Saturday, March 19, 2011
Posted: 11:16 p.m.
By Michael O'Brien
PEORIA Romal Davis never dreamed that hed be standing at center court wearing a Class 3A state championship medal around his neck. At least not while wearing a Rock Island jersey.
Davis, 6-foot-3 senior, grew up in Chicago and played basketball at Orr his freshman year. The Spartans, led by Illinois recruit Mycheal Henry, were considered to be one of the favorites to win the 3A state championship this season.
Davis moved to Rock Island with his mother after sophomore year and ended up playing with another Division I bound star, Chasson Randle.
I knew they had a good team here when I moved, Davis said. I dont know that I actually thought about winning a state title, though.
Rock Island did just that on Saturday, beating Centralia 50-40 in two overtimes to give the school its first state title. The Rocks finished second in the first title game back in 1908 and finished second again in 1910.
Randle, a Stanford recruit, fouled out of the game with 57 seconds to play in the first overtime.
Hes our leading scorer so that was a blow, Davis said. We just knew we had to find another way to win. Were more than just Chasson.
The Rocks did just that, in large part because of 6-8 junior Denzel McCauley. The big man blocked Desmond Rushs attempted game-winner at the end of the first overtime and dominated the boards in the second overtime.
It was Davis who put the Rocks ahead for good with a rebound and basket with 3:38 to play in the second overtime. Rock Island shot 8-of-10 from the free-throw line from then on out to seal the win.
My role is the sixth man, Davis said. I started some games but it became about me coming off the bench. That was where I was most valuable to the team.
Davis finished with 10 points and nine rebounds. Randle led the Rocks (30-3) with 13 points and seven rebounds. McCauley finished with nine points and 17 rebounds.
We were just so focused the last two days and we did it, Randle said. It didnt matter that I fouled out, everybody contributed.
Centralia also had a chance to win at the end of regulation, but Bryan Betts missed a jumper at the buzzer.
R.J. Kwiatkowski led the Orphans (30-5) with 15 points and Betts added 13. Centralias tallest player is 6-3 and the Orphans were unable to handle even Rock Islands modestly-sized teams. The Rocks won the battle of the boards 38-24.
We had different guys step up throughout the day, said Rock Island coach Thom Sigel, who is the second coach in state history to win championships at two schools; he won the Class A title with Rock Falls in 1999. Weve got the seniors who put a lot into it; they showed a lot of character.