2013 IHSA Boys 3A / 4A State Finals

Posted on March 16, 2013. Filed under: Basketball, Boys High School Basketball | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , |

BOYS GET IT ON FOR 2013 STATE TITLES

March 16, 2013

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NOTE: Did you know Illinois host the ORIGINAL March Madness? Click here for details.

This weekend, Friday and Saturday, March 15-16, the best of the best Illinois Boys 3A / 4A basketball teams were on one court at Carver Arena in Peoria.

For Friday’s semifinals recap, click here.

Class 3A Third Place

LIMESTONE 58, Chicago Orr 49


limestone Orr

In the IHSA Class 3A Third Place game, it was Limestone knocking off Chicago Orr 58-49. The Rockets were led by Hank Mathews who scored 19 points and was perfect from the charity strip (5-5). Today’s contest proved to be a wonderful birthday present for Kendall Davis, who added 12 points, seven boards and was also perfect from the stripe (2-2).

Orr was led by junior forward Marlon Jones, who finished with 13 points. Senior guard Jamal McDowell also finished with 13.

Class 3A Championship

MORGAN PARK 63, Cahokia 48

morganpark Cahokia

PEORIA — Morgan Park wins their first IHSA State championship since 1976 with a 63-48 victory over Cahokia at Carver Arena Saturday afternoon.

The foundation for this victory was simple : team depth and fast, pressure defense makes things hard for their opponents.

Offensively, DePaul-bound Billy Garrett scored a game-high 14 points but combined with Dayton-bound Kyle Davis (10 points) to shoot 9-for-29 from the field. Fellow teammate Markee Williams (13 points) and Xzavier Taylor (11 points, 12 rebounds off the bench) picked up the slack as the Mustangs (33-3) broke open a five-point halftime lead.

“The four seniors led us to victory,” Morgan Park coach Nick Irvin said. “They set the tone from the jump. The one senior I’m most proud of is Xzavier Taylor. Billy and Kyle and Markee always say, ‘We need the big fella to roll, Nick; get the big fella to roll.’

“Well he’s rolling at the right time.”

Despite Morgan Park’s 43-26 advantage on the boards, Cahokia’s deficit was just 35-31 late in the third quarter.

Six Morgan Park players scored during the ensuing 14-0 run from which Cahokia (33-4) never recovered.

“If I was scoring two points a game or 40, if we won a state championship, I don’t care,” said Garrett, a four-year starter. “I have confidence in our ability, so I didn’t feel too much pressure. I knew if we did what we do, the result would be in our favor. My guys came through. They rebounded and defended. Xzavier played great. It just feels great to get this victory and end career the way I have.”

Cahokia was led by the play of Carleton Rivers, who scored 9 points.

So now the question has to be asked, is it time for the Mustangs to move out of the Class 3A field and go 4A?

FUN FACT: During the game a conversation took place via Twitter per @WeAreDePaul and Chicago Sun-Times Michael O’brien stating early on “Billy Garrett Jr. is the first #DePaul recruit to play in an IHSA title game since Quentin Richardson in 1998.”

Shortly there afterwards, O’brien added some clarification… Eddy Curry was a #DePaul signee when he lost in the title game to Schaumburg. So that sorta counts.

LIVE GAME STATS: We provided ALL of the LIVE action including electronic play-by-play for this game – click here

FUN NOTES: Morgan Park ranked #22 nationally – http://espn.go.com/college-sports/basketball/recruiting/powerrankings/_/week/16/season/2012 #ESPN25hoops

For even more coverage, visit and bookmark our site at AmateurSports365.com

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Class 4A Third Place Game

EDWARDSVILLE 57, Proviso East 56

Edwardsville provisoEast

PEORIA — What an ending to the IHSA third place 4A game… on the final possession, Proviso East made their run to the basket – tick tick tick – shot… rimming… tip… rebound… BUZZER… shot it goes in!!!!!!

So both teams celebrated.

