Tuesday night saw the Class 3A and 4A Supersectional/Elite Eight games contested ferociously around the State of Illinois. With teams just one win away from advancing to the finals in Peoria this weekend, much was at stake and Tuesday's play evidenced that fact.
In Class 3A, the Limestone Rockets made the trek to DeKalb to face Wheaton St. Francis at NIU's Convocation Center. The Rockets came out strong with David Anderson getting two big blocked shots to set the early tone inside. They led 12-6 after one quarter. After St. Francis stormed back to tie it at 14 early in the second, the game became a nip and tuck affair as the Rockets eked out a 20-18 advantage heading into the intermission.
An early three out of the second half gate by Andrew Kimball gave St. Francis its first lead at 21-20 which they increased to six points. A Terence Shelby tip-in for Limestone at the buzzer narrowed the score to 34-32 heading into the final stanza. The Rockets' defense came up with numerous fourth quarter steals giving them a six point lead before the boys from Wheaton raced back to take the lead once again. The game then seesawed in the closing minutes. Hank Mathews hit a big three for the Rockets to regain a two point advantage at 47-45 with under two minutes to play. Limestone was able to hold on and advance to Peoria, 55-50.
Other 3A games saw Cahokia defeat Chatham-Glenwood 56-48 at Springfield behind 22 points from Keenan Minor. Billy Garret, Jr and Morgan Park have not been challenged as yet in this tournament having blown out every opponent. Tonight was no exception as the Mustangs ousted Hillcrest, 77-44 at Joliet. Fellow Public League member Orr soundly defeated last year's runner-up, North Chicago, by a 63-49 tally at Hoffman Estates.
In Class 4A, the star studded Simeon Wolverines found the Trevians from New Trier nipping at their heels for much of the first half at Chicago State University. Simeon turned up the heat late in the second quarter and opened an eight point halftime advantage. While New Trier did not go away, closing the lead to four in the last quarter, Simeon stayed on top the entire distance and won by a final of 63-54. Seeking their fourth straight state title, they now advance to Peoria to face Proviso East in rematch of last year's 4A title game. Sterling Brown and the Pirates had all they handle in the first half from a feisty Aurora West bunch, but 17 straight third quarter points catapulted them to a 62-52 win at Hinsdale.
The other 4A games saw Edwardsville open a 23-13 lead at half over Marian Catholic in Normal. All the pre-game hype for this one revolved around Marian's point guard, Tyler Ulis, but the Tigers' Shawn Roundtree was more than up to the task over his counterpart as Edwardsville cruised to a 68-49 victory. They will now match up against Lincolnshire Stevenson, who withstood a fourth quarter Rockford Boylan comeback to win 73-67 in the second game of the DeKalb doubleheader.
All roads now lead to Peoria !