Hales Franciscan (Chicago)
had waited a year to get back into the Illinois Class 2A boys basketball Final Four. This time, the Spartans finished the job, knocking off two unbeaten teams to win the school's second state title in boys basketball.
Junior forward Aaric Armstead's
game-high 18 points and team-high four assists helped lead Hales to a 61-47 win over Murphysboro
in the 2A championship game. Murphysboro had won 35 straight.
The day before, Aaron Armstead
scored 19 points in a 56-43 semifinal-round win over Rockford Christian, which had won 31 straight.
"This is great and it's something I've wanted for four years. After last year (a 64-61 loss to Robinson in the semifinals), to come back and get it done is the best feeling in the world," Aaron Armstead, a senior, told the Chicago Tribune.MaxPreps Illinois boys basketball playoff brackets
The victory carried Hales (29-4) to its second consecutive 29-win season. The Spartans won 21 of their last 22 games, losing only to Class 4A regional champion Chicago De La Salle. 1A BOYS: NEWARK WINS FIRST TITLE IN SCHOOL HISTORYNewark
finished off a 33-1 season by winning its first state championship, 57-35, over Winchester West Central Co-op. Senior center John Avery
led the way with 17 points in the title game. Newark Community never advanced to the state Final Four before last weekend.4A BOYS: SIMEON CLOSES IN ON REPEAT TITLESteve Taylor
, a 6-foot-6 junior forward, led nationally ranked Simeon (Chicago)
one step closer toward a repeat state championship in Class 4A by scoring 20 points and grabbing 10 rebounds Tuesday in a 74-61 Supersectional win over Chicago Farragut. The Wolverines (28-2), ranked No. 11 in the MaxPreps Xcellent 25 boys basketball rankings presented by the Army National Guard
, will play Glenbard East (Lombard)
(27-3) in a 6:30 p.m. state semifinal game Friday at the Peoria Civic Center. The winner meets Normal
(27-6) or Warren (Gurnee)
(30-3) in Saturday's 8:15 p.m. championship game.
Simeon, whose lineup also includes highly recruited Jabari Parker
(team-leading 15.3 points per game as a sophomore), has won five tournament games by an average of 25.5 points.3A BOYS: HOT STREAK CARRIES WARHAWKS TO 3A FINAL FOUR
Losing record? No problem. North Chicago
lost three of its final four regular-season games, and entered Illinois 3A regional play with a losing record. The Warhawks responded with five consecutive postseason wins, including a 78-66 win over Chicago Crane in Tuesday's Supersectional game at Hoffman Estates. North Chicago (17-13), which has never won a state title, will play Centralia
(29-4) in the semifinals at 2 p.m. Friday in Peoria. Brooks College Prep (Chicago)
(28-3), led by Wisconsin recruit George Marshall
, will play Rock Island
(28-3) in the other semifinal at 12:15. The title game will be played at 2 p.m. Saturday.5 BIG PERFORMANCES …*
Glenbard East's Johnny Hill scored 32 points, leading the Rams to a 63-51 Class 4A Supersectional boys basketball win over Rockford Auburn on Tuesday night. Hill also had seven rebounds and three blocked shots. East is in the state semifinals for just the second time in school history.
* Kyle Melton, a 15-year-old sophomore who is the son of New Trier (Winnetka)
hockey coach Bob Melton, scored the game-winning goal to send the Trevians to a 3-2 win over Glenbrook North in the Blackhawk Cup at Chicago's United Center. "A lot of people said I only made the team because of my dad. So I wanted to prove to everyone that I could play on New Trier Green as a sophomore," Melton told the Chicago Sun-Times. The state title was the second in three seasons for New Trier (44-8-4).
* Another hockey sophomore, Bridget Roche of Lake Forest
, scored two goals in the girls Blackhawk Cup, leading the Scouts to a 4-1 win over top-seeded Loyola Academy in the state title game. Lake Forest (22-8-2 this year and state runner-up in 2010) is a combined team consisting of Lake Forest, Libertyville, Stevenson and Deerfield.
* Kaileen Devenham scored three goals, leading Naperville North
to a 7-0 girls soccer win over West Aurora in its season opener. The Huskies were a Class 3A regional champion last year.STORYLINES AROUND CHICAGOLAND:
* Tennessee women's basketball recruit Ariel Massengale
of three-time state champion Bolingbrook was named Gatorade Illinois Girls Basketball Player of the Year. A member of the Team USA U-17 national team which won a world championship last summer, Massengale, a 5-foot-7 point guard, averaged 14.2 points per game and had a team-high 190 assists for the 29-2 Lady Raiders. She had a game-high 11 assists in Bolingbrook‘s 71-42 win over Zion-Benton in the Illinois Class 4A title game. "Ariel is the coach on the floor. She does an exceptional job of reading her teammates and making the correct plays," Bolingbrook coach Tony Smith said in a statement.
* The New Trier (Winnetka)
girls soccer team, a Class 3A sectional champion in 2010, was named the No. 1 seed of the 40-team Pepsi Showdown tournament. The Showdown kicks off April 5 and will feature more than 100 games before the April 17 championship game at Toyota Park in Bridgeview, Ill., home of the Chicago Fire.Paul Bowker, an online and newspaper sports journalist for 25 years and the author of two Major League Baseball books, covers the Chicago area for MaxPreps. He may be reached at email@example.com.