TriCounty Named the Most Valuable Player of the National Junior College Division II basketball tournament, Marlena Williams of champion Illinois Central College is a co-Tri County Female Athlete of the Year.
A former Manual High School athlete and sister of former Manual star Frank Williams, honored this year as Male Athlete of the Year, Marlena was also the top vote getter for the NJCAA all-regional team for Region XXIV and the Region XXIV all-tournament team.
She averaged 21 points and 10 rebounds in the national tournament, played in Hagerstown, Md.
Marlena dominated the national tournament. She scored 27 points and had 10 rebounds to pull out a first round win over Kirkwood, 70-69; had 18 points and seven rebounds against Calhoun College of Decatur in a 81-70 semi-final win and then scored 18 points with 12 rebounds to overpower Penn Valley of Kansas City, 72-65.
Averaging only 24 minutes per game in the regular season because many games were won by lopsided scores, Williams still averaged 14 points, shot 49 percent and played outstanding defense.
"Statistics do not tell the true story of Marlena," said coach Lorene Ramsey. "Marlena is a great clutch player capable of carrying an entire team, yet she is also an unselfish player."
Named the Most Valuable Player of the National Junior College Division II basketball tournament, Marlena Williams of champion Illinois Central College is a co-Tri County Female Athlete of the Year.
Hockey was a sport local fans could watch only if they went to Chicago or St. Louis until BardezBanian founded the Peoria Stars in 1959.
The two were with the Pekin Stars until 1970, when they formed the Peoria Blades, on the outdoor rink at Logan, in 1971. The Logan "bubble" went up the next year and the Blades, through membership in the Continental League, gave Peoria a solid taste of hockey.
BardezBanian played with the Blades for a few years, then became president while Olson always served as the team's general manager.
And the two gave hockey a boost whenever they could. BardezBanian coached the Bradley University club team for many years and both were instrumental in starting and maintaining youth hockey in Pekin and Peoria.
Both are now retired, Olson from Caterpillar's Mossville plant and BardezBanian from a management position with the City of Peoria.