MHS athletes honored at capitol

Dave Kindred GateHouse Media Illinois
The Morton High School girls basketball 3A State Champions were recognized at Springfield April 21. Also present at the capitol were the MHS boys golf 2A State Champions. Above, coaches and players are pictured with Gov. Bruce Rauner and Rep. Keith Sommer, R-Morton.

Morton High School’s little All-State guard, Chandler Ryan, had a plan for Gov. Bruce Rauner.

“Think we can get him to do it with us?” she said to a Lady Potters’ assistant coach, Rodney Knuppel.

“We can try,” the coach said, and he then proposed the idea to the governor, who asked only, “With what eye?”

And so it happened that Rauner likely became the first governor in Illinois history to pose for a photo-op doing what basketball players call a “3 goggles” or “goose eye.” It’s basically an OK sign around an eye, with three 

fingers extended, a piece of silent in-game swagger following a 3-point shot.

Largely because Ryan and all the Lady Potters were so good with 3-pointers during the 2014-15 season, they became state champions — the first small-town public school ever to win the girls 3A title. In recognition of that accomplishment, they were invited to the state Capitol.

Introduced April 21 from the House of Representatives floor by Rep. Keith Sommer, R-Morton, the Lady Potters stood in the House gallery. The representatives gave them a round of applause, as did senators when Bill Brady, R-Bloomington, introduced them in the Senate.

Brandi Bisping, who joined Ryan on the Journal Star’s all-area first team, said, “The day made us feel special, to be recognized as a team, because this season showed us that no one can do it alone, that it takes everyone working together to get here.”

Sommer also noted that his hometown sent to the Capitol “not one, but two state championship teams.” Along with the girls basketball team came Morton High’s boys golf team. It won the state’s 2A championship, and a Potters freshman, Tommy Kuhl, won the individual title.