Yellow Jackets sting Bulldogs, 48-38 for Cahokia Conference win!

JV wins, 47-42, to set the tone for the varsity match-up

BY JIM BEERS, Contributing Writer

CHESTER – It was a great night for Chester High School Boys’ Basketball Friday February 10 in Colbert Memorial Gymnasium, on Rocky Bridges’ Court. The weather was mild for this time of year and a large crowd of both Chester and Sparta fans showed up to cheer on their favorite teams.

Chester and Sparta have played each other for decades as Randolph County rivals. The fans of YellowJacket and Bulldog countries have faced-off for years in the SWE, River-to-River, and now the Cahokia Conferences.


It was fantastic atmosphere in Colbert Gymnasium on the campus of Chester High School as both Chester and Sparta fielded good crowds for this Cahokia Conference matchup.


In addition to a great, exciting game, fans got to see a flashy CHS Dance Team “kick routine” and immediately following the completion of the varsity game, the CHS Cheerleaders performed their 2022-23 Competition Routine for a good crowd of fans from both teams that “stuck around” to watch.

YellowJacket varsity enjoys 10-point, 48-38, win over Bulldogs


The Jacket buzzed out of the hive to sting the Bulldogs early and often, CHS led, 10-0 with 2:30 to play in the first quarter. Sparta got its first points on a 3-pointer by Zach Bodeker at the 2:08 mark.

At the final buzzer to end the 1st quarter, Chester led 13-5 behind the shooting of Chance Mott (5), Gavin Schroeder (4), and Devante Palacio and Trace Fricke who scored two points apiece.


Besides Bodeker’s 3-pointer, the Bulldogs had free throws from James Pillers and Brayden Henry to give them their five points.


In the second frame Sparta edged Chester, 13-10, to pull within five points, 23-18 at halftime.  During that stretch, Chester’s Gavin Schroeder and Lucas Thompson each drained 3-pointers and Chance Mott and Davante Palacio each knocked down buckets for Chester’s 10- point performance.


Sparta’s Brayden Henry kept the Bulldogs alive by making three baskets for six points. Zach Bodeker drained another trey and added a traditional field goal for five points. James pillers closed out the effort by making one basket for two points.


At halftime the CHS dance Team performed a “kick routine” to the tune of “Tainted Love”.  The squad is coached by Adrianne Kern. She is assisted by Bailey Misuraca and Emily Eggemeyer.


The dance team consists of 10 girls including senior captain, Paige Vasquez, juniors Amanda Kennon, Kaylie Springston, and Grace Welborn, sophomores Mirra Krieg, Tia Martinez, and Summer Valleroy, and freshmen, Hayden Cartwright and Annah Helvey Ahring.


The Cheerleader 50/50 drawing with a prize of $87.00 was won by Sparta Basketball fan, Amy Kloos. Steve Colonel and the CHS Pep Band performed throughout the night and the Boys’ Basketball parents served hot dogs and pizza at the east concession stand. At the west concession stand there was hot popcorn, soft drinks and a variety of candy bars.


After halftime the Jackets and Bulldogs resumed competition and gave fans a very exciting 3rd quarter.

Chester opened the action with a long 2-pointer by senior Trace Fricke. Sophomore Kolton Jany followed with a strong move to the basket for two points. The Jackets led, 27-18. Not to be outdone, Sparta’s Damian Lanton popped a 3-pointer to pull within six points, 27-21.


In the final stretch of the 3rd quarter, Sparta outscored the Jackets, 9-8, to trail by just five points, 35-30. The third period was a 12-12 tie.


CHS got points from three players including Gavin Schroeder with two three-pointers, Trace Fricke with a bucket and two free throws and Kolton Jany with his bucket. The Bulldogs received scoring from four players including Robert Greer and Damian Lanton each with 3-pointers, Ethan Willis with two baskets and Tyler Brown with a bucket.


The 4th quarter was hot-and-heavy with Sparta pulling out all of the stops to take the lead in the game.  A full-court press with smothering defense created difficulties for the Jackets. In the opening 4:35 of the period, the Bulldogs forced turnovers and got at least two steals to get within two points, 40-38 with 2:30 to play in the game.


Chester’s Chance Mott hit a pair of free throws at the 2:13 mark to give the Jackets a bit of breathing room, leading 42-38. Sparta’s Brayden Henry had an opportunity to get those two points back but missed his free throw attempts.


Chance Mott struck again with 1:52 to play when he drove hard to the basket and managed to get his layup to go in, in spite of being hammered pretty badly in the process.  He was awarded a free throw and completed a “THREE-POINT-PLAY”, extending Chester’s lead to 45-38.


Devante Palacio scored at the 1:21 mark and extended the YellowJacket’s lead to 47-38.  With just 1:01 remaining in the game, Sparta’s Ethan Willis fouled out of the game, eliminating one of their key threats on the inside.

Devante Palacio was fouled with 51.3 seconds left to play. He made one free throw to extend Chester’s lead to ten points, 48-38.  Sparta was unable to score and Chester held to ball uncontested with what time was left on the clock to end the game. 


In the win, the Jackets were led offensively by two YellowJackets that scored in double figures. Gavin Schroeder led all scorers with 16 points and Chance Mott scored 12 points. Other contributors included Devante Palacio (9), Trace Fricke (6), Lucas Thompson (3), and Kolton Jany (2).


