In the final week of the Western Big 6 Conference girls basketball season, all the hay is in the barn. The top three spots are already determined, the scoring and rebounding titles aren't really in doubt, but momentum is at stake.
This is the final game for everyone before heading into the post-season and no one wants to start regionals coming off a loss. These regional tournaments are the toughest in recent memory, and there could be a rematch of the final Big 6 week in the 3A regional title game between Galesburg and Alleman.
The local Class 4A regional road goes right through Peoria Richwoods. United Township will get its third shot at knocking off Rock Island in the opening round before the winner will play the Knights on their home court. Further south, Quincy has to play state-ranked Springfield in the opener, just to get to nationally-ranked Edwardsville.
But before getting into the post-season, teams have one more chance to get themselves ready.
Galesburg (17-12, 5-4 WB6) at Alleman (15-13, 2-7 WB6): These two teams are trending in opposite directions, and with regionals right around the corner, could be seeing each other next Thursday for the regional title. The stakes aren't as high tonight. The only thing up for grabs is position for Alleman. The Pioneers have been in last place in the Western Big 6 since week 1, but would jump up to 4th tonight with a win. The return of senior star Zoe Kelso has sparked the Pioneers to play their best basketball of the season. Alleman has won four of its last five games, and with a win tonight will guarantee another winning season. Galesburg is trending the other way, as the Streaks have lost five straight games. Losing a sixth straight isn't the way the Streaks want to go into the post-season. Seniors Jessica Lieber and Sharron Diggins will no doubt lead with a sense of urgency. Twitter: @ChrisSteele_DA
United Township (18-11, 7-2 WB6) at Moline (9-19, 2-7 WB6):Moline's Maroons came into last week's game against Rock Island feeling disrespected by this column and did everything they could to prove it wrong, nearly pulling off an improbable comeback. That inspired play in a one-point overtime losscarried over to a win over Peoria High on Saturday. So, after losing five straight, the Maroons have won two of their last three. United Township wants to cap a Western Big 6 season that may have been the biggest surprise of the year. The Panthers nearly defended their title share from a year ago with an entirely new starting lineup. They've done it through tough-nosed defense. Last time these two teams played, they combined for just 61 points, expect the same tonight. If either team gets to 40, it could be considered a barn-burner. Twitter: @ASandoval_DA
Rock Island (23-3, 9-0 WB6) at Quincy (11-11, 2-7 WB6): Well the Rocks are trying to put themselves into elite company. Only 12 times in the 35-year history of the conference have the champions gone 10-0, the Rocks could be No. 13.The trip down to Quincy is always like going into the Bermuda triangle, though, and Quincy has been on the verge of upsets all season. The Blue Devils are going to make it tough for the Rocks, but being perfect comes with a price. Twitter: @SchuckDaddy
Today is Saturday, July 26, the 207th day of 2014. There are 158 days left in the year.
1864 -- 150 years ago: It is said that the ferry company has cleared about $10,000 since the burning of the railroad bridge. Couldn't the company now afford to pay that little bill it owes the city? 1889 -- 125 years ago: The sum of $4 million in cash in addition to supplies of immense value were forwarded to Jamestown, Pa., from all parts of the country for relief of the sufferers from the great flood. 1914 -- 100 years ago: The Board of Education secured a site for the New Central Grammar School by purchasing additional property south of Irving School for $3,400. 1939 -- 75 years ago: The total number of workers employed at the Farmall Works of International Harvester Co. has reached a peak of 5,300, the largest payroll in Rock Island. 1964 -- 50 years ago: Army engineers testified today that the water levels of Lakes Huron and Michigan are at a 104-year low. The condition is causing a multi-million dollar loss to commercial shipping. 1989 -- 25 years ago: The Illinois Department of Revenue issued certification for a tax-increment- financing district Friday afternoon, opening one more door for developer Jim Massa to proceed through on his way to establishing an automobile raceway.