Archive for March 18th, 2012

IL Boys 4A Championship Game:

Posted on March 18, 2012. Filed under: Basketball | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , |

Wolverines 50, Pirates 48

March 17, 2012

PEORIA — Time for the best of the best…. 1 vs 2 for the 2012 Illinois Boys 4A State title and just as important, bragging rights. Not since 2004, when Homewood-Flossmoor and Peoria Central had it out for the State championship has a matchup been this shiny. Even though the crowd wasn’t as large, the hype was well worth the price of admission.

You almost hated for this game to come to an end, as both team scored back-and-forth, each getting a couple of runs, but once the smoke cleared the basketball court, it was the Wolverines still standing, defeating the Pirates 50-48 at Carver Arena Saturday night.

Coming into this game, top nationally ranked Simeon (33-1) is undefeated in the State and one lost in a tournament held in January, while Proviso East (32-1) is just undefeated, including winning the Proviso West Holiday tournament.

All eyes were on junior phenom Jabari Parker, but it was his teammates that held things together when they need it the most. I’m referring to Steve Taylor, Jaleni Neely and Kendrick Nunn.

“That’s a great team,” Taylor said referring to Proviso East. “They played tough and wanted it just like we did. But as you can see, we wanted it a little bit more.”

The first half ended tied at 23.

“As good as they played and as bad as we played, we were still in the game,” coach Robert Smith said after the game.

Nunn opened the fourth quarter with a solid 3-pointer, shortly afterwards, it was more Nunn, then Taylor and Neely got involved, getting an 8-0 run that gave Simeon a 45-41 lead with 3 minutes, 5 seconds remaining.

Simeon extended the lead to 50-45 on a vicious dunk by Parker with 12 seconds left that was called a technical because he held onto the rim a little too long.

Proviso East’s Sterling Brown wasn’t ready to throw in the towel, considering he held Parker in check for most of the game. The team called a timeout, their last timeout, once they were back on the floor, they advanced the ball with pure precision and Brown nailed a BIG 3-pointer from the right corner with less than three seconds to play (50-48). The problem here is, Simeon never touch nor inbounds the ball, thus, the time ran out and the celebration began.

It was reported that coach Donnie Boyce said after the game “I told Sterling we needed a delay too. I should have told him to throw the ball up in the stands afterwards.”

“Unfortunately we came up two points short,” Brown said. “We had a lot of chances to get there, a lot of chances to capitalize. Their experience and our lack of experience was a factor. This is our first time being here, and everybody wanted to take over instead of playing as a team. We’ll get back here next year and learn from our mistakes.”

With this victory, Parker has one more title than Chicago Bulls’ Derrick Rose and he still has one more season left to play. “I’m just glad to pass him, but I couldn’t have done it by myself,” Parker said. “Throughout the years I’ve been blessed with good talent around me. I can’t accept this alone.

Parker led the team with 15 points, and Taylor contributed 12 points and 15 boards. Brown finished with the game high of 25 points.

“It was a collective effort. We came out and got a lot of stops,” said Parker after the contest. “Sterling Brown, he’s an amazing player. We just had to play defense when it counted in the fourth quarter.”

“Scheduling is huge,” said Smith whose team only loss cam to national powerhouse Findlay Prep. “You’ve gotta be in this environment, and we’ve been in this environment all year.”

This is Simeon’s sixth state championship and the team decided to leave their mark on this championship by all removing their shoes on the center of the court. IHSA Director Marty Hickman picked up the shoes.

“I really couldn’t tell you how 32-1 feels because it’s so frustrating,” coach Donnie Boyce said after the game. “You’re right there, it was right in your grasp and you can touch it. We took the champions to the limit but didn’t get the job done.”


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IL Boys 4A Third Place: Bloom vs Rockford Auburn

Posted on March 18, 2012. Filed under: Basketball | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , |

March 17, 2012

Peoria — Both teams come in to this game a little short of playing for the Boys Class 4A title. Bloom lost to top ranked Simeon, while Rockford Auburn lost to Proviso East.

The Blazing Trojans fell short, 57-46, against Rock Auburn in the third place (consolation) game at Carver Arena.

“The slow start definitely cost us,’’ Bloom coach Jasper Williams said. ‘‘We were back on our heels all day.’’

In the first half Bloom shot 2-for-11 from the field, but only trailed 8 points at the half (28-20). But they had a bigger problem, Wichita State recruit Fred  VanFleet of Rockford Auburn. He was explosive on both ends of the court and finished the night with 21 points and 5 assists.

Bloom made one more run in the fourth quarter to cut their lead down to 49-42 that included a basket by Donald Moore with 2:43 remaining, but this proved not  enough.

‘‘That was not Bloom you saw out there,’’ Williams said. ‘‘We pride ourselves on tough defense and team-play, and we were just not focused today at all.’’

Donald Moore, the team’s leading scorer and captain, echoed his coach’s sentiments. ‘‘It’s not the way we wanted to finish,’’ Moore said. ‘‘We just couldn’t get our heads into the game and that’s not how we were taught to play.’’

Moore finished the game with 16 points, and teammate Dejahown Freeman contributed nine.


Auburn coach Bryan Ott said his team played with a chip on their shoulder. ‘‘We lost twice to Proviso East and we wanted to leave here on a positive note,” Ott said. ‘‘We know how people view us and we used that as motivation to beat a very good Bloom team.’’

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IL Boys 3A Championship game: Peoria 72, North Chicago 64

Posted on March 18, 2012. Filed under: Basketball | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , |

March 15, 2012

PEORIA— The one two punch of North Chicago, Aaron Simpson and JaVairius Amos-Mays just wasn’t enough to win the Class 3A State title, as Peoria wins 72-67.

“That (a state championship) would have been a good accomplishment, but me and the other seniors did a great job leading the team down here and preparing the younger guys for the future,” Simpson said.

North Chicago would not let Peoria Central pull away, and there were times during its second-half comeback attempt Simpson let Amos-Mays (17 points, eight rebounds) do his thing, but Simpson was able to knock down his season average of 26 in the contest.

“They’ve seen what Simpson did with the team and the leadership he showed,” North Chicago coach Gerald Coleman said. “They looked up to him and learned from him. They saw what it was like to play at a high level, and we look forward to getting ready for the summer and trying to come back down here again.”

Peoria was led by Aldonis Foote, who had 17 points, followed by Trey Kellum who added 14.

Congratulation to Peoria Central on winning the 2012 Boys 3A State title.

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