But, the Pirates celebration was short-lived as Parrish McCullum’s basket went in too late according to the officials, thus ending the game 57-56 in Edwardsville’s favor at Carver Arena Saturday evening.

“It’s very frustrating to come down and fall short again,” Proviso East senior guard Paris Lee said. “I don’t think our minds were really in this game, more so (we were) trying to play a championship game.”

This lost means Proviso East’s last two trips to Peoria came down to a matter of a second and a fourth period. Last season, the Pirates scored five points in the final 12 seconds before running out of time in a 50-48 loss to Simeon in the Class 4A state title game.

The Pirates, under second-year Donnie Boyce, left a lasting impression the last two years at Carver Arena. Boyce was visibly shaken after Saturday’s game, due to “letting his team down” with another loss at state. Boyce shed several tears, calmed down and credited his seniors.

“I’m really, really proud of Sterling (Brown), Paris, Parrish and Branden (Jenkins) for coming back and giving me this opportunity,” Boyce said. “I just. … I know the expectations here. We came to win, a championship, first place. We didn’t come for no third-place game. I’m so proud the way my team competed and I wouldn’t be here without these guys.”

Brown credited his older brother, Shannon Brown, a shooting guard for the Phoenix Suns, for speeding up his development. Brown had a team-high 16 points to go with seven rebounds and four assists Saturday.

“Hopefully, I left a great legacy,” Brown said. “Last year people said I played my heart out, and that I played the best game of my life. This year I tried to come down here in a different role, more of a leader and captain to my team and try to do everything I can to get us two wins. I give credit to my brother because he was the one who told me to keep playing hard, and I did that.”

As it is shared throughout sports arenas and locker rooms around the World, “Hustle beats talent when talent doesnt hustle.”

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Class 4A Championship

SIMEON 58, Stevenson 40

simeon2 stevenson

PEORIA — Simply put… FOUR-PEAT! Simeon Wolverines win their fourth Class 4A State title defeating Stevenson 58-40.

This contest provided a superb team effort led by Duke-bound Jabari Parker and teammate Russell Woods’ who overpowered the smaller, and younger Stevenson (29-5).

“I didn’t get here by myself, and we didn’t get here by ourselves,” Parker said. “That was impossible what I pulled off getting back healthy, but it was from the help of everybody.”

In front of a packed Stevenson section dressed primarily in black, sophomore guard Jalen Brunson kept the Patriots in the game in the first half. In addition his crafty play got the Wolverines Kendall Pollard and Kendrick Nunn into early foul trouble, and from here he scored eight of his 13 first-half points in the first quarter. He scored only one point the rest of the way.

Simeon led 31-24 at the break.

Coach Robert Smith swithced things up after the half, assigning guard Jaylon Tate to Brunson, who did a fabulous job, limiting him to just a free throw and went 3-for-11 from the field.

“I just wanted to give him a lot of pressure,” Tate said. “He’s a great player. Wanted to pressure him and not make it easy for him.”

But, the night belonged to Parker, who was the first junior to win Mr. Basketball of Illinois last season.

Parker finished his final high school game with 20 points and eight rebounds.

There were many bumps along the road for the 30-3 Wolverines — Parker’s fractured right foot and his recovery, ineligible players, a four-game suspension for Simeon coach Robert Smith —but none knocked the Wolverines off track from their pursuit.

“A lot of people doubted us because we had two (early) losses, but we stuck together as a team and as a family,” Simeon guard Jaylon Tate said. “We knew we were going to get it together down the line, and that’s what we did.”

Through all of the awards, accolades, appearances, distractions, request, etc… Parker has maintained that the only thing he cares about is winning basketball games and that all the attention is meaningless to him.

That’s just the way he plays and now he’s a four-time high school basketball State champion.

“I just thank God,” Parker said. “My No. 1 focus was getting back on the court after my injury. I’ve had the best coach in high school basketball. It was a great season, a great run. I wouldn’t have made it here without the team I had. That was impossible what I pulled off, getting back healthy. I lost 35 pounds. It wasn’t all on me. My teammates pushed me in every single practice. That’s the best exercise, basketball. I couldn’t have done it by myself.”

