Back at the 4A state tourney, Edwardsville hoping for better finish

News-DemocratMarch 20, 2014 

Edwardsville's Darius Crochrell talks about Tigers' overtime super-sectional win

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For the second consecutive season, the Edwardsville Tigers season will end on a Saturday night at Carver Arena in Peoria.

Only this time, the Tigers are hoping their season lasts about two hours longer.

Third in the Class 4A State Basketball Tournament a year ago, Edwardsville (30-2) will take on (Lisle) Benet Academy (24-7) in the second of two semifinals beginning at 8:15 p.m.

(Lincolnshire) Stevenson (31-1), which defeated Edwardsville in the semifinals a year ago, will play (Chicago) Whitney Young (27-5) in the other semifinal at 6:30 p.m. with the two winners playing for the state title Saturday.

The Class 4A title game is set for 8:15 p.m.

The trip to the state tournament is the eighth in school history for Edwardsville, which earned its second straight berth with a 65-60 overtime win over (Chicago Heights) Marian Catholic at the Normal Super-Sectional on Tuesday.

Seniors Armon Fletcher and Shawn Roundtree led the Tigers effort with 18 points each, while Fletcher, a Southern Illinois University Carbondale recruit, pulled down 10 rebounds to complete the double-double. But as has been the case throughout the last two years, several other players also manned key roles to spark Edwardsville's win.

"We don't care who scores, we just care about getting the win,'' Tigers guard Darius Crochrell said after the win on Tuesday.

"It feels really good, (the) guys last year I felt liked laid down the foundation for going to Peoria and doing big things. This year we're going back and it just feels great. That's what we strive for in all athletics. We strive to win and be the best we can be."

The 6-foot, 5-inch Fletcher (17.5 ppg.) and 6-foot Roundtree (17.4) lead the Tigers offense while 6-2 Trevor Clay (10.5) and 6-1 guards Darian Brown (5.6) and Crochrell (7.6) round out Edwardsville's starting five.

Benet Academy also has a solid inside-outside punch in 6-9 Sean O'Mara and 5-11 Collin Pellettieri.

Headed to Xavier University in Cincinnati, O'Mara has led the Redwings in scoring in 24 of their 31 games. But it is Pellettieri who is most responsible for Benet Academy playing in its first state tournament since 1983.

Pellettieri connected on eight 3-pointers and scored 26 points Tuesday in Benet's 62-59 win over (Carol Stream) Glenbard North at the Hinsdale Central Super-Sectional.

Tigers coach Mike Waldo knows his team must play well in order to take on either Stevenson or Whitney Young for the state title.

"Our guys have worked hard to get here and are striving to do their best,'' Waldo said to the media Wednesday. "We know that Benet is a good team that is well coached and that they have a very good big player in O'Mara who is going to Xavier.

"We also know they have a good shooter (Pellettieri).''

Josh Yesufu (5-10), Colin Bennett (6-3) and Liam Nelligan (6-4) round out the Redwings starting lineup.

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