In a game featuring two nationally ranked high school basketball teams it was the Belleville West Maroons who had the final say Saturday at the Washington Tournament of Champions.
EJ Liddell recorded his third double-double in four games with 24 points and 15 rebounds while Keith Randolph added 15 points and a season high 22 rebounds as West defeated Rayville, La. 84-73 in the title game at Washington High School.
West (4-0), which lost to Houston, Tx. Math and Science in the title game a year ago, led for much of the second half. But Rayville, ranked 30th in the nation and the defending Louisiana state champions kept the game within reach until late in the fourth quarter.
“It was a great high school basketball gake between two teams which left it all on the floor,’’ Maroons coach Joe Muniz said. “Rayville is a team with five identical players in that they are all athletic and they can all really shoot the basketball.
“We would get up by a few points and they would come back and cut it to two or three. But each time we had an answer for them. I think a key was that they had EJ, Will (Shumpert) and Keith Randolph on them all night. I think with our size that we wore them down.’’
While Liddell, who added six blocked shots and five assists, along with the athletic Randolph led the way, senior point guard Lawrence Brazil III chipped in with 13 points and seven assists. Louisiana all-stater JaMarcus Wilson led the Hornets (3-1) with 20 points and nine rebounds.
“EJ and Keith (Randolph) had huge games. But we had several kids step up. Lawrence (Brazil) had another great game. We’ve got five players on this team who won a state championship last year. They know how to respond at crucial momments in big games,’’ Muniz said.
“The first three games of the tournament we had things going our way. Tonight we faced adversity several times and we responded well each time. ‘’
Here are results from other Thanksgiving tournament games Saturday.
At Salem Girls Tournament
- Highland def. Teutopols 40-25
- Highland def. Centralia 59-32
At Nashville Girls Tournament
- Okawville 35, Wesclin 21
- Collinsville def. Pinckneyville 57-25
At Southern Illinois Shootout (girls)
- Edwardsville def. defending Class 1A state champions Danville Schlarman 49-42
- Normal def. Belleville West 50-32
- Edwardsville def. Normal 42-29
At Metro East Lutheran
- Southwestern def. Valmeyer 37-33
- Marquette def. Metro East Lutheran 50-37
- Collinsville def. Meridian 90-58
- Hillsboro def. Freeburg 62-59
- Central def. Effingham St. Anthony 55-49
- Marshall def, Mater Dei 90-39
- Taylorville def. Triad 61-55
- Okawvile 58, Greenville 45
- Chicago Curie def. East St. Louis 88-81
- Lincoln def . Cahokia 65-33
- Higland def. Mattoon 31-24
- Wesclin def. West Frankfort 61-46