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Two More Boys Basketball Teams to be Crowned State Champs This Weekend in Peoria
CLASS 3A SEMIFINALISTS - 2009-2010 SEASON

PEORIA RICHWOODS KNIGHTS (29-2)

*Coached by Mike Ellis (154-54, 7th)

-is making its ninth state finals appearance and is playing for its first state title. Mike Ellis has led the school to three trips in seven seasons, including a runner-up finish to Derrick Rose's Simeon squad in 2006 (31-29 in OT).

-enters ranked No. 1 in Class 3A according to the Associated Press poll. The Knights enter on a 17-game winning streak, with their last loss to Springfield on January 9th.

-the Knights have a pair of Associated Press All-State honorees on their squad in First Team selection Tylon Deal (11.9 ppg), a 6-foot senior guard, and Tony Frazier (10.3 ppg, 5.2 rpg), a 6-foot-3 senior forward who was an Honorable Mention selection. 6-2 senior guard Mason Alwon (10.8 ppg) gives the squad a third scorer averaging double-digits.

-the Knights handed defending Class 3A state champ Champaign Centennial its only loss of the season when Richwoods handily defeated the Chargers 63-47 at home on January 23. The team also downed Peoria Manual, the Class 2A runner-up last weekend, twice this season.

-Richwoods could potentially rise to Class 4A in the coming seasons, as the closing of Peoria Woodruff High School at the conclusion of the 2009-10 school term is expected to boost the enrollments of the other district high schools. Richwoods enrollment this season is 1395, while the 2009-10 cut for Class 3A was 1719.


CHICAGO MARSHALL COMMANDOS (27-7)

*Coached by Henry Cotton (53-29, 3rd)

-is making the 18th state final appearance in school history, including state titles in 1958, 1960 and 2008. The 2010 campaign marks the first trip for the Commandos under Henry Cotton.

-enters ranked No. 5 in the final Class 3A Associated Press poll of the season. The Commandos dropped their final regular-season contest of the year, falling to Morgan Park 61-60 in the Chicago Public League Tournament Championship. The team is 24-3 since a 3-4 start.

-6-foot-4 senior forward Vince Garrett (16.6 ppg, 8.9 rpg) was named to the Honorable Mention Team on the Associated Press's Class 3A All-State Team.


HILLCREST HAWKS (29-3)

*Coached by Don Houston (69-21, 3rd)

-is making its fifth state final appearance in school history and first under Don Houston. The school appeared four times (1991, 1992, 1999, 2007) under former coach Tom Cappel, but never placed previously.

-enters ranked No. 3 in Class 3A according to the Associated Press poll and on a nine-game winning streak. The Hawks last loss came against their semifinal opponent, as they fell to Champaign Centennial 81-64 on February 4th.

-6-5 senior guard Ed Gaines, a Kent State recruit, was named to the First Team of the Associated Press's All-State Team after averaging 14.6 points per game.

-the Hawks have won 22 consecutive conference championships in the South Suburban Blue Division.

-Hillcrest continues to run the 1-1-3 halfcourt trap established by Hall of Fame coach Tom Cappel.

-several basketball players are members of the Hawks track & field team, which won the Class 2A state title a year ago.

-the Hawks will try to match or better their girl's basketball teams success from earlier this year. The Lady Hawks reached the state finals at Redbird Arena two weeks ago, where they finished as the Class 3A runner-up.


CHAMPAIGN CENTENNIAL CHARGERS (31-1)

*Coached by Tim Lavin (171-87, 9th)

-is making its third state final appearance in school history and second in a row since winning the school's first championship a year.

-enters ranked No. 2 in Class 3A according to the Associated Press poll and on a 13-game winning streak.

-6-fooot-3 guard Rayvonte Rice was named an AP First Team All-State Team member, while 6-foot-8 senior Jeff Johnson was selected to the All-State Honorable Mention Team. Both seniors recently made college commitments for next season, as Rice will play at Drake University and Johnson will take his game to Eastern Kentucky University. Despite being 6-foot-8, Johnson is a threat from behind the arc, where he hit 32-of-78 shots this season. The Chargers have four players at 6-foot-8 on their roster.

-Rice was the hero a year ago at Carver Arena, as he won both games in the final 10 seconds. Rice stole the ball with six seconds left and converted a layup with two seconds on the clock to bounce North Lawndale 66-65 in the semifinals. One night later in the finals, Rice stole the ball with nine seconds remaining in a 59-59 game and was fouled. He hit both free throws with six seconds on the clock, as Centennial held off Oswego 61-59.

-every State Series contest the Chargers have played this season has been a rematch, as the squad had beaten all five of their Regional, Sectional and Super-Sectional opponents during the regular season. The trend continues at the state finals as Hillcrest gets a shot at revenge after falling to Centennial 81-64 on February 6th. Centennial could also rematch Peoria Richwoods, the only team to beat the Chargers this season, on Saturday in the third place or state title game.


CLASS 4A SEMIFINALISTS - 2009-2010 SEASON

SIMEON WOLVERINES (23-9)

*Coached by Robert Smith (6th)

-is making its tenth state final appearance in school history, all of which have come since 1984. The Wolverines won back-to-back Class AA titles in 2006 and 2007 behind current Chicago Bull Derrick Rose and then finished second to Chicago Marshall in 2008.

-was not ranked in the final Class 4A Associated Press poll of the season. Two of the Wolverines losses this season have come against 4A finalists Whitney Young (62-55) and Waukegan (59-51).

