The Class 2A state championship three-peat is now complete for the Chicago Orr Spartans.
Senior all-state guard Sherif Kenney scored 19 points and two Spartans teammates added 10 points each as Chicago Orr captured its third straight Class 2A state championship Saturday with a 50-36 win over Nashville at Peoria Civic Center.
Using his size and strength to penetrate against the always tenacious Hornets defense, the 6-5 Kenney tallied eight of his points in the third quarter as Orr expanded a 20-14 lead at halftime into a 38-22 cushion after three periods.
“I am very proud to be a member of the Chicago Orr basketball program and to win three straight championships with these guys. They are like brothers to me,’’ Kenney said. “We knew what we had to do tonight and we got the job done..’’
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Tujautae Williams and Greg Outlaw added 10 points each for the Public League power Spartans who end their season at 25-11. The win also ends one of the most successful seasons in Nashville High School history one short win of its second state championship.
Nashville, which won the Class A championship in 1978 was making its second state championship game appearance in five years. The Hornets dropped a triple overtime heartbreaker to Bloomington Central Catholic in the 2014 under Brad Weathers.
But heavy underdogs entering the title game, Nashville gave the Spartans everything they wanted for 2 1/2 quarters on Saturday.
“Let me start out by saying we got beat by a very good basketball team which won its third straight state title tonight,’’ a dejected Nashville coach Wayne Harre said in the post game press conference. “But I just am so very thankful that I had the opportunity to coach this basketball team. We asked them to battle hard on every possession tonight and they did that and then some. I couldn’t be more proud of this team.’’
But on this night, the shots just wouldn’t fall for Nashville (35-3), which led just once when junior Carson Parker scored in the opening minute of the game. But with Williams and Kenney scoring five points, Orr used a 10-0 scoring run to take the lead for good.
“We knew what we were up against in Nashville. They are so well coached and play good defense. But we also knew that if we could get a lead that it would be big because they don’t score a lot of points,’’ Orr coach Louis Adams said on the floor after the game. “Sherif (Kenney) is a big strong guard. When he wants to score, he’s tough to stop.’’
But with Parker and McKendree University recruit Bryson Bultman scoring 10 of the Hornets 14 first half points, Nashville was still in the game, trailing just 20-14 at halftime.
Nashville, which was just 7-of-20 (35 percent) from the field in the first two quarters, missed all seven of its 3-point field goal attempts during that span. The Hornets were 0 of 11 from beyond the 3-point line for the game.
“That’s because we played so hard,’’ Harre said. “I know a lot of people thought this would be a 20-30 point game tonight. We didn’t shoot the basketball very well and still we’re only down six points at halftime.
“If we make a couple of shots we’re right there. We gave a great effort.’’
Parker led Nashville with 16 points while Bultman added 12.
“We’ve had a tremendous season and it was one of our goals to be playing here, in the final Class 2A game of the year.,’’ Bultrman said. We just came up a little short.’’