PEORIA, Ill. (AP) — Dannie Smith scored 19 points and Raekwon Drake added 17 as Chicago Orr ran away with the IHSA Class 2A boys basketball title game on Saturday, 59-39.
The Spartans (23-5) used their length and quickness to frustrate Mt. Carmel all night, creating 13 turnovers, blocking four shots and disrupting the Golden Aces offense constantly through the game. Orr quickly built a double-digit lead in the first quarter and was rarely challenged after.
Mt. Carmel did make a bit of a run late. Trailing by 14 midway through the third quarter the Golden Aces hit their first 3-pointer of the game (after being 0-9 at that point). They hit another a minute later and Jackson Marcotte converted a conventional three-point play to cut the lead to nine. That was as close as they'd get.
Marcotte finished with 17 points and Austin Rager grabbed 11 rebounds for Mt. Carmel.
2016-17 record: 30-4, 8-2 Public League Red-South
Postseason results: Lost to Whitney Young in Class 4A Title Game
Players to watch: Senior Talen Horton-Tucker (Iowa State) is one of the area's premier two-way players. Senior forward Messiah Jones (Drake) is an elite leaper and rebounder. Talented junior guard KeJuan Clements is also back. The Wolverines also added some intriguing transfers in Xavier Pinson (St. Pat's) and Northwest Indiana native Zion Young. Both Pinson and Young have Division I interest and add even more perimeter firepower.
Why they're in the power rankings: On paper, you could argue that Simeon is the most talented team in the state this season. The Wolverines have proven veterans who have won city titles and Division I transfers at multiple positions. But how will all of the pieces fit together? This is a fascinating group with a high ceiling.
Did you know? Making it back to Peoria last season, Simeon has now made 13 state finals appearances.
2016-17 record: 23-5, 8-2 Public League Red-West
Postseason results: Won Class 2A State Championship.
Players to watch: Seniors Dannie Smith and Raekwon Drake are both major All-Area threats after strong junior seasons. Another senior, Ty Mosley, might actually be the best long-term college prospect of the group as he's pledged to Milwaukee for next season. Sharpshooter Brian Hernandez is another seasoned veteran who has a knack for making big plays.
Why they're in the power rankings: The Spartans return most of last season's Class 2A title team and they also added some key transfers in former Marian Catholic point guard Chase Adams and former Clark wing Demarius Splunge. While the Spartans should be the heavy favorites to repeat in Class 2A, they haven't made as much noise in the Public League Playoffs, which is why they're still behind some of the other schools in the preseason Power Rankings.
Did you know? Orr was absolutely dominant during its Class 2A title run last March as the Spartans won by an average of 21 points. Only one team, Uplift, even played Orr to within single digits and that was still a nine-point margin of victory.