The Hales Spartans won their third Big Dipper Classic championship with a 69-64 win over Crete-Monee in front of a capacity full gym. Both teams battled despite losing key players to injury. The Warriors didn't have senior MVP candidate Jamie Crockett who also has an ankle injury he suffered several weeks ago that flared up during the tournament, and the Spartans lost back court samari Jamie Adams to an ankle injury he suffered in the first half of this game.
Hales led most of the game until about 4 minutes in the final quarter when the Warrior went on a run an obtained their first led 59-56. This lead was short lived because on the next possession when Jerry Humphrey was credited with a basket on a goaltending call. He was also fouled and converted to tie it 59-59. From here, the Spartans took a 61-59 lead on a bucket by Aaron Armstead with 3:41 left and didn't trail again.
Pat Miller had a game-high 27 points for the Spartans, followed
by junior Aaron Armstead added 17 points.
"We can use this as a catapult for the rest of the season," London said. "It's a great measuring stick because this is a great tournament."
Ray Lester led the Warriors with 22 points and 9 boards.
"I don't know if I've ever been more proud of a team," coach Rocky Hill said. "To come in here and play this way without (Crockett) meant we had a lot of people grow up."