,” Jamison said. “It's just really nice to finally get that.”
During the 2016-17 season, Jamison made 51-of-199 3-point shot attempts for the Panthers.
On Thursday, Jamison had 15 shot attempts and made nine.
“Coach (Rachel Hurliman) and I were working really hard this week,” Jamison said. “She said, 'Get nine, and you can possibly have a tie,' so that's what I did, and I was really excited.”
While Tolono Unity’s Elyce Knudsen finished ahead of Jamison with 11 3-pointers, Jamison’s nine treys surpassed two other state qualifiers. Tristen Six of Warrensburg-Latham made eight 3-point shots while Salt Fork’s Madison Kirby had seven treys to obtain the third and fourth qualifying spots.
Clifton Central’s Emery Podowicz, Bloomington Central Catholic’s Ellie Stephens, St. Thomas More’s Eliza Kramer and Salt Fork’s Kayleigh Davis each fell one trey short of a state appearance as they each made six 3-pointers.
“It worked out. I'm really happy about it,” Jamison said. “The other girls were really good.”
Although she was the only PBL representative participating in the Three-Point Showdown’s sectional round, Jamison was not alone as teammates Ariana Gentzler, Cassidi Nuckols and Valeree Johnson were each in attendance.
“My teammates are very supportive. We are all very supportive of each other,” Jamison said. “I would do the same for them. It was really nice of them to be here.”
Jamison will shoot in the Three-Point Showdown’s state contest at Illinois State University’s Redbird Arena.
She will compete among 32 Class 2A sectional finalists in the preliminary round, which starts at 5 p.m. next Thursday.
At approximately 7 p.m. the following Friday, the top four shooters in Class 2A will shoot for their class title.
The four individual class winners will then shoot on state-wide television for Illinois’ “Queen of the Hill” title on Saturday, March 4.
“I've just got to get ready for next week,” Jamison said
Like Jamison, Gibson City-Melvin-Sibley’s Hannah Hathaway also advanced to sectionals out of the Clifton Regional. Hathaway did not advance to state, though, as she made three 3-pointers.
Also participating in the STM Sectional’s Three-Point Showdown were Camilyn Newbanks of Argenta-Oreana (five treys), Alex Specht of Blue Ridge (five treys), Magan Harris of Watseka four treys), Kaylee Robinson of Maroa-Forsyth (four treys), Katelyn Young of Oakwood (three treys) and Sydney Kelso of St. Joseph-Ogden (three treys).
IHSA CLASS 2A
At St. Thomas More Sectional, Champaign
Elyce Knudsen (Unity) 11; Liberty Jamison (PBL) 9; Tristen Six (Warrensburg-Latham) 8; Madison Kirby (Salt Fork) 7; Ellie Stephens (Bloomington Central Catholic) 6, Eliza Kramer (St. Thomas More) 6; Emery Podowicz (Clifton Central) 6; Kayleigh Davis (Salt Fork) 6; Camilyn Newbanks (Argenta-Oreana) 5; Alex Specht (Blue Ridge) 5; Magan Harris (Watseka) 4; Kaylee Robinson (Maroa-Forsyth) 4; Hannah Hathaway (GCMS) 3; Katelyn Young (Oakwood) 3; Sydney Kelso (St. Joseph-Ogden) 3.
NOTE: Top four shooters advance to state.