Normal Community Ironmen runners-up in IHSA Class 4A Championship

Normal Community and Homewood-Flossmoor take the floor at the State Farm Center in Champaign for the Class 4A State Finals.. (Neil Doyle)

By Jake Fogal

CHAMPAIGN – After the best season for the program since 2015, Normal Community boys basketball came up just short of hoisting the IHSA Class 4A State championship Saturday night in Champaign, falling to Homewood-Flossmoor 60-48.

Three Vikings scored in double figures, as Bryce Heard poured in 21 points. Jayden Tyler had 15, and Carson Brownfield added 12.

Braylon Roman had 18 points in the loss for NCHS, and Noah Cleveland tallied a double-double with 13 points and 11 rebounds.

The Ironmen and the Vikings battled back and forth to begin the game, as HFHS’s Jayden Tyler converted on a three seconds into the contest. The Vikings held the lead after the first quarter, as Tyler chipped in nine points through the first eight minutes.

Both team’s upped their defensive efforts in the second quarter, as Homewood-Flossmoor outscored Community 10-7. The Vikings took a 31-23 lead to halftime, as Bryce Heard led all scorers with 10 points.

The Ironmen struggled early in the third quarter, but managed to keep the deficit at eight. The Viking led 47-39, as NCHS’s Connor Smith connected on a three as the quarter ended.

The Vikings kept possession of it’s lead in the fourth, holding the Ironmen to nine points in the final quarter to capture the Class 4A State Title.

The Ironmen finish the season 32-6, with a 10-0 record in Big Twelve Conference play.

Normal Community is hosting a reception Sunday at 2:00 p.m. to celebrate the Ironmen’s 2023-24 season. The ceremony will be held in the main gym at the high school, where the the team will be introduced. The team will be signing autographs and taking photos with fans.

Jake Fogal can be reached at [email protected].


Labor Day – Expanding voting rights for all

By Mike Matejka Because of COVID, there is no Labor Day Parade this year.  It’s always a great event for our everyday workers to march proudly down the street and enjoys the festive crowd. If there had been a parade, this year’s Labor Day theme was to be “150 years of struggle: your right to vote.” …

Is federal mobilization the answer?

By Mike Matejka As President Donald Trump threatens to send federal marshals into Chicago, over the objections of Illinois Governor J.B. Pritzker, recall another Illinois Governor who protested the incursion of armed federal personnel into the city.   Those federal troops, rather than calming, escalated the situation, leading to deaths and violence. Illinois poet Vachel Lindsay…

In these troubled times, to my fellow white Americans

By Mike Matejka Our nation is at a unique watershed in human relations. African-Americans have been killed too many times in the past before George Floyd, but the response to this man’s death is international and all-encompassing. I was a grade-schooler during the Civil Rights 1960s. I watched Birmingham demonstrators hosed and the Selma – Montgomery…

Workers’ Memorial Day – Remember those whose job took their life

Looking around our community, when we say employer, most will respond to State Farm, Country, or Illinois State University.   We too often forget those who are building our roads, serving our food, or our public employees. COVID-19 has made us more aware of the risk.  Going to work every day for some people means…