By THE HERALD-WHIG STAFF
Highland girls basketball coach Brad Dance is stepping down after 10 seasons coaching the Lady Cougars.
Dance submitted his letter of resignation and expects it will accepted by the school board Monday.
Highland finished 6-17 while playing without Southeast Missouri State signee Ashton Luttrull, who suffered a knee injury last summer and only appeared in one game this season.
"I still think I will coach again, I think it is the best move for myself and my family," Dance said. "I wasn't forced out by the school or anything, I still wanted to coach.
"Without going into tons of detail, I think its the best decision for everybody right now."
Dance compiled a 108-132 record at Highland.
Second-team all-state for Harmon: West Hancock senior swingman Paxton Harmon received second-team all-state honors in Class 2A from the Associated Press, according to the Class 1A and 2A teams released Thursday.
Harmon, a 6-foot-5 scoring machine, averaged approximately 22 points and seven rebounds per game in leading the Titans to a sectional championship game. Two other area players were named honorable mention. Cody Hildebrand, the Payson Seymour junior guard, missed second-team all-state honors by one vote. Illini West senior guard Brody Gronewold was an honorable mention in Class 2A.
QHS rifle team finishes second: The Quincy High School rifle team placed second at the Illinois High School Rifle League State Championship last weekend. The Blue Devils tallied 2,266 points out of 2,400 possible points. State champion Iroquois West finished one point better than QHS.
QHS's team members, listed with scores out of a possible 600, were: Keely Wagner (578), Matt Arnold (569), Susan Leimbach (560) and Bryce Monroe (556). Ben Trapini also competed and finished at 561.
Wagner finished as the individual state champion.
QHS ended the season at 8-2 overall.
Five girls earn small-school IBCA honors: Brown County's Vanessa Markert led a contingent of five small-school girls basketball players selected to the Illinois Basketball Coaches Association's Class 1A/2A all-state team.
Markert, a sophomore center, was one of 15 players selected to the IBCA's second team. She averaged 22.4 points, 8.7 rebounds and 3.2 blocks per game and shot 63.5 percent from the field.
Pittsfield senior guard Shea O'Brien was a third-team selection. She averaged 19.7 points and 3.5 steals per game and made 52 3-pointers.
Honorable mention selections were Unity senior guard Breanne Begeman (14.5 ppg, 9.1 rpg), Unity senior Brooklyn Moore (13.8 ppg, 7.9 rpg) and Illini West junior guard Graci Bastert (11.2 ppg, 5.0 apg, 4.0 rgp).
All-district honors: First-year Highland boys basketball coach Brian Leeser led the Cougars to a district championship this season, and that landed him Class 3 District 7 Coach of the Year honors recently.
Area players earning all-district honors were Highland's Derick Smith and Brandon Davie, Mark Twain's Garrett Jarman, Clark County's Kyle Kovar and Chase Bevans, Palmyra's Trevor Meny and Brock Butler and Monroe City's Kyle Fulton.
Pirate makes college decision: Hannibal's Abbey Jeffries signed for cross country and track and field recently with NCAA Division II Northwest Missouri State.
She was a four-time Class 3 state qualifier in cross country.