Simeon's dynasty continues with third straight 4A title

706144.png

Simeon's dynasty continues with third straight 4A title

PEORIA, Ill. Simeon and Proviso East staged one of the all-time great state championship games Saturday at Carver Arena.

Pirates junior Sterling Brown drained a three with four seconds to play, but Proviso East was forced to watch the final seconds tick off the clock as the ball rolled under the basket. There were no timeouts left and time had run out. Simeon had a 50-48 victory and a third consecutive Class 4A state championship.

The win gave Simeon a sixth state championship, the most in state history. It also gave Simeon coach Robert Smith his fifth title, the most by one coach in state history, breaking the record held by East St. Louis coach Bennie Lewis since 1989.

For three quarters, all of that history-making seemed to be in severe doubt, as the Pirates matched Simeons every move. The game was tied at the half and Proviso East led by five after three quarters. There was a sense that Simeons dynasty was coming to end.

Then Steve Taylor found a way to drain an awkward hook shot from under the basket. It was a shot hes made several times this season, even if it looks lucky. It gave Simeon (33-1) a 43-41 lead and the Pirates immediately seemed to tighten up.

After that shot I think my team just fed off my emotions, Taylor said. We had the lead back and Proviso East got nervous.

Simeon junior Jabari Parkers dunk with 12 seconds to play seemed to put the exclamation point on the win, but the officials called a technical for hanging on the rim.

It didnt faze me, Parker said. They had to do something to keep the game alive. They didnt want to see us win again.

Brown hit both free throws after the technical and then drained the three, but then time ran out.

I told Sterling that we needed a three, Proviso East coach Donnie Boyce said. He had no problems with the shot. I told him we needed a delay too. I should have told him to throw the ball up in the stands afterwards.

Brown scored 25 points for the Pirates (32-1), shooting 10 for 18 from the field.

Sterling Brown was an amazing player, Parker said.

But it seems that may have been Smiths plan all along.

Sterling was outstanding, he really was, Smith said. Keith Carter didnt have a good game tonight, did he? We wanted to shut him down. He makes them go.

Carter scored eight points on 4-for-12 shooting. The Proviso East point guard had three turnovers and no assists.

Taylor scored 12 and grabbed 15 rebounds for Simeon. Parker finished with 15 points and five rebounds. Jaleni Neely added 10 points and Jaylon Tate scored eight off the bench.

In a curious incident after the win, all of Simeons players removed their shoes and placed them in a line next to the podium set up on center court. IHSA Executive Director Marty Hickman picked up the shoes and removed them.

They said they wanted to leave their mark on the court, Smith said.

Cubs will make statement with trip to Donald Trump's White House

Cubs will make statement with trip to Donald Trump's White House

WASHINGTON — Within a matter of days last November, the Cubs won a staggering World Series for the first time in 108 years and Donald Trump won a scathing election to become the 45th president.

Those two surreal worlds will collide again on Wednesday when a group of Cubs get a private White House tour that can be interpreted as a political statement, something larger than this four-game series against the Washington Nationals.

This comes less than six months after the Cubs enjoyed an East Room ceremony that became the final official event at Barack Obama’s White House, at a polarizing time when speculation centered on whether or not the Golden State Warriors would skip the traditional photo op with Trump, not wanting to make an implicit endorsement after winning another NBA title.

“You’d have to talk to the Warriors,” manager Joe Maddon said Tuesday. “To go tomorrow is out of respect to the Ricketts family and to the office and the building itself. Listen, I like the United States a lot. I like living here a lot. And I like everything that it represents a lot.

“So when you get a chance as a citizen to get to go to the White House, you go. I think you go. Whether you like the person that’s running the country or not — out of respect to the office itself — you go.

“I don’t agree with all the other banter that’s going on right now, because I have a different perspective.”

Chairman Tom Ricketts and his brother, Todd, a board member who withdrew his nomination to become Trump’s deputy commerce secretary, brought the World Series trophy to Capitol Hill on Tuesday and did a meet and greet with Illinois Congressional staffers at the Russell Senate Office Building.

Within the Ricketts family/Cubs board of directors, Pete is Nebraska’s Republican governor and Laura was a superdelegate and a major fundraiser for Hillary Clinton. President of baseball operations Theo Epstein is also active in Democratic circles.

[CUBS TICKETS: Get your seats right here]

Maddon also plans to attend a luncheon on Wednesday with young Republicans organized by Congressman Lou Barletta, an old buddy from growing up in Hazleton, Penn., and an early Trump endorser.

“It’s not as ceremonial as the last one was, going there as the World Series champions,” Maddon said. “It’s more based on the Ricketts family relationship and the crowd that’s going to the White House.

“The Ricketts family’s been tied in there really well ... so wherever Mr. Ricketts would like me to go, I’m going to do (it). Mr. Ricketts and the Ricketts family has been good to all of us, so part of that is that.

“The other part is whenever you have a chance to go to the White House, I think it’s easy to say yes out of respect to the office and the building itself.”

Maddon didn’t know if meeting Trump would be on the itinerary and said he understood if some players passed on the invite.

“I don’t have any rules to begin with,” Maddon said. “I just want you to run hard to first base. As long as you run hard to first base, they can make up their own mind whether they want to go to the White House or not.

“Furthermore, not having to wear a suit, I think, is the best part of this whole trip, because, to me, to have to dress a certain way to impress somebody, my God, nobody would ever fail. So I’m all about all of the circumstances right now.”

Maddon didn’t sound at all concerned about the optics of visiting the White House at a time of travel bans, sub-40 percent approval ratings and investigations into the Trump campaign’s connections to Russia, or meeting with a president who compared Chicago to Afghanistan.

“I like living here a lot,” Maddon said. “I like this country a lot. And I would much prefer living here than some of the other places that adopt different methods of government.

“I think sometimes that gets confused when people want to take a stand and not really realizing actually what we have, which is a lot better than most every place else.”

Mike "Hollywood" Jimenez packs a punch with ITL

Mike "Hollywood" Jimenez packs a punch with ITL

Mike "Hollywood" Jimenez has come a long way since stumbling upon the boxing ring back in 2013.

Jimenez joins the ITL panel as the reigning boxing champion of Chicago. He discusses the big win, his personal backstory and hardships, and more.

Listen above to learn more about Mr. "Hollywood."