PEORIA -- Entering the 2015-16 high school basketball season, many around the state of Illinois believed that Belleville Althoff was the best team in the state -- regardless of class.
The Crusaders fulfilled that prophecy at Carver Arena on Saturday afternoon as Belleville Althoff ran past Lincoln-Way West in a 62-37 blowout win for the IHSA Class 3A boys basketball state championship. After falling to St. Joseph in the Class 3A title game last March, the Crusaders made sure to put away Lincoln-Way West early.
With Lincoln-Way West leading 12-10 after the first quarter, Althoff turned things up a notch as they scored 22 second-quarter points to take a 32-20 halftime lead. From there, Althoff led by as many as 28 points in the fourth quarter as the domination continued in the second half.
Belleville Althoff also out-rebounded Lincoln-Way West by a 44-19 margin and held the Warriors' offense to 30 percent (14-for-46) shooting.
Junior Jordan Goodwin finished with 19 points, 10 rebounds, five assists an three steals as his dominant effort on both ends of the floor cemented his status as the frontrunner for Mr. Basketball in Illinois next season. Goodwin also was tremendous on the defensive end of the floor, where he defended high-scoring Lincoln-Way West junior guard Marco Pettinato and held him to 10 points on 4-for-13 shooting.
"I think I got in his head a little bit just guarding him," Goodwin said.
"Usually what [Pettinato] can do, he's got a great spin move, when he spins he gets good separation. You spin on Jordan -- he goes about 215, 220 -- that separation wasn't there. Guys on help defense knew where he was at all times," Althoff coach Greg Leib said.
Althoff (32-2) also had 11 points and seven rebounds from senior and UIC commit Tarkus Ferguson while Southern Illinois commit Brendon Gooch tallied six points, seven rebounds.
The dream run for Lincoln-Way West ends after some thrilling recent wins over Hillcrest, Morgan Park and Peoria Manual in the Class 3A state playoffs. In only their ninth season as a program, the Warriors were a fun team to follow these last two weeks as they finished 22-10 on the season.
"One of the greatest runs that I've ever been apart of as a coach," Lincoln-Way West coach Brian Flaherty said.
"There was a period of time where we weren't playing well, or up to our abilities this season, and to finish like this? The kids were basically firing on all cylinders maybe with the exception of this game. The bar has been raised."
Senior Cameron Gavin added 10 points for Lincoln-Way West while fellow senior Jon Marotta finished with eight points.