Chester made (12) 2-pointers, (6) 3-pointers, and sank 6-of-7 free throws at the line (86%). The Jackets were called for just 9 fouls.


Sparta was led by Brayden Henry who scored 13 points. Other scorers included Zach Bodeker (8), Ethan Willis (6), Robert Greer, Damian Lanton, and James Pillers with three points apiece, and Tyler Brown with two points.

The Bulldogs made (9) 2-pointers, (6) 3-pointers, and shot 2-of-8 from the free throw line (25%) . Sparta was called for 10 fouls.


With the win, the YellowJackets improved to an overall record of 11-18 and a Cahokia Conference Illinois Division record of 5-4.


Immediately following the game the CHS Cheerleaders performed their 2022-2023 Competition Routine. The performance was well received by a rather large crowd of both Sparta and Chester fans that stayed to see the routine.


 Cheerleaders performing the routine included Emma Eggemeyer, Savanna Guebert, Dyson Helmers, Bethany Baughman, Ellen McCormick, Liberty McCormick, Alexis Eggemeyer, Peyton Cole, Kourtney Welton, Elaina Lutman, and Callie Davis. Other Cheerleaders included Reese McCormick, Maleia Absher, Paige Thomas, Jasemine Merideth, Southern LaChance, and Megan Zimmer.

JV wins, 47-42, to set the tone for the night.


The Junior Varsity game preceded the varsity game and set the tone for the rest of the night. 

Sparta opened the game with a 15-10 first quarter effort. In that quarter it was pretty much a one-man show with Damian Lanton scoring 11-of-Sparta’s points on three 3-pointers, and a 2-pointer.  Robert Greer added the other four points with a basket and two free throws.


Lucas Thompson led Chester with two huge 3-pointers, while Korbin Jany and Tray Peters added buckets.


In the second quarter the JV Jackets outscored Sparta 7-5 to trail by five points, 20-17 at the half. The Jackets were led that quarter by Cayden Brunkhorst who had four points. Evan Dunning drained a trey to round out the Chester scoring.


Sparta’s Damian Lanton scored all five of the Bulldog’s points on his forth 3-pointer of the game and a traditional basket.


After halftime the Jackets came back strong and outscored Sparta, 16-11, to take a two-point lead, 33-31, into the final frame.


In the 3rd quarter Chester’s Lucas Thompson went crazy, hitting a pair of 3-pointers, a 2-pointer and a free throw for 9-of-16 Chester points.  Cayden Brunkhorst added four and Evan Dunning popped his third 3-pointer of the game.


Robert Greer led the Bulldogs with eight of Sparta’s 11 points. Jack Loesing drained a 3-pointer. The YellowJackets led by two points, 33-31, at the end of the third period.


Down the final stretch in the 4th quarter, the Jackets held on to the lead outscoring the Dawgs 14-11. To secure the win, Lucas Thompson (5), Kolton Jany (4), Evan Dunning (3) and Cayden Brunkhorst (2) chipped in to score Chester’s 14 points.


The Bulldogs had scoring from Robert Greer and Quintin Littlepage who each popped 3-pointers. Damian Lanton added three points, and Logan Shelton added two points.


At the buzzer, Chester led by five points, 47-42, for the win.  That win set the tone for the YellowJacket varsity and motivated them to fight for their victory over the Sparta varsity.


In the win, Chester was led by Lucas Thompson who scored 20 points. Cayden Brunkhorst also scored in double figures with 10 points. Other contributors included Evan Dunning (9), Kolton Jay (6), and Tray Peters (2).


Sparta was led by Damian Lanton (19) and Robert Greer (15). Quintin Littlepage added three points as did Jack Loesing.  Logan Shelton scored two points.

In the photos:



The Chester High School defense stops Brayden Henry (23) late in the game Friday February 10 when Chester hosted Sparta. Pictured are Gavin Schroeder (2), and Chance Mott (3) Jim Beers Photo



Chester’s Kolton Jany (3) demonstrates good sportsmanship as he goes through the greeting line Friday February 10 when the Yellowjackets hosted Sparta in a Cahokia Conference Illinois Division battle. The Jackets won, 48-38, to improve to 11-18 overall and 5-4 in the Cahokia Conference. Jim Beers Photo



The Chester High School Dance Team performs a “Kick Routine.” to the tune of “Tainted Love” Friday February 10 at halftime of the CHS vs Sparta Basketball game. Jim Beers Photo



The Chester High School Dance Team performs a “Kick Routine.” to the tune of “Tainted Love” Friday February 10 at halftime of the CHS vs Sparta Basketball game. Jim Beers Photo



The Chester High School Yellow Jackets take time out after their 48-38 win over Sparta Friday February 10 to thank their loyal student body spirit group for all of their support throughout the game. The Jackets beat Sparta to improve to 5-4 in the Cahokia Conference with the help of the students. Jim Beers Photo

The Chester High School Cheerleaders fire up the Chester fans Friday February 10 when CHS hosted Sparta in a Cahokia Conference game. Their work paid off as the Jackets stung the Bulldogs, 48-38, to improve to 5-4 in the conference. Jim Beers Photo