Posted On: 03/15/18 5:00 PM
The high school basketball season has two days and eight games left! This weekend in Peoria will be the 3A and 4A state championships. Check out our preview of the state finals here with our game predictions and who we think will cut down the nets on Saturday!
Friday, March 16
11:15 AM Morgan Park vs Marian Catholic
1:00 PM Springfield Southeast vs North Chicago
5:30 PM Belleville West vs Larkin
7:15 PM Whitney Young vs Evanston
Saturday, March 17
11:15 AM 3A Consolation
1:00 PM 3A Championship
5:30 PM 4A Consolation
7:15 PM 4A Championship
Morgan Park vs Marian Catholic
The first semifinal features a pair of teams from Chicago. Morgan Park has been the favorite for the 3A championship from the minute the season started. The Mustangs are led by the #1 2018 prospect in the state Ayo Dosunmu. The Illini commit will head back to Peoria primed to put on a show for fans that didn’t get to see him last year after he got hurt in the semifinal a year ago. They are more than just Ayo with seniors Cam Burrell and Kenyon Duling bringing defense and energy. Sophomore duo of #1 Adam Miller and top 20 Marcus Watson bring scoring punch in the backcourt. Marian Catholic counters with a star studded backcourt of their own with junior Malik Tidwell who hit the game winning three to send them to Peoria. The player running the show is top 10 2020 Ahron Ulis who has an advanced feel for the game and high basketball IQ. Chris White is a top 40 junior who along with senior Alec Dinwiddie will have to play big inside and on the glass.
Prediction: Morgan Park
Springfield Southeast vs North Chicago
Springfield Southeast has been the top ranked 3A team for much of the season. They are a classic example of a group of solid players playing well as a group. Their best prospect is top 10 junior Anthony Fairlee who is an absolute freak show! His best basketball is still ahead of him. Terrion Murdix is emerging in the 2019 class with his play in the backcourt. North Chicago is another group that is better than the sum of their parts. They have a lot of athletic and versatile players that aren’t necessarily the highest rated prospects, but grind out wins. 2019 post Achaun Clinton is an intriguing junior post.
Prediction: Springfield Southeast
State Championship Prediction
Morgan Park over Springfield Southeast
Belleville West vs Larkin
Belleville West has been the beast of the metro east all season! They have dominated the competition across southern Illinois all year. They are led by the #2 2019 prospect EJ Liddell who has had an absolute dominant season. He was the best post player in the state this year and it wasn’t close. He scores, boards, and swats shots at a high level. This will be the big stage he and many fans across the state have been waiting for. He is helped by Wright State commit and top 20 senior Malachi Smith. The 2018 prospect will be the x-factor if they win the championship. When he plays his best they are unbeatable. Inside next to Liddell is football recruit and top 50 hoops prospect 2019 power forward Keith Randolph who does the dirty work. This will be the first time all season Liddell will face a post that might be taller and longer than him with the best uncommitted post in the state Jalen Shaw anchoring the paint for Larkin. The heavily recruited JUCO prospect rebounds at a nice clip and if he can frustrate Liddell Larkin could give them a game. Anthony Lynch is a crafty senior wing that is garnering D2 looks and Pierre Black was lights out shooting in the super sectional.
Prediction: Belleville West
Whitney Young vs Evanston
Whitney Young did it again! The pulled off the upset win over top ranked Simeon in the super sectional. Whitney Young defeated them last year for the state championship. The Dolphins are primed to repeat as state champs with a pair of top 10 seniors in their backcourt in Valpo commit Javon Freeman and South Florida signee Xavier Castaneda. They both played huge in the supers. For the Dolphins there are a lot of potential x-factor players that could be the guys that take them over the top in Peoria. Top 10 2019 shooting guard Myles Baker along with stellar sophomores Tyler Beard and Elliot Sieger are ones to watch. Don’t discount the wing duo of Jake Kosakowski and Keenan Jones from making clutch plays. Evanston is led by a 2019 backcourt duo of Lance Jones and Jahiem Holden. Both are very athletic and like to make plays in the lane. Each has seen their stock rise this season. Also watch out for a pair of potential top 15 2021 prospects in Blake Peters and Jaylin Gibson to be sparks.
Prediction: Whitney Young
State Championship Prediction
Belleville West over Whitney Young