Fans got their first look at Chester basketball teams at all levels during "Sports Drink Night," an evening of fun activities Wednesday, Nov. 10, at CHS Colbert Gymnasium.
The cost of admission for the event was a bottle of sports drink to be utilized at practices throughout the season by the Chester High School squads.
The evening was hosted by Chester's two new head coaches -- Chris Toledo, who now leads the boys, and Clint Cowan, who takes over the girls team coached by Toledo last year. Toledo replaces Brad Norman, who left CHS to teach and coach at Murphysboro.
The night featured with the introduction of various sports teams from all schools in Chester, as well as performances by the CHS cheerleaders and dance team.
This year the St. John Lutheran School Lady Hornet softball team won the Class S State Softball Tournament. The champions were on hand to be introduced and be recognized as the No. 1 team in Class S.
Following team introductions, the CHS boys and girls teams engaged in a friendly shooting competition with layups, free throws, 3-pointers, a shot from the volleyball line, and a half-court shot. The boys came out on top with Koby Jany finishing by sinking the half-court shot.
The boys and girls basketball teams also faced off in a friendly, but very challenging and exciting game of "Knock Out." The game started with approximately 25 players. After 10 minutes of very competitive shooting, one player was left standing: Freshman Lady Jacket Rylie Conley.
Spectators were able to get in on the fun -- and earn candy treats -- during the free throw shoot, as well as the ever-popular "YellowJacket 3-Point Shot Club T-shirt Toss."
For 28 years, a T-shirt has been thrown into the crowd each time the Jackets and Lady Jackets hit a 3-point shot.
Thanks to local sponsors, that tradition will continue this year. Sponsors include Mayor Tom Page and the City of Chester, Silkworm Inc., Lochhead's Service Station, Scott the Painter, Andy's Auto Body, Rozier's Country Market, Paul Gentry and State Farm Insurance, Uptown Barbers, Jim Dunning and Reiss Ford of Marissa, First Baptist Church, Tequila's Restaurant, Southwestern Illinois Bus Company, Tim Hall Construction, Chester Insurance Agency, Rowold Hardware, Memorial Hospital of Chester and Buena Vista Bank.
Following the T-shirt toss, a spectator was given the chance to win season tickets for both the boys' and girls' basketball games by attempting a half-court shot.
Lucky drawing winner Jennifer Colvis elected not to attempt the shot but gave that opportunity to her husband, Kyle Colvis. Kyle took the shot and hit the rim from half-court, but the ball didn't fall into the hoop.
To close out the evening, all schools were invited to take part in a shooting competition. Each group of shooters had one minute to make as many shots as possible as a team.
Round after round, shooters were eliminated, until there were two girls and two boys remaining. Camryn Howie and Kailyn Absher from the CHS Lady Jackets and Chance Mott and Trace Fricke from the CHS Yellowjackets faced off in a shootout.
After the final round of shooting, the game was still tied. The shooters decided to send the game into "sudden death" with the head coaches of the girls' and boys' teams battling for the win. Coach Toledo and Coach Cowan faced off shooting only free throws. It took several rounds, but Toledo finally prevailed.
The evening ended with the Yellowjackets boys running a shooting drill as the crowd exited the building.
Meet the athletes:
CHS Lady Jackets
The 2021-22 edition of Lady Jacket basketball includes just 10 girls, including two seniors, four juniors, three sophomores and one freshman.
Seniors include Alyssa Seymour (44) and Kailyn Absher (25). Juniors include Briley Miles (33), Camryn Howie (3), Hanna Colvis (14), and Maleia Absher (12). Sophomores include Emma Diskey (35), Jasemine "Jazzi" Merideth (22), and Josalynn Anaya (24). The lone freshman is Rylie Conley (4).
Head coach Cowan is assisted by Amber Skorcz and Rick Powley.
The YellowJacket boys' program features 25 players. Coach Toledo is assisted by junior varsity coach Jake Cowan, freshman coach Jacob Wente, and assistant coach Nick Severs.
The varsity squad currently boasts 12 players, including Gavin Schroeder (0), Cooper Eggemeyer (2), Jared Landeros (3), Chance Mott (4), Freddie Alvarez (5), Koby Jany (12), Ethan Stumpe (15), Aiden Jany (20), Jacob Handel (22), Gabriel Steele (32, 24 black and white), Lucas Thompson (40), and Trace Fricke (44).
The JV squad features 13 players, four of whom also dress varsity. The JV squad includes Aron Korando (0), Kolton Jany (3), Shea Menefee (4), Cayden Brunkhorst (5), Koby Jany (12), Korbin Jany (13), Drew Coleman (13), Evan Dunning (15), Devante (20), Jacob Handel (22), Gabriele Steele (24), Lucas Thompson (40), and Evan Bland (45).
