Huntley senior T.J. Adams uses visualization to deal with any nerves he experiences while competing in the IHSA Class 4A Three-Point Showdown.
Adams sees himself not in front of hundreds of fans, but with his father, Paul, and brother, J.T., just like when they shoot at Lifetime Fitness.
That thinking has served Adams well. He qualified for state as a junior and after a pair of double-digit rounds in the regional and sectional, the Red Raiders guard is headed back to Peoria’s Carver Arena for the competition today.
Johnsburg’s Collin Ridout and Henry Lobermeier and Harvard’s Justin Nolen will shoot in the Class 3A competition. The competition begins at 5 p.m. with one 4A shooter and one 3A shooter on each end.
Adams made 10 of 15 shots in the Rockford East Regional, then hit 11 of 15 to win at the DeKalb Sectional.
“It’s especially great going down [to state] after making it last year, too,” Adams said. “I haven’t been thinking of the scores, I just go out there and act like I’m at Lifetime with my dad and my brother.”
Ridout and Lobermeier had to shoot with two other players in an overtime shoot-off for three qualifying spots at the Antioch Sectional. Ridout wanted to shoot well, just not too well.
“I was looking to get in with Henry,” Ridout said. “I didn’t want to knock him out. And I didn’t want to be the one guy out either.”
Everything worked out just fine for the pair of Skyhawks. Lobermeier hit 6 of 10 shots from the corners in the shoot-off. Ridout hit five. When the next shooter made only three, they celebrated.
“It will be way more fun to go downstate together,” said Ridout, who hit 31 3-pointers for the season.
Nolen hit 9 of 15 at the Class 3A Freeport Sectional, then hit 6 of 10 in a shoot-off to qualify and will be shooting along with Lobermeier and Ridout in Class 3A on Thursday at Peoria’s Carver Arena. Huntley’s Adams won the Class 4A DeKalb Sectional with 11 3s and is the area’s only 4A representative.
Lobermeier was the first of 20 shooters in regulation and also was the first of the four competitors in the shoot-off.
“Hitting six felt pretty good, but I knew I could still get beaten,” he said. “I was just happy we’re not done. We thought we’d do way better as a team this year and it’s nice to still be going in this.”
Likewise, Nolen was first of four shooters and put on the pressure with six shots. He could have a lot of traveling to do this weekend with the competition today and baseball games scheduled Friday and Saturday in Litchfield.
“We’ll go down Thursday, and if I don’t advance, I’ll come back and go to Litchfield with the team,” Nolen said. “If I make it, I’ll stay in Peoria and then go to Litchfield.”
Nolen said Litchfield has had temperatures in the 50s and 60s and thinks the Hornets’ games might go on as scheduled.
• Joe Stevenson is a senior sports writer for the Northwest Herald. He can be reached by email at email@example.com. You also can follow him on Twitter @nwh_JoePrepZone.