In the Clutch: McElrath leads Simeon to Finals

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In the Clutch: McElrath leads Simeon to Finals

Friday, March 18, 2011
Posted: 10:41 p.m.

By Michael O'Brien
YourSeason.com

PEORIA Glenbard East coach Scott Millers scouting report said that Simeon senior Rashawn McElrath was probably the Wolverines worst free-throw shooter. So with the game on the line, it was McElrath that continually found himself at the free-throw line. Time and again, the 6-7 senior came through. He made all seven of his free throws in the fourth quarter to help Simeon hold on to a 56-53 win over Glenbard East in the Class 4A state semifinals at Carver Arena. The most crucial pair of free throws came with 14 seconds to play and the Wolverines clinging to a two-point lead. McElrath had been raked across the face by Zach Miller on the foul.I was just trying to see, McElrath said. So thats all I thought about. I was fine.Simeon opened the game with a 15-0 run, dominating every phase of the game. But when Simeons second line of players came in, the Rams came right back, draining three three-pointers to close the first quarter. By halftime, Glenbard East only trailed by five.It gave us a sense of urgency, Simeon sophomore Jabari Parker said. We came out tougher after that. They showed they could play with us.The second half was a classic state tournament game, with two poised and talented teams battling. In the end, Simeons near perfection (17-for-18) from the free-throw line was the difference in the game.Give them credit, Scott Miller said. I didnt know who to foul, they all just kept stepping up and making the shots.McElrath led Simeon (29-2) with 17 points and Parker scored 16. Senior guard Tywon Pinkney added 12 for the Wolverines.Glenbard East (27-4) was able to survive Simeons massive height advantage by shooting 12-for-31 from three-point range, eventually forcing Simeon to play man defense.We just went out and played with all the heart we had, Glenbard East senior Johnny Hill said. Everyone on the team gave everything, everyone on the court and on the bench.Hill, who finished with 22 points and five rebounds, was consistently terrific throughout the state tournament.He really stepped up his game and led his team during the playoffs, Simeon coach Robert Smith said. Hes a great player.Kevin Priebe scored 11 for the Rams and Dante Bailey added nine. Bailey made a three with six seconds to play that brought Glenbard East within two points. The Rams received a delay of game techincal for throwing the ball into the stands after the basket.That didnt effect the outcome of the game, Scott Miller said.Simeon will face the winner of the Warren-Normal game for the Class 4A state title Saturday night at 8:15 p.m.

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