CHS welcomes eight freshmen to the basketball program including Kolton Jany (3), Cayden Brunkhorst (5), Zain Al-Jassim (12), Evan Dunning (15), Devante Palacio (20), Jack Heffernan (22), Brayden Absher (40), and Brendan Malley (44). Jany, Brunkhorst, Dunning, and Palacio also dress for the JV squad.
The 2021-22 Chester High School cheerleaders have a 10-person squad for basketball including two seniors, three juniors, three sophomores and two freshmen. Senior captains are Hanna Blechle and Alex Hennrich. Juniors include Emma Eggemeyer, Savanna Guebert, and Reese McCormick. Sophomores include Bethany Baughman, Dyson Helmers, and Ellen McCormick. Freshmen are Peyton Cole and Kourtney Welton.
The squad is coached by Danielle Laramore, assisted by Candace Williams.
CHS dance team
The dance team consists of 11 dancers, including two seniors, one junior, four sophomores, and four freshmen. Senior co-captains are Kylie Fortner and Maria Nickel. Junior co-captain is Paige Vasquez. Sophomore dancers include Hailey Clendenin, Amanda Kennon, Kylie Springston, and Grace Welborn. Freshmen dancers are Paige Hamilton, Mirra Krieg, Whitney Sulser, and Summer Valleroy.
Head coach Adrianne Kern is assisted by Emily Eggemeyer.
Grade school teams
• The St. John boys basketball team includes Celeb Coffey, Reed Creason, Isaac Sims, Tallen James, Trey McCartney, Trevin Eggemeyer, Haydn Hurst-Roy, Preston Abell, Reagan Sims, Rhett Creason, and Kale Springston.
• The Chester Grade School boys basketball team includes Gage Coffman, Tray Peters, Caleb Richmond, Aydn Winchester, Robbie Myers, Brayden Juenger, Derrius Shoemate, Gage Yankey, Carlos Jimenez, Konner Schroeder, Kajob Stueve, Alex Blechle, Danny Worley, Tashawn Palacio, Zane Eggemeyer, and Kross Jany.
• The St. Mary's Hawks basketball team includes Joe Bicket, Marlie Caby, Brandon Korando, Rusty Korando, Gage Lynn, Kanon Jany, Bailey Kempfer, Logan McDonald, Keegan Quandt, Ethan Colvis, and Jonathan Hayer.
• St. John Lutheran School Lady Hornets basketball team includes Avery Hasemeyer, Joella Eggemeyer, Aleah Eggemeyer, Aubrey Colvis, Lillian Diskey, Camryn Wolff, Aubrey Coleman, Macy Bert, and Lexi Mott. The Lady Hornets are coached by head coach Jeff Mott and assistant coaches Jennifer Coleman and Jennifer Colvis.
• The Chester Grade School Lady Junior Jackets boast a roster of 12 A-Team members and 10 B-Team members. The Junior Jackets are coached by Head Coach Jennifer Cartwright. She is assisted by Jessica Whiteside. Volunteer Coaches are Kevin Cartwright and Joanna Tudor.
The A-Team consists of eight eighth graders and four seventh graders. Eighth graders include Rylie Myers, Maggie Caby, Riley Lochhead, Brenna Astin, Jessica Stumpe, Morgan Throop, Brittany Teater, and Aubrey Bowles. Seventh graders include Lauren Cowell, Rylee Shemonic, Brylee Hagne, and Peyton Barker.
The B-Team consists of six seventh graders and four sixth graders. Seventh graders include Lauren Cowell, Rylee Shemonic, Brylee Hagne, Peyton Parker, Taylor Throop, and Angelina Carmona. Sixth graders include Allison Bainter, Kenna Thompson, Abby Carter, and Amelia Shipley.
• The Junior Jacket Cheer Squad was on hand to be introduced, including Addy Gottschammer, Aubrey Petrowske, Ava Bert, Brooke Howie, Callie Davis, Erin Liefer, Megan Zimmer, and Vacey Shields. Head coach is Susan Furuholmen.
St. John softball state champions recognized
The Lady Hornets include Brystol Stellhorn, Hannah Crow, Mallorie Homan, Addison Coffey, Joella Eggemeyer, Avery Hasemeyer, Aubrey Colvis, Aubrey Coleman, Macy Bert, Camryn Wolff, Lexie Mott, and Lillian Diskey.
The Lady Hornets were coached by Justin Frazer, Head Coach and Assistant Coaches Jeff and Tracy Mott. During the celebration the girls displayed their championship trophies.