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Chicago Young escapes with Class 4A boys basketball title

Published: Sunday, March 23, 2014 12:09 a.m. CDT
Caption
Stevenson's Jalen Brunson drives for a basket against Edwardsville's Trevor Clay during their Class 4A third-place game Saturday at the Peoria Civic Center in Peoria. (AP Photo/Journal Star, Fred Zwicky)

PEORIA – Miles Reynolds scored 19 points, and Paul White hit two free throws with 19 seconds remaining, helping Chicago Whitney Young win the Class 4A boys basketball state championship with a 46-44 victory against Benet on Saturday.

The Dolphins led by as many as 12 and were seemingly comfortably ahead by seven with 35 seconds left. But they missed the front end of two one-and-ones and the Redwings’ Collin Pellettieri hit a 3-pointer after the first miss, then Sean O’Mara had a putback after the second to make it a two-point contest. That’s when White stepped in.

Fouled immediately after O’Mara’s basket, White hit the first bonus free throw, then calmly sank the second.

“Championships are about getting close, and they made it close,” Whitney Young coach Tyrone Slaughter said. “But championships are also about seniors leading the way and our seniors led the way.”

The anticipated matchup between Duke-bound center Jahlil Okafor of Whitney Young and Xavier-bound O’Mara never really materialized in the game. Okafor, after scoring 33 in a semifinal win, had just eight points and six rebounds. O’Mara did get a lot of help defensively.

O’Mara was limited to eight points as well as eight rebounds. The difference was Okafor’s support.

Colin Bonnett had 12 points and Pellettieri added 11 for the Dolphins, but Reynolds’ 19 points and White chipping in eight points created the edge the Dolphins (28-5) needed.

The Redwings finish the season at 25-8.

Third place – Stevenson 70, Edwardsville 63: A day after scoring 56 points in a semifinal loss to Whitney Young, Jalen Brunson was held to just 18 points. But the Patriots (32-2) had four players in double figures as they pulled away from Edwardsville in the second half of the Class 4A third-place game.

Brunson, who averaged almost 26 points during the season for the Patriots, was initially suspended by the IHSA after video surfaced of him making hand gestures late in the semifinal loss toward the Whitney Young crowd, but he was allowed to play just moments before the start of the consolation game.

Connor Cashaw scored 17 points, Matt Morrissey had 16 and Matt Johnson 10 to go with Brunson’s 18.

The Tigers (30-4) got 21 points from Trevor Clay.

CLASS 3A

Championship – Morgan Park 59, Lincoln 49: Chicago Morgan Park rallied from 13 points down in the second half to beat Lincoln and win the Class 3A state championship.

Trailing 39-26 in the third quarter, the Mustangs (24-6) went on a 26-2 run that put Morgan Park up 11 with less than two minutes to go in the game. The Mustangs punished Lincoln for 10 turnovers during that run.

Josh Cunningham led Morgan Park with 13 points.

Junior Gavin Block led the Railers (34-3) with 19 points.

Third place – Orr 55, Rockford Lutheran 45: Louis Adams Jr. scored 23 points and grabbed seven rebounds to lead Chicago Orr to third place against Rockford Lutheran.

The Spartans (25-5) fell behind by double digits early in the game but pushed through with three separate double-digit runs of their own.

Nate Wieting scored 12 points and hauled in 11 rebounds for Lutheran but turned it over 10 times. Joseph Kellen had 12 points and all-stater Thomas Kopelman added 11 points and eight rebounds for the Crusaders (30-5).

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