The Class 3A and 4A semi finals were held Friday in Peoria and the participating teams demonstrated why they were good enough to make it to State.
The first semi final in Class 3A had Limestone attempting the upset over Morgan Park. The Rockets were plagued by turnovers early, but then settled down a little. Morgan Park led at the end of one quarter, 11-6. The Rockets hung tough in the second period, but Morgan Park was nonetheless able to increase their lead to 28-18 at half. The Mustangs shifted the defensive pressure into fifth gear after the break and broke the game open. Kyle Davis and Billy Garrett, Jr. were impressive with their passing and scoring. Josh Cunningham owned the inside. The final was 70-49 as the Mustangs advanced to the title game.
In the afternoon's second semi final, Cahokia was able to maintain either side of a ten point lead throughout most of the game. Keenan Minor led with 22 points. While Orr had a couple of spurts and narrowed the margin late, they never could really get things going. The final was 56-46. Cahokia's reward is a date in tomorrow's title game against mighty Morgan Park.
The evening's first Class 4A semi between ranked powers Simeon and Proviso East lived up to its billing. The level of play in this game was high. Neither team showed any jitters in this one as the opening tip went up. The pace was frenetic in the first stanza as Proviso opened a slim lead only to see Simeon return the favor. The quarter ended at 22-18 in favor of the Wolverines. After they got it out to 31-21, Proviso went on a furious "right back at you" rally of their own to close to 33-31 at half. It was more of the same in the second half as Simeon opened small leads only to see the Pirates close the gap right back up. Simeon did stretch it out at the end to win, 68-56. Jabari Parker had 20 points and 15 rebounds as the Wolverines will now try to win their fourth straight title Saturday night.
Stevenson and Edwardsville squared off in Friday night's finale. This started as somewhat of a shootout with the score tied at 15 after one. Sophomore Jalen Brunson had 13 of Stevenson's 15 points. Foul trouble plagued Edwardsville as Stevenson was able to open a 30-20 halftime lead. Stevenson won, 60-49, as their long range bombs kept falling and a late comeback by Edwardsville fell short. Brunson had 21 points. Next stop for the Patriots is Saturday night in their first state title game ever against none other than Simeon.