CASEY — Jae Lynn Riggleman is to shoot for the Queen of the Hill in the Country Financial Three-Point Contest Saturday after the third-place game in the Class 3A state girls basketball tournament at approximately 12:30 p.m.
Riggleman, who is to shoot at Illinois State University's Redbird Arena, won the Class 2A title Feb. 23 and is competing against the Class 1A winner, Logyn Little of West Central, as well as the Class 3A winner, Kia Koehler of Dunlap and the Class 4A winner, Margaret Whitley of Geneva.
Riggleman is the first person from the JG-TC area to compete for the Queen of the Hill since Tri-County's Shayne Smith competed after winning the Class 1A title in 2014-15. Smith won the Queen of the Hill competition, making eight. The last Class 2A representative from the area was Cumberland's Katie Poe, who won the 2A title in 2012-13 as a freshman and went on to win the Queen of the Hill honors, also making eight.
Riggleman's goal is higher than eight: the junior said the goal is to make 10 to 11.
The third time proved to be the charm for Riggleman, who was making her third appearance at state, having made four of 15 the first two appearances.
After advancing with six at the regional and eight at the sectional, Riggleman sank nine in the preliminaries Feb. 22 and tied them with Mercer County's Emma Coulter. In the tiebreaker, Riggleman made four of 10 to make the finals. In the final Feb. 23, Riggleman made eight and appeared to be on her way to the Queen of the Hill competition when the last person, Vienna's Emma Rush, made her last four shots to finish with eight and force a tiebreaker.
"I thought I was in, but she made them," said Riggleman. "I was getting nervous, and then she tied it. I like shooting from the corners. It doesn't bother me."
Her statement proved to be true as Riggleman sank four on the first rack and three on the second for seven.
"I like shooting first in the tiebreaker," said Riggleman of her order. "I get to set the bar."
With the bar at seven, Rush could only make four, and Riggleman earned the Class 2A plaque on television.
"It was awesome (to win it)," said Riggleman. "My goal was to make 10. I made nine and that made me really happy. The television cameras don't bother me. I actually like it."
Riggleman did say she was nervous at first in the tiebreaker.
"It made me a little nervous because I had not shot from the sides for awhile," said Riggleman. "Once I got going, it felt pretty good."
After the preliminaries on Feb. 22, Riggleman could have stayed at a hotel courtesy of the Illinois High School Association, but she elected to go back to Casey as she was not going to shoot until the night of Feb. 23. This time Riggleman did go up Friday and stay at a hotel with the shooting to be in the early afternoon.
Riggleman said she does count how many she has made as she is shooting.
"I think it is a good thing not to do that because if I knew how many I made, and I was not making as many as I wanted, I would be upset," said Riggleman.
Riggleman said she hears the crowd, but it doesn't bother her.
"It is an awesome feeling (when the crowd cheers)," said Riggleman. "I love that feeling and it gives me a lot more confidence too."
Riggleman has been practicing with Casey coach Jerome Williams and has been shooting for about 45 minutes each day including from the tiebreaker spots. She likes the final rack of five basketballs as far as where she feels most comfortable from.
All three of her coaches, plus her mom as well as friends, including teammates Eva Richardson and Addie Squires, are planning to be there.
"Hopefully, I can make it back next year," said Riggleman. "That would be awesome."