boys 3A/4A state finals...
Congratulations Simeon and Rock Island

by Prez Ro 

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Simeon 48, Warren 39

PEORIA - De Ja Vu? Not really but two years, two championships later, sophomore phenom Jabari Parker led the Wolverines to back-to-back Class 4A titles with a victory of 48-39 over Warren Township.

The times we have seen him play just makes you open your mouth and question his birth certificate. But in the state finals it wasn't his numbers that led Simeon to back-to-back titles, it was his pure presence on the court.

"I'm very happy, but not satisfied," Parker said. "Getting two state championships is a tremendous accomplishment, but I'm going to keep working, and I hope we win more."

Parker scored a game-high of 12 points and 5 boards.

Warren pushed Simeon, as they did during an earlier contest at the Pontiac Holiday Tournament in December. An 11-1 run late in the first half brought the Blue Devils within two, 22-20, before a big block by Parker led to a basket by the 6-foot-7 forward on the other end, turning a possible halftime tie into a four-point Simeon lead.
Even after shooting 7-for-30 through three-and-half periods, the Blue Devils managed another surge, scoring four straight points on a steal and dunk by Darius Paul and a layup by Jeremiah Jackson. Shortly after this, Brandon Ferguson drained a 3-pointer which made the game 43-38 with 30.2 seconds left, but for the second straight night, Simeon was cool under free-throw pressure.

"This is probably the best team I've ever coached," said coach Robert Smith. "It's simply the because of the talent this year. We have 12 guys that can flat out play. Derrick's group had nine."

Recruiting analyst Joe Henrickson agrees with Smith that the 2011 team has more talent, but he thinks Rose's squad was the better high school team.

Paul at the freethrow line 

So, dare I ask.... is it too early to start the three-peat conversation?
While Parker, junior Steve Taylor and sophomore Kendrick Nunn are the Wolverines' most talented players returning, Simeon will undoubtedly miss the steady contributions of senior starters Darien Walker and Rashawn McElrath.

Nunn cheesing after winning Class 4A title
I guess Derrick Rose's legacy is safe for now, but as you know, Parker has two more seasons yet to play. And the pre-season conversations  has already started and well, Simeon is ranked number.....  see ya next season!
Warren Township

Glenbard East 57, Normal Community 50

You can view the final Class 4A bracket by clicking here


Rock Island 50, Centralia 40 (2 OT)
PEORIA - It ONLY took 101 years but the Rock Island Rocks are Class 3A champs knocking off Centralia 50-40 in an epic double overtime victory. Coach Thom Sigel joked after the game "Oh man! We like to play so much we played eight extra minutes."

NOTE: Senior big man, Mark McConnaughay, injured himself during the Centralia's warm up rolling his ankle was not able to play.

Rock Island Rocks celebrate winning Class 3A title 

The Rocks overcame foul problems especially to their nucleus in Stanford-recruit Chasson Randle who fouled out with 57.8 seconds remaining in the first overtime. But that's why you have other qualified members of your team.

"It was very hard to watch, but I had had faith in my teammates," said Randle, who scored 13 points. "I prayed three or four times. The team came through in the end."

Senior Romal Davis and Denzel McCauley stepped up in the extra periods. Davis played BIG down the stretch with four fouls.

In the second overtime, Rock Island outscored Centralia 10-0 as the Orphans missed all four shot attempts and two free throws.

McCauley finished the championship game with 9 points and 17 boards."We didn't want to lose," McCauley said. "I was just fighting for every rebound (in overtime) and just came to play."

Randle played his final high school game with 13 points and 7 boards.
Randle blows victory kisses to the fans of Rock Island

Centralia was led by R.J. Kwiatkowski who knocked down 15 points including three 3-pointers, followed by Bryan Betts who had 13 points and 6 rebounds.

"We've had so many people involved with our program through the years, this makes it so special to finally win it," Rock Island coach Sigel said. "Tomorrow this will be amazing."

NOTE: Chasson Randle is the leading scorer and rebounder in Rock Island school history. Be sure to keep him on your radar as his moves on to the next level at Stanford University.

Randle - remember this face and player 

Brooks 66, North Chicago 52

PEORIA - What a difference a day makes as the Brooks Eagles win the consolation game against North Chicago 66-52. On Friday, during the opening round of the state finals, the Eagles shot a dismal 7.7% against Rock Island, but on tonight, they shot a lot better.
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Things got started with Michael Powell who knocked down 20 points and NO turnovers. His courtside partner and Wisconsin recruit George Marshall added 19.

Powell driving to the basket 

Marshall going hard to the basket 
"It was really hard to get over it," Marshall said. "It really bothered me and the whole team all night. When we woke up this morning it was still in my mind, but I knew I had to refocus. I knew this was our last game together and we had to make the best of it. We (Marshall, Powell, and fellow seniors Keith and Kevin Gray) all came in together with one common goal — to win a (city) championship and get downstate and win a championship here. Unfortunately, we fell short on one goal but accomplished another."
Marshall from behind the arc 

After reaching the supersectionals the last two seasons, North Chicago made history itself by advancing downstate for the first time behind junior Aaron Simpson, who scored 20 points including three 3-pointers.

After the game, Powell shared with us that "we had to refocus. We didn't want to go out fourth. Third is better than fourth. We couldn't get first, but that doesn't mean you don't come out and play hard."

Brooks Eagles - 3rd place Class 3A team 

You can view the final Class 3A bracket by clicking here

NOTE: click here to see how we traveled to the State Finals.

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