McDonald's/Herald Whig Classic Preview: Illinois girls blend storylines of past and future

2013 McDonald's/Herald Whig Classic

Girls game begins at 5 PM on Saturday, with the boys game to follow at 7 PM (both games will be played at Quincy University's Pepsi Arena)

For any Tri-States hoops fan, this is the summit you wait all year for. Illinois vs. Missouri in one final game. For Eric Orne's Illinois girls squad, the blending of the region's top talent brings a new sort of winning atmosphere to 10th and Jackson.

"Its pretty amazing. You spend all of your winters getting ready to face girls like these and then all of a sudden they're on your team. Its been exciting to get to know them and see their talents perform all week long here at QND,"

Some players will be looking back on the past once Saturday night rolls around. Miranda Neisen brings the Liberty legacy along with her, continuing a strong line of past Eagles to take to the court.

"Its an honor to play here. I've grown up watching Lucy Cramsey and other players from Liberty, and it just feels good to know that you're good enough to play on a team that other great people have played on,"

Other players, however, will be looking ahead during game night. The future of John Wood's back court will come together for the first time when Pittsfield's Shea O'Brien and Quincy High's Arai'ya Dade join forces.

"I'm interested to see how well we work together to get a heads up on how its going to be at John Wood,"

But despite the different paths these players have taken to get here, the goal is always the same. End with a W.

"You're used to competing against all of these people and wanting to win and shut them down in games, but now you all have to come together and play as a team to win the game,"

"Its going to be really nice to play with the girls I've been competing against, have us come together as a team and hopefully end the high school career on a win,"

"We're going to keep these girls rolling in and out and get a lot of scoring and a lot of fun for the fans,"