Belleville West’s EJ Liddell slams home a monster dunk
Facing the 12th-ranked high school basketball team in the nation, the Belleville West Maroons were handed their first loss of the season Thursday at the Bass Pro Shops Tournament of Champions in Springfield, Missouri.
Jovan Blacksher scored a game-high 19 points for Shadow Mountain (Arizona) High School past the Maroons, 74-57.
Coached by former NBA star and Shadow Mountain graduate Mike Bibby, the Matadors are now 16-1. They have three NCAA Division I prospects including Arizona State University recruit Jaelen House. It was Blacksher, a Grand Canyon University commit, who led the way for Shadow Mountain, one of three defending state champions in the eight-team field.
The Maroons, ranked No. 7 nationally by MaxPreps, trailed 31-26 at the half, but gave up 27 points in the third period as the Matadors built a 22-point advantage.
West senior EJ Liddell led the Maroons with 16 points and nine rebounds. Will Shumpert had 12 points and seven rebounds, while guard Lawrence Brazil connected on four of eight shots from the field to finish with 11 points.
The Maroons, 17-1, fall to the consolation bracket where they will face Springfield Catholic, ranked No. 2 in Missouri Class 3 at 6 p.m. Friday. The Fighting Irish (16-1) lost their first round game to McEachern High School, a Georgia state quarterfinalist last year, which will play Shadow Mountain in the Tournament of Champions quarterfinals Friday.