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, March 8, the 67th day of 2014. There are 298 days left in the year. 1864 -- 150 years ago: The price of board for single gentlemen occupying rooms in Davenport hotels has been raised to $10 per week. 1889 -- 125 years ago: Dr. J.W. Stewart was elected president of the Rock Island County Bible Society. 1914 -- 100 years ago: Mrs. I.O. Nothstein, Rock Island, was named president of the Woman's Home and Foreign Missionary Society of the Twin Cities. 1939 -- 75 years ago: Athel Young, wife of Chic Young, who draws the internationally famous "Blondie" comic strip, has been visiting her mother, Mrs. John Miller, in Rock Island for three weeks. The Youngs' infant son accompanied his mother. 1964 -- 50 years ago: 750 students from 30 northern Illinois high schools will take part in the Class D state finals music contest to be held next Saturday on the Augustana College campus. 1989 -- 25 years ago: A near capacity crowd shook the rafters at Wharton field House in Moline Tuesday night. When the decibel level returned to normal, Alleman's Pioneers had pulled out a 54-49 victory over the Orion Chargers. The win advanced Alleman into the Elite Eight for the first time in 25 years.