This is Simeon’s seventh state championship. Ben Wilson and Tim Bankston led the 1984 team, Derrick Rose and Tim Flowers won titles in 2006 and 2007 and Parker and Nunn have played on the last four.

“We wrote history,” Parker said. “That’s how they are going to remember us from now on.”

“It’s been a great four years being here,” Nunn said. “Different teams, different players. It’s been a great experience.’’

Smith is the first coach in state history to win four consecutive state championships. He has six overall with a record of 260-40 in his nine-year career. There is some speculation he will accept a college coaching job next season.

“My take on it is that in these four runs we played a national schedule,” Smith said. “We didn’t just play local teams. What we did, and I don’t think people understand it, is we went to those home towns and played those teams. We went to Dallas and played DeSoto…we went to Memphis and played Southwind.’’

Simeon is the second team to win four consecutive state titles. Peoria Manual pulled off the feat in 1997.

FINAL STAT LINE: Russell Woods, who added 14 points and 10 rebounds, and Kendall Pollard scored 10 and grabbed nine boards. Simeon outrebounded Stevenson 34-19. Their size proved to play a major roll in this game.

“I don’t think there’s a program now in the state that’s better than this one,” Smith said. “I think we proved that as a coaching staff. I think we proved that as players.”

Again, at the end of the high school season, Simeon’s status remains unchanged – Class 4A state champions!

When a goal matters enough to a person, that person will find a way to accomplish what at first seemed impossible. – Nido Qubein

FUN NOTE: Simeon becomes the second team in IHSA State history to win four in a row. The string of titles matches Peoria Manual’s record four in a row set from 1994-97 and brings Simeon’s total to seven, including six in the last eight years.

FUN NOTE: Stevenson, history-making in its own circle as the school’s first boys basketball state finalist.

Simeon ranked #4 nationally – http://espn.go.com/college-sports/basketball/recruiting/powerrankings/_/week/16/season/2012 #ESPN25hoops

LIVE GAME STATS: We provided ALL of the LIVE action including electronic play-by-play for this game – click here

This was a wonderful weekend of “amateur” sports hosted by Illinois High School Association in Peoria, IL at Carver Arena.

In addition to the chase for the State championship, Illinois’ March Madness Experience, an interactive basketball-fueled family fun fest, is being held simultaneous at the Peoria Civic Center exhibit halls adjacent to the arena – opens on Thursday, March 14 and closes on Saturday at 6:30 p.m.

Also the Country Financial Three-Point Showdown also continues Thursday at Carver Arena, as prelims will whittle competitors down to four shooters from Class 3A and Class 4A. The final four shooters from each class will shoot for their class titles between semifinal games on Friday. On Saturday, the champions from all four classes will return for the chance at becoming the all-class champion King of the Hill, which will take place after the Class 3A Third-Place game.

IMPORTANT NOTES

All of the games were aired live on the IHSA TV Network (click for local listings – http://www.ihsa.org/NewsMedia/IHSATVNetwork.aspx) and will also be carried live on the internet at www.IHSA.tv. Fans can also get unprecedented coverage of the state finals on Twitter by following @IHSAState. Lee Hall and ISU legend Jill Hutchison will bring viewers the 3A action and Dave Bernhard and Patricia Babcock McGraw step in to call the 4A games. Matt Rodewald will handle the hosting and sideline duties, along with the Class 3A and 4A finals of the Country Financial Three-Point Showdown on Friday and the Country Financial Queen of the Hill three-point shooting on Saturday, which pits the four class winners head-to-head.

ALL games were broadcasted LIVE via the Internet by SportsTownChicago.com

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2013 IHSA Boys State Semifinals

Posted on March 15, 2013. Filed under: Basketball, Boys High School Basketball, High School Basketball | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , |

BOYS GET IT ON FOR 2013 STATE TITLES

March 16, 2013

FREE To play - ALL you need is a Yahoo! accountTOTALLY FREE – All you need is a Yahoo account!