-6-foot-3 senior guard/forward Brandon Spearman has been the team's top scorer (14.7 ppg) this season and is tied for the team lead in rebounding (7.8 rpg). The Dayton University signee's heroics gave the Wolverines a chance to return to state...in the Super-Sectional against Benet, trailing 39-36 with 6.1 seconds remaining, Spearman received an outlet pass from Jabari Parker off a missed free throw and nailed a one-handed three-pointer from the right elbow to send the game to overtime. Spearman scored 24 points in the game, as Simeon prevailed in double-overtime. Spearman has averaged 17 points per game in the postseason and is the 116th best recruit in the nation according to www.rivals.com.

-A Simeon title in 2010 would match last year's Whitney Young squad as having the most losses ever by a state champion (9). The mark previously belonged to Mt. Vernon's 1920 team that finished 16-8


O'FALLON PANTHERS (30-2)

*Coached by Rick Gibson (120-41, 5th)

-is making its second state final appearance in school history after Rick Gibson led the Panthers to a runner-up appearance in 2007, when O'Fallon fell to 2010 semifinal opponent Simeon in the Class AA state championship.

-enters ranked No. 2 in Class 4A according to the Associated Press poll and has won seven straight games and 18 of 19 overall. OFallon went 2-for-3 against Belleville West this season, winning by three points, losing by 19 points and then winning by seven points in the Regional final.

-junior forward Roosevelt Jones (19.1 ppg, 12.0) was named to the Associated Press All-State Second Team after averaging a double-double this season. Jones plays bigger than 6-foot-4, as he is shooting .620 from the field on the year. Take away his 23 attempts from three-point range (three makes) and his percentage from inside the arc bumps up to .650.

-6-3 senior forward Chevaughn Lawrence (10.8 ppg) has accepted an appointment to play football for the Army next year in West Point. Lawrence was a standout wide receiver for the Panthers this past season.

-sophomore guard Roy Bullock (6.5 ppg) has hit 36-of-90 (.400) treys this season.

-O'Fallon owns wins over schools from five states this season (Arkansas, Illinois, Missouri, Tennessee, Texas).


WHITNEY YOUNG DOLPHINS (22-6)

*Coached by Tyrone Slaughter (114-41, 5th)

-is making its fifth state final appearance in school history and returns to defend its Class 4A state title from a year ago. The title was the second in school history following a championship in 1998. The Dolphins 2010 semifinal game is a rematch of the 2009 title game, when Whitney Young downed Waukegan 69-66. Waukegan
exacted revenge on February 20, defeating Whitney Young 59-42.

-enters ranked No. 6 in Class 4A according to the Associated Press poll. The Dolphins dropped their final three games of the regular-season, but have won 10 of their last 13, including five straight.

-6-foot-4 Anthony Johnson (16.2 ppg, 7.8 rpg) and 5-for-9 Ahmad Starks (13.4 ppg, 176 assists), both senior guards, were named to the Associated Press Class 4A All-State Honorable Mention Team this season. Rivals.com ranked Johnson and Starks as the 100th and 132nd best senior prospects in the country this year, respectively.

-the Dolphins won their second state title in school history a year ago behind the play of Marcus Jordan, whose famous father Michael sat behind the team bench during both games. Four starters are gone from last year's squad, including Jordan and Chris Colvin. Jordan started the final 18 games of the season for the University of Central Florida this year, leading the team in scoring during conference play with 10.8 points per game, while Colvin (3.0 ppg) saw action in 29 games at Iowa State this winter.

-6-foot-7 junior forward Sam Thompson (9.8 ppg), the only returning starter from a year ago.


WAUKEGAN BULLDOGS (26-4)

*Coached by Ron Ashlaw (161-121, 10th)

-is making its 10th state final appearance in school history. The Bulldogs placed fourth in 1959 in the school's first appearance and then came in a second a year ago in the first appearance under Ron Ashlaw.

-enters ranked No. 1 in Class 4A according to the Associated Press poll. The Bulldogs have won 10 straight entering the state finals and 20 of 21 games overall.

-6-foot-7 senior forward Jereme Richmond (20.8 ppg, 11.4 ppg) was named to the First Team of the Associated Press All-State Team and has committed to play for the University of Illinois next season. Richmond is currently ranked as the No. 23 recruit in the country on ESPN's Top 100 list and the top player in the state of Illinois. A year ago, he tallied 35 points and 20 rebounds in two state final contests at Carver Arena.

-senior guard Mike Springs (9.6 ppg) became Waukegan's career leader in assists and steals this season. Springs has 123 helpers on the year. Sophomore guard and cousin Akeem (9.4 ppg) is also chipping in 2009-10.

-Waukegan is the two-time defending Pontiac Holiday Tournament champs and has reached the Super-Sectional round of the state series in four of the last seven seasons.

-the Bulldogs return four starters from 2009. The lone loss was guard Colin Dickerson (4.5 ppg), who played in every game (three starts) this season for Fairfield University, who fell to Sienna in the finals of Metro Atlantic Athletic Conference Tournament.

(Illinois High School Association)

Schedule Friday - Class 3A

#1 Peoria Richwoods (29-2) plays #5 Chicago Marshall (27-7) - 12:15 p-m

#3 Hillcrest (29-3) meets #2 ranked Champaign Centennial (31-1) - 1:45 p-m

3rd Place: Saturday at 12:15 p-m

Championship: Saturday at 1:45 p-m


Schedule Friday - Class 4A

Simeon (23-9) plays #2 O'Fallon (30-2) - 6:30 p-m

#6 Whitney Young (22-6) meets #1Waukegan (26-4) - 8:15 p-m

3rd Place: Saturday at 6:30 p-m

Championship: Saturday at 8:15 p-m
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