Preps Talk

Whitney Young gets revenge on Simeon, wins Class 4A state title

pic_whitney_young_dunk_03-18.jpg

Whitney Young gets revenge on Simeon, wins Class 4A state title

PEORIA -- Whitney Young captured its fourth boys basketball state championship on Saturday as the Dolphins outlasted city rival Simeon for a 60-50 overtime win in the Class 4A state title game.

The Dolphins (27-7) lost twice to the Wolverines during the regular season but found a way to get revenge during the third matchup of the season between these two storied city rivals.

Senior Lucas Williamson led the Dolphins with 19 points while Justin Boyd chipped in 17 points -- including five three-pointers. Boyd's three-pointer opened the overtime scoring and gave Whitney Young the final push of momentum they needed as they held Simeon scoreless during the extra frame.

"I just wanted to win. I wanted to win so bad. That's all it was," Williamson said.

"State championship. It doesn't get much bigger than that. We just wanted to come out and win. I'm speechless right now."

The Whitney Young defense only allowed one Simeon field goal the final 11:10 of basketball as the Dolphins clamped down and got stops to help earn a state title.

"The one thing these guys have done all year is play defense," Whitney Young head coach Tyrone Slaughter said. "Defense is something that we've had a handle on all year. These guys were committed to it." 

Simeon (30-4) was led by senior point guard Evan Gilyard with 16 points but the UTEP commit was held scoreless during the second half and in overtime. The Whitney Young defense adjusted to Gilyard in the second half by trying to overload him to a single side of the floor as the plan was effective in slowing him down. With Gilyard struggling to get in the paint, Simeon's offense looked disjointed for much of the second half.

"We tried to ice him and make him go right," Whitney Young senior Craig Beudoin said of the left-handed Gilyard.  

Junior Talen Horton-Tucker also added 13 points for the Wolverines before fouling out. 

Simeon beat Whitney Young twice during the regular season but the Dolphins didn't seem to care too much about past results.  Back in December, when these teams played a non-conference game at the UIC Pavilion, the Wolverines won 59-52. Simeon also took down Whitney Young in the Public League Playoffs semifinals with a 60-49 win in late February. 

A healthy Justin Boyd was a huge difference for the Dolphins in the third matchup. Sitting out the first matchup between these two teams with an ankle injury, Boyd was the extra floor-spacer that Whitney Young needed to counteract Simeon's zone defense.

Once Boyd got confident hitting shots, it allowed for other Whitney Young shooters to get looks as it opened up the offensive attack for the Dolphins.

"They haven't played us a minute of man [defense] in five games," Slaughter said of Simeon's defensive focus. "We haven't done well against their zone. Today we did a lot better. We did the one thing we needed to do: we made shots."

This is the second state championship for Whitney Young in the last four seasons as they also won in 2014 behind a strong senior trio of Jahlil Okafor, Paul White and Miles Reynolds. Whitney Young head coach Tyrone Slaughter now has three state championships in his career as he also won in 2009 with the Dolphins.

"They're all so great," Slaughter said of the state titles. "I'm really happy for these guys because, through a lot of adversity, these guys have stayed with it and got it done."

High School Lites Podcast: What is the greatest high school football rivalry in Illinois?

high_school_lites_generic_promo_1.jpg

High School Lites Podcast: What is the greatest high school football rivalry in Illinois?

Excellent teams. Tradition. Locality. Fan base animosity.

They’re the cornerstones of what make a great high school football rivalry. In this edition of CSN Chicago’s High School Lites podcast, Joe Collins, Jared Storck and “Edgy” Tim O’Halloran dive into this topic and discuss which ones stand out above the rest in Illinois.

The panel also breaks down the newly-released IHSA playoff outlook and discuss the early candidates for offensive player of the year. They’ll also look ahead to Friday’s matchups, which feature several teams jostling for playoff position.

Listen to the High School Lites Podcast below:

Curie senior guard Maurice Commander commits to UT Chattanooga

Curie senior guard Maurice Commander commits to UT Chattanooga

Curie senior guard Maurice Commander ended his recruitment on Tuesday night by committing to UT Chattanooga on Twitter.

"I chose UT-Chattanooga, because deep down inside, I knew I could trust (new Mocs head coach Lamont) Paris and the staff," Commander said to CSN. "They believed in me from the jump! I know for a fact that I could go to war with this coaching staff."

The 6-foot-0 Commander was one of the area's best point guards and perimeter shooters last season as he helped Marist become a consistent presence in the CSN Preps Power Rankings.

Transferring to Public League powerhouse Curie this offseason, Commander made his presence immediately felt with the Condors this summer when he buried five first-half three-pointers against Simeon during June's annual Riverside-Brookfield Shootout. 

Curie eventually went on to win the loaded summer event as they once again look like a major threat for a city and state championship this season with Commander as a major piece. 

Commander selected UT Chattanooga over his other finalist, UC-Davis, as Paris is very familiar with recruiting the Chicagoland area. 

A former assistant coach at Wisconsin since 2010 before taking the UT Chattanooga head job this spring, Paris recruited Illinois before for the Badgers as he is plenty familiar with the area.