NOTE: Did you know Illinois host the ORIGINAL March Madness? Click here for details.

Let’s get it on…. the 3A / 4A Boys played tough matches in Peoria, Carver Arena, this weekend, March 15-16, in order to advance to their respective title matches, and when the smoke cleared, it was Morgan Park Mustangs knocking off Limestone in an easy fashion 70-49. In the next Class 3A game, it was Cahokia upsetting Chicago Orr 56-46. So the Class 3A title is all set, Morgan Park (32-3) will face Cahokia (33-3).

For SuperSectionals recaps, click here.

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Class 3A

morganpark limestone

Morgan Park vs Limestone

MORGAN PARK 70, Limestone 49
PEORIA – Mr. Kyle Davis picked up where he left off from the Supersectionals Tuesday against Hillcrest, as he scored nine of his 15 points in the second quarter to help his team advance to the Class 3A State Finals with a win over Bartonville Limestone Friday afternoon at Carver Arena.

Morgan Park coach Nick Irvin on Kyle Davis “I call Kyle the little big man. I think Kyle is one of the toughest guys going to the basket.”

The Dayton-recruit, Davis, took over the game after the Rockets battled back from a slow start to cut the deficit to 11-9 early in the second quarter. And from here, he scored scored seven straight points to pad the lead to 20-9. Davis fed Josh Cunningham for consecutive dunks in the third quarter and scored 15 points in Morgan Park’s 29-9 run to swell the lead to 40-18.

“We came out of the locker room and told each other we had to get to it,” Morgan Park senior Kyle Davis said. “Our coaches did a good scouting report,” Kyle Davis said. “They said the middle will be open for us, so we attacked it.”

Fellow Mustang, senior guard Billy Garrett Jr. added 15 points and Xzavier Taylor racked up 10 points and eight rebounds.

Morgan Park forced Limestone into 18 turnovers and held the Rockets to just six points in the first quarter and seven in the third.

With this victory, the Mustangs (32-3) have won all six of their playoff games by a minimum of 21 points to advance to their first state title game since winning the Class AA championship in 1976. Morgan Park will play Cahokia (33-3) at 2 p.m. Saturday.

Hank Mathews led the Rockets (24-10) with nine points.

“I’ll take on anybody right now, I don’t care who it is,” Irvin said at the post-game press conference.

“We live by the motto ‘pressure breaks pipes,’” Irvin said.

WATCH A CLIP OF COACH ROBERT SMITH’S POSTGAME: click here

FUN GAME NOTE: So it was fitting that a uniform snafu delayed the start of Morgan Park’s 70-49 win Friday over Limestone in the Class 3A state semifinals at Carver Arena in Peoria.

“Things were going too smoothly for a while there,” Irvin said. “I was hoping something went wrong.”

Morgan Park thought it was the home team in the game, so it dressed in white uniforms. The Mustangs found out as the took the court that they were the visitors.

Assistant coach Walt Woghiren went back to the hotel, grabbed the proper uniforms and ran back to the arena.

FUN NOTES: Morgan Park ranked #22 nationally – http://espn.go.com/college-sports/basketball/recruiting/powerrankings/_/week/16/season/2012 #ESPN25hoops

LIVE GAME STATS: We provided the LIVE stats and electronic play-by-play for this game – click here

Orr Cahokia

CAHOKIA 56, Orr 46

PEORIA — Final stats from Cahokia’s 56-46 win over Orr.

Cahokia: Keenan Minor 20 points, 13-15 FT; Derenzo Jennings 17 points; Darius Austin 10 points 10 rebounds.

The Comanches will play the Mustangs in the Class 3A title game. Tipoff is set for 2:00pm CDT.

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Class 4A

simeon2 provisoEast

SIMEON 68, Proviso East 56

PEORIA — Simeon continues their winning ways defeating cross-town nemesis, Proviso East, 68-56 in the Class 4A semifinals Friday night at Carver Arena.

