An overflow crowd at St. Peter Lutheran School in Arlington Heights, Ill., watched as history was made on Sunday, March 4. The boys’ and girls’ basketball teams from Immanuel Lutheran School, in Palatine, each won the Lutheran Sports Association (LSA) Illinois State Basketball Championships.
This marks the first time in the 28-year history of the LSA State Basketball Tournament that the same school took home both the girls’ and boys’ state basketball championship trophies.
In addition, Immanuel Lutheran eighth-grader Lauren Glaser received the Most Valuable Player Award for the girls, while eighth-grader Matt Ulrich received the boys’ MVP Award. Also, six Immanuel players were named to the All-State Tournament Team. Lauren Glaser, Demi Pappas and Holly Straup were named to the girls’ All-State Team; while Troy Burrows, Nate Rathe and Matt Ulrich were named to the boys’ All-State Team.
In the girls’ championship game, the #1-seeded Lady Bobcats (25-3) faced the Bethel Lutheran School Flames (23-6) from Morton, Ill., winning by a final score of 32-20. To reach the championship game, the Lady Bobcats defeated Trinity Lutheran-Centralia, 37-19; Our Savior’s Lutheran-Springfield, 30-18; and St. John’s Lutheran-Lombard, 45-28. The Immanuel Lutheran Lady Bobcats have now won eight LSA State Basketball Championships since 1991, more than any other girls’ team in the state of Illinois.
"This is an incredible group of girls,” stated Heather Glaser, head coach of the Immanuel girls’ team and sister of Lauren in a press release. “They set a goal to win a state championship and they pushed each other hard to make that possible. Every single one of them contributed to this accomplishment by believing in themselves and their teammates."
Glaser, a 1998 graduate of Immanuel Lutheran, was a member of Immanuel’s 1997 State Championship Team, the 1998 State Runner-up Team, the 1998 LSA All-State Tournament Team and the 1998 Girls’ National Championship Team. She also was coached by John Ulrich, current head coach of the Immanuel boys’ team.
The undefeated Immanuel Lutheran boys’ team (30-0) also were seeded #1 in the state tournament. In the boys’ championship game, the Bobcats faced a tough #2-seed Christ Lutheran-Peoria team (36-4), winning the contest by a final score of 44-35. The Bobcats’ road to the championship game included wins over Zion Lutheran-Belleville, 47-19; LSA-Decatur, 54-26; and Zion Lutheran-Marengo, 45-21. This is the Bobcats’ third LSA State Basketball Championship since 2002.
"This team has worked very hard to become a good defensive team and a very skilled offensive team,” stated John Ulrich, head coach of the Immanuel boys’ team. “Each week, they get better and better. They play hard, they study hard in school and, most importantly, they work very hard at being a team that worships together with passion and helps others.”
As LSA Illinois State Basketball State Champions, both teams from Immanuel Lutheran will compete in the 64th Annual National Lutheran Basketball Association of America Invitational Tournament at Valparaiso University in Valparaiso, Ind., on March 29-April 1.
The Bobcats varsity cheerleaders also competed in the LSA State Cheerleading Competition on March 2, where the young, talented squad received the third-place trophy. The cheerleaders are coached by Donna Cook.
Information submitted by Immanuel Lutheran School.