Preps Talk

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

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

PEORIA — Peoria Manual needed overtime and a stop on the final possession, but held on for a 56-55 overtime win over St. Joseph in the IHSA boys basketball Class 3A third-place game Saturday afternoon at Carver Arena.

The Rams (26-5) found themselves down 16-11 after the first quarter, but started the second quarter on a 13-0 run as the game remained neck-and-neck for the rest of the contest.

Da'Monte Williams, an Illinois commit, and Romon Douglas-Watkins paced the Rams' offense with 12 points each while senior Devonte Keeton added nine points. Williams, the son of former Illinois star Frank Williams, also added nine rebounds and three assists as Illinois head coach John Groce was in attendance.

This is Peoria Manual's first time at state since placing second in Class 2A in 2010, and with a team full of juniors, the Rams will be one of the major favorites in Class 3A next season.

"We have the same goals this year as we do next year," Williams said. "We want to win conference, sectional then state."

[MORE PREPS: Jay Williams on how special Jahlil Okafor, Jabari Parker could be in NBA]

St. Joseph (25-9) ends its season in fourth place in Class 3A as senior center Nick Rakocevic finished his final high school game with 26 points, 13 rebounds, six blocks and four steals. After finishing as Class 3A champions last season, Rakocevic was the only senior left on the St. Joseph roster and still led a team filled with underclassmen and inexperienced players back to Peoria.

Even though Rakocevic and St. Joseph weren't expected to make a major dent in the standings this season, the senior expected to make it back to Peoria.

"I told my coach that [we were going back to state] as soon as Marquise [Walker] came through the door," Rakocevic said. "I knew Jason [Towers] was going to be a big part of the team, Lavon [Thomas] was going to be back and all the pieces that we had. I believed in myself, I believed in my teammates and I told them every day that we were going to get down there."

Towers also added 13 points for the Chargers in the loss while freshman guard Marquise Walker finished with eight points. 

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. 

68 Days to Kickoff: Oswego East

68 Days to Kickoff: Oswego East

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: Oswego East

Head coach: Tyson LeBlanc

Assistant coaches: Dan Dunbar, Andy Brogan, Jeremy Main, Erik Aister, Dru Filkins, Connor Downs, Zac Sadek, Reggie Cribbs and Mike Harden

How they fared in 2017: 7-3 (7-2 Southwest Prairie Conference). Oswego East made the Class 8A state football playoff field. The Wolves lost to St. Charles East in opening round action.

2018 Regular Season Schedule:

Aug. 24 vs Plainfield East

Aug. 31 @ Joliet West

Sept. 7 vs Romeoville

Sept. 14 vs Joliet Central

Sept. 21 @ Plainfield South

Sept. 28 @ Plainfield North

Oct. 5 vs Oswego

Oct. 12 vs Plainfield Central

Oct. 19 vs Minooka

[MORE: 73 Days to Kickoff - Joliet Central]

Biggest storyline: Can the Wolves get out of the rugged Southwest Prairie conference and make a run in the IHSA state playoffs?

Names to watch this season: ATH Justin Clark and WR Kieon Battle

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

EDGY's Early Take: Oswego East head coach Tyson LeBlanc is shooting to make the IHSA playoff field and the fourth straight year in 2018. He has a 36-24 record since coming over from Curie High School back in 2012. Oswego East will rely on a strong group of returning offensive skills led by D-1 recruit Justin Clark, who can --and will-- play multiple positions this season for the Wolves.