Jabari Parker shook off last years performance against the Pirates and played a big game, scoring 20 points and 15 boards on his 18th birthday.

But it was Kendall Pollard who stepped up in this contest. He used his 6-5 frame to dominate 6-2 sophomore Kalin Fisher early knocking down nine of his 15 points in the first quarter. And to put icing on the cake, the Dayton-recruit forward blocked a late layup by Paris Lee into the stands with lots of authority.

“I’m always under the radar,” Pollard said. “That’s why I’m always able to get second-chance points, offensive rebounds and just play my game. … It was one of the best games I’ve played in my whole high school career.”

Simeon led from the end of the first quarter, but size-challenged Proviso East kept it close, pulling within 55-51 on Lee’s fast break with 4 minutes, 22 seconds to play. The Wolverines, who committed just three second-half turnovers against an aggressive Pirates defense, closed on a 13-5 run led by Parker and Illinois recruit Kendrick Nunn (14 points).

Proviso East (29-4) went 6-for-28 from 3-point range, more 3s than the Pirates were used to shooting this season, according to coach Donnie Boyce. Mainly due to Simeon’s defensive zone play

“The zone makes it look like the 3-point is open, but really you should be attacking the zone because a layup is a higher percentage than a 3-point shot,” Lee said after the game. “As long as you’re attacking the gaps, they can be beat. That’s what we lacked today.”

Parish McCullum, an uncommitted senior, kept the Pirates in the game knocking down 19 points, but late foul trouble prevented him from being aggressive to the basket. SMU-bound forward Sterling Brown outdueled Parker in the title game last season with 25 points, but Parker got the advantage Friday as Brown settled for a double-double: 12 points and 11 rebounds.

The Wolverines (29-3) will play Stevenson (29-4) in the 4A championship at 8:15 p.m. Saturday. With a victory, the Wolverines will tie Peoria Manual’s record of four titles in a row.

    POST-GAME VIDEO

Coach Robert sharing his thoughts on the game: click here!

Duke-bound Jabari Parker sharing his thoughts on his last high school game tomorrow: click here!

FUN GAME NOTE: Jabari Parker said it was among the best games he’s played while starting in four state tournaments, but he didn’t have celebration plans Friday night.

LIVE GAME STATS: We provided the LIVE stats and electronic play-by-play for this game click here

Edwardsville 49, STEVENSON 60

Edwardsville stevenson
PEORIA — Upset? Not sure from our point of view but tonight Stevenson defeated Edwardsville 60-49 in the second Class 4A semifinal contest at Carver Arena.

Sophomore Jalen Brunson led the way with 21 points, followed by Andrew Stempel who added 14, and right behind him was Connor Cashaw who scored 13.

“It’s a blessing,” Brunson, son of former NBA Rick Brunson, emotionally said after the game. “We worked really hard and we’re not going to back down. We have to be perfect in everything we do. We are ready to accept the challenge.”

Edwardsville was led by Garret Covington who scored 18 points.

This is the Patriots 19 win in a row and now face three-time defending champion, Simeon, Saturday night at 8:!5pm.

What a wonderful day of “amateur” sports hosted by Illinois High School Association in Peoria, IL at Carver Arena.

In addition to the chase for the State championship, Illinois’ March Madness Experience, an interactive basketball-fueled family fun fest, is being held simultaneous at the Peoria Civic Center exhibit halls adjacent to the arena – opens on Thursday, March 14 and closes on Saturday at 6:30 p.m.

Also the Country Financial Three-Point Showdown also continues Thursday at Carver Arena, as prelims will whittle competitors down to four shooters from Class 3A and Class 4A. The final four shooters from each class will shoot for their class titles between semifinal games on Friday. On Saturday, the champions from all four classes will return for the chance at becoming the all-class champion King of the Hill, which will take place after the Class 3A Third-Place game.

