Boys Basketball

West faces strong field at state tournament, including defending champ Whitney Young

Belleville West reaches state boys basketball tournament

The Belleville West Maroons celebrate their first berth in the state tournament since the 2002-03 season.
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The Belleville West Maroons celebrate their first berth in the state tournament since the 2002-03 season.

The Belleville West Maroons will make their first appearance at the state basketball tournament since 2003 when they take on the Elgini Larkin Royals in the semifinals at 5:30 p.m. Friday at Carver Arena in Peoria.

Evanston will take on Whitney Young in the other semifinal at 7:15 p.m.

The two semifinal winners advance to the state title game at 7:15 Saturday. The third-place game is at 5:30 p.m.

The following are capsules on the four Class 4A teams.

Belleville West (30-2)

Coach: Joe Muniz (14th season, 208-173)

Classification enrollment: 2158

Nickname: Maroons

Colors: Maroon/White

Conference: Southwestern

State tournament history: This is the Maroons' eighth trip to the state tournament and the first since 2003.

Last year: The Maroons lost to Edwardsville in the sectional semifinals.

Key players: Jr. Lawrence Brazil III (10.5 ppg, 63 rebounds, 85 assists); Sr. Malachi Smith (15.7 ppg, 199 rebounds, 112 assists); Jr. Keith Randolph Jr. (9.7 ppg, 215 rebounds, 42 assists); Sr. Curtis Williams (4.8 ppg, 79 rebounds, 26 assists); Jr. EJ Liddell (20.8 ppg, 266 rebounds, 92 assists)

Whitney Young (27-7)

Coach: Tyrone Slaughter (13th season, 288-102)

Classification enrollment: 3062.4

Nickname: Dolphins

Colors: Orange/Navy

Conference: Chicago Public

State tournament history: This is the Dolphins' eighth trip to the state tournament.

Last year: The Dolphins defeated Simeon in the Class 4A state title game.

Key players: Sr. Javon Freeman (19.6 ppg, 199 rebounds, 72 assists); Jr. Myles Baker (12.0 ppg, 152 rebounds, 43 assists); Sr. Justin Boyd (7.4 ppg, 207 rebounds, 51 assists); Sr. Xavier Castañeda (11.8 ppg, 89 rebounds, 154 assists); Sr. Jake Kosakowski (5.9 ppg, 82 rebounds, 17 assists)

Elgin Larkin (24-8)

Coach: Deryn Carter (9th season, 143-117)

Classification enrollment: 2091

Nickname: Royals

Colors: Royal Blue/White

Conference: Upstate Eight

State tournament history: This is the Royals' fifth trip to the state tournament.

Last year: The Royals lost to Algonquin (Jacobs) in the sectional title game.

Key players: Sr. Kindrel Morris (6.5 ppg, 105 rebounds, 198 assists); Sr. Anthony Lynch (20 ppg, 159 rebounds, 120 assists); Sr. Isaiah Talley (2.4 ppg, 110 rebounds, 20 assists); Jr. Chris Rose (1.4 ppg, 88 rebounds, 25 assists); Sr. Jalen Shaw (16.3 ppg, 390 rebounds, 98 assists)

Evanston (26-5)

Coach: Mike Ellis (15th season, 323-129)

Classification enrollment: 3285

Nickname: Wildkits

Colors: Orange/Blue

Conference: Central Suburban League

State tournament history: This is the Wildkits' 14th trip to the state tournament.

Last year: The Wildkits lost to Chicago Whitney Young in the super-sectional.

Key players: Jr. Jaheim Holden (14.8 ppg, 81 rebounds, 79 assists); Jr. Lance Jones (15.5 ppg, 125 rebounds, 94 assists); Fr. Blake Peters (10.2 ppg, 101 rebounds, 44 assists); Jr. Ryan Bost (8.0 ppg, 104 rebounds, 65 assists); Sr. Matt Hall (3.6 ppg, 132 rebounds, 20 assists)

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