Belleville West senior EJ Liddell and Terrence Hargrove of East St. Louis have been honored as first team Class 3A-4A all-state selections by the Illinois Basketball Coaches Association.
The teams were announced during the IHSA Class 3A-4A State Basketball Tournament. The first team all state recognition is the second straight for Liddell (Class 4A) and Hargrove (3A) who helped lead their teams to state championships Saturday at Peoria Civic Center.
The all-state recognition is the second in less than a week for both Liddell and Hargrove who were the chosen as first team members of the Associated Press all-state teams for the second straight year.
The reigning Illinois’ Mr. Basketball and Ohio State University recruit, Liddell averaged 20.2 points, 9.3 rebounds, 3.0 assists, 3.8 blocks for West which finished 34-4 during the 2018-19 season.
“I couldn’t think of a better way to end my high school career,’’ Liddell said of the state championship. “Four years, four regional titles, two sectionals, two supersectionals and now two state championships. We came in wanting to make a statement. I think we did that.’’
Hargrove, a 6-foot-7 senior who will play at St. Louis University next year, was the unquestioned leader of the Flyers who won the first state basketball championship in school history on Saturday. Hargrove averaged 18 points and 8.9 rebounds for the Flyers’ who finished 30-6.
Hargrove was at his best in the Flyers’ 68-63 win in overtime against Chicago Bogan in the Class 3A title game. Hargrove finished with 32 points and 10 rebounds.
“To be able to bring home a state title to the school, the fans and the community, just means so much,’’ Hargrove said following the win. “I don’t think there were many people outside of this program who thought we could do this. But we believed we could..’’.
Joining Liddell on the Class 4A first team all state list is Alton senior Donovan Clay.
Clay, a 6-7 guard who is headed to Valparaiso University, was a defensive stopper for an Alton team which won a regional title and handed Belleville West one of its four losses during the regular season. Clay averaged 17.1 points, 7.5 rebounds and 3.5 assists for Alton which finished 21-11.
Belleville West senior Lawrence Brazil III and Collinsville junior Ray’Sean Taylor were named as IBCA third team all-state selections. A 6-2 point guard, Brazil averaged 12.6 points and had 69 3-point field goals while dishing out nearly five assists per game.
While Liddell has been the go-to-player for much of his career, it was Brazil who had a true knack of making the big play at just the right time.
“It’s been a great, great run and I’m just so thankful and proud I had the opportunity to be a part of this basketball program the last two years,’’ Brazil said during the on-court victory celebration Saturday. “Coach (Joe) Muniz believed in me and he listened to me and what I had to say. He is a great coach and friend.’’
The 6-1 Taylor averaged 21.4 points per game while also chipping in with 5.6 rebounds, 3.4 assists and 1.6 steals for a 27-6 Collinsville squad which ranked 10th in the final AP state poll.
Highland senior Sam LaPorta was chosen as a Class 3A third team all-state selection while Althoff junior Greg Wells was a Class 3A special mention pick.
An all-state wide receiver for the Bulldogs and headed to the University of Iowa where he will play for the Hawkeyes, the 6-5 LaPorta averaged 15