They are two time IVC Champions. They are two time regional and sectional winners. They have appeared twice in the Elite 8. Last year, they claimed the third place title in the State Final Four.
Remarkably, they never lost a home game in the three years they have played together. They have a phenomenal record of 68-4.
The Channahon 8th Grade Boys Basketball team have no reason to be disappointed this year either. They took the sectional title last month. They continued to go to State competition. Unfortunately, they lost to the defending State champions; Kingsley Junior High, Normal.
“This is a very talented group of boys,” said Coach John Placher. “They always have a 22-point hold in the game and average at least 50 points a game. All these boys have a chance to play at the high school level.”
According to Placher, the State game started out very fast and CJHS matched every basket to Kingsley’s. CJHS was up by one point at the half. In the third quarter, CHJS continued to go neck and neck with Kingsley, Placher said.
“However, in the fourth quarter, they (Kingsley) got an eight point lead and never looked back,” Placher said. “They took it away.”
Kingsley Junior High stripped the chance of CJHS advancing in the State tournament by winning the game 57-44.
Jonathan Lamas said he loved playing with this group because of all the talent.
“At first we started as teammates but through the years our relationship grew stronger the more we succeeded and at the end we became a family,” Lamas said. “During the games the atmosphere was excellent cause you know if you had a bad play, your team would be there to say “its all right”. We all had each others backs no matter what was going on.”
Next year Lamas and teammate Danny Beaudin hope to make the freshman team for and to continue playing with their teammates. Unfortunately, Danny Devine is going to and most likely, Joe Butler will get moved up to sophomore level, he said.
“This team changed the way I see things and made me who I am,” Lamas said. “I wanna say good luck to all my team mates in the future and I love them all.”
Jon Butler, a seventh grade player, was moved up to play with the team in the sectional game, as well as the State game, Placher said.
“He practiced the whole year with both the seventh and eighth grade teams,” Placher said. “He is the backbone of the seventh grade team.”
Butler said he was glad Placher wanted him to play up.
“The eighth graders are really good and I wasn't sure how much help I could give them,” Butler said, adding that he knew the seventh grade team would go far this year. And they did. They made it to third in the state.
“I played with them (8th grade) for travel ball the past few years so I already was comfortable playing with them,” Butler said. “The pace of their games is a lot faster during the regular season and it was good to stay sharp and practice at that speed."
Placher has been coaching in for 16 years. He ran the Little Dribbler program until he was approached by the sixth grade coach at Three Rivers School. In 2004, Placher took over the eighth grade team. For the exception of one year, the team has played in a State game, he said.
Placher’s three children; two daughters and a son have played or is currently playing basketball. He coached his younger daughter and son. His oldest daughter, Sara is a senior guard and two-year starter for the Minooka Community High School Girls Varsity Basketball team.
“Time will only tell how long I will be coaching,” Placher said.
But the advice he gives all his players is to never stop playing.
“If you don’t play, someone is going to pass you up,” Placher said. “ You can’t put that ball down. Always play for AAU (club ball) or in the driveway.”