IMPORTANT NOTES

All of the games were aired live on the IHSA TV Network (click for local listings – http://www.ihsa.org/NewsMedia/IHSATVNetwork.aspx) and will also be carried live on the internet at www.IHSA.tv. Fans can also get unprecedented coverage of the state finals on Twitter by following @IHSAState. Lee Hall and ISU legend Jill Hutchison will bring viewers the 3A action and Dave Bernhard and Patricia Babcock McGraw step in to call the 4A games. Matt Rodewald will handle the hosting and sideline duties, along with the Class 3A and 4A finals of the Country Financial Three-Point Showdown on Friday and the Country Financial Queen of the Hill three-point shooting on Saturday, which pits the four class winners head-to-head.

ALL games were broadcasted LIVE via the Internet by SportsTownChicago.com

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Be sure to bookmark our site, as well as follow us on Social Networks below…

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Ben Wilson Story by ESPN 30 for 30

Posted on October 17, 2012. Filed under: Basketball, Boys High School Basketball, Sporting News | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , |

ESPN presents….

October 2012

Ben “benji” Wilson
picture care of wikipedia

To many the name Ben Wilson may be unfamiliar, but to us Chicagoans he was our court magician… See in the early 80s, he was considered the best basketball player in the nation and he resided where else but Chicago. Wilson, who was commonly known as “Benji,” played for Simeon High School on the south side and he was gunned down by two gangbangers on the eve of his first games for his senior season.

Wilson is the reason that Derrick Rose wore the number 25 while attending Simeon. ESPN premieres the much anticipated 30 for 30 on Wilson and his life October 23 as part of the award-winning “30 for 30” documentary series.

Check out an earlier documentary on “Benji” that aired on Comcast Sports Network a few years back by visiting http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=esCHW1ylEHQ.

Be sure to bookmark our site, as well as follow us on Twitter at @ASNN365 (like us also on Facebook – @ASNN365).

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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 semifinals: Bloom vs Simeon

Posted on March 17, 2012. Filed under: Basketball | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , |

March 15, 2012


PEORIA — Bloom did everything right against top-ranked Simeon in the Illinois Boys 4A semifinal contest except win as they fall 45-35.

Coming into the game, the plan was to hold junior phenom Jabari Parker in control… done!

Control the tempo of the game… done!

Pressure the ball in the back court and double whenever possible without leaving a player clearly open… check!

The only uncheck mark left was win…. uncheck!

This is one of the only teams to hold Parker without field goal in the first half of a game.

“They were expecting to play us their way, and they did,” said Parker, who finished with 10 points, five rebounds and four blocks. “They slowed it down and face-guarded me the whole game.”

A bright spot for the Wolverines was junior guard, Kendrick Nunn, who shot pretty well but he covered Bloom’s Donald Moore very well. Nunn was able to keep him from penetrating and having his way, and when he did get in the lane, Parker, Steve Taylor or Kendall Pollard were there to swat his shot away.

Moore’s first successful jumper was a 3-pointer that brought the Blazing Trojans within 36-34 with 2
minutes, 24 seconds remaining.

Then Parker countered on the other end, getting fouled on a mid-range jumper and completing the three-point play to make it 39-34 with 1:58 left.

“I want to give Bloom a lot of credit,” Simeon coach Robert Smith said. “They pushed us to the limit. I thought they out-toughed us. We came up with some key plays down. From my aspect, I really thought we should have lost the game.”

Lejavius Johnson led all players with 18 points. Taylor led the Wolverines with 13, followed by Jaylon Tate, who added 11.

The Wolverines (32-1) will face unbeaten Proviso East (32-0) in a heavyweight Illinois Boys 4A instant classic Saturday night at 8:15 pm.

Simeon and Proviso East have been ranked Nos. 1 and 2, respectively, since the preseason.

“Going into Proviso, I need to find better ways to get my teammates open and get shots for myself,” said Parker. “This is a bad time to be messing up. We just have to tweak some things and get back to the blueprint.”

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