Preps Talk

Belleville Althoff captures Class 3A title

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Belleville Althoff captures Class 3A title

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.

[MORE: Peoria Manual needs OT to top St. Joseph in Class 3A third-place game]

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. 

66 Days to Kickoff: Rich Central

66 Days to Kickoff: Rich Central

NBCSportsChicago.com preps reporter "Edgy" Tim O’Halloran spotlights 100 high school football teams in 100 days. The first 75 team profiles will focus on teams making strides across Chicagoland and elsewhere in the state. Starting July 30, we’ll unveil the @NBCSPrepsTop 25 Power Rankings, leading up to kickoff on Friday, Aug. 24.

School: Rich Central

Head coach: Terrell Alexander

Assistant Coaches: Quincy Woods (OC), Vince Brown (OL), Art Schuldt (ST), Les Hampton (DB), Jerrell Bibbs (DB), Steve Henley (DC), Jeff Spikner (WR), Derrick Goard (LB) William Pass (DL) Chuch Robinson (Skills), Guy Smith (RB) and Shawn Mitchell (Skills)

How they fared in 2017: 8-3 (4-1 Southland Conference). Rich Central made the Class 5A state football playoff field. The Olympians defeated Marion then lost to Dunlap in second round.

2018 Regular Season Schedule:

Aug. 24 @ Hillcrest

Sept. 1 vs Lemont

Sept. 7 @ Kaneland

Sept. 14 vs Rich South

Sept. 21 @ Crete-Monee

Sept. 28 vs Rich East

Oct. 5 vs Kankakee

Oct. 12 vs Bloom Township

Oct. 19 vs Christ the King

[MORE: 67 Days to Kickoff: Hillcrest]

Biggest storyline: The Olympians have reached the IHSA playoffs three consecutive seasons-- the first such streak in Rich Central history. Can they stay on a winning track and make a deeper playoff run this fall?

Names to watch this season: WR/S Mehki Miller (Miami of Ohio) and RB Sean Tyler (Western Michigan)

Biggest holes to fill: The Olympians will need to replace their entire starting offensive line from a season ago.

EDGY's Early Take: Rich Central and head coach Terrell Alexander has brought winning and stability to the Olympians football program.  The 2018 team has some firepower back in the aforementioned Miller and Tyler; however, the development of their underclassmen group this summer will determine just how far this team will go. The ingredients look to be there for another IHSA state playoff caliber team.

67 Days to Kickoff: Hillcrest

67 Days to Kickoff: Hillcrest

NBCSportsChicago.com preps reporter "Edgy" Tim O’Halloran spotlights 100 high school football teams in 100 days. The first 75 team profiles will focus on teams making strides across Chicagoland and elsewhere in the state. Starting July 30, we’ll unveil the @NBCSPrepsTop 25 Power Rankings, leading up to kickoff on Friday, Aug. 24.

School: Hillcrest

Head coach: Morgan Weaver

Assistant coaches:  Mike Young, Kyran Weaver, Rob Hancock, Ryan Keen, Nicholas Schultz, Tramaine Weaver, Phillip Burkett and Langdon Mattox

How they fared in 2017: 9-3 (5-1 South Suburban Blue Conference). Hillcrest made the Class 5A state football playoff field. The Hawks defeated Peoria and Glenwood then lost to Dunlap in the quarterfinal round.

2018 Regular Season Schedule:

Aug. 24 vs Rich Central

Sept. 1 @ Rich South

Sept 7 @ Shepard

Sept. 14 vs Oak Forest

Sept. 21 vs Lemont

Sept. 28 @ Tinley Park

Oct. 5 @ T.F. South

Oct. 12 @ T.F. North

Oct. 19 vs Bremen

[MORE: 79 Days to Kickoff - Crete-Monee]

Biggest storyline: Consistency. After two straight postseason berths, can the Hawks reload and get back into the IHSA playoff field once again this fall?

Names to watch this season: WR Corey Crooms (Western Michigan) and DE Cam Mattox (NIU)

Biggest holes to fill: The Hawks welcome back 11 returning starters (six offense, five defense); hoewever, they will need to reload on the offensive line and at linebacker. 

EDGY's Early Take: Head coach Morgan Weaver was able to get the Hawks into the state playoffs in his first season. What can they do as an encore? Hillcrest has the potential to be a real threat in 5A. Keep an eye on a strong and experienced group of receivers and backs led by senior Corey Crooms (Western Michigan). They also boast a defense that features an experienced secondary and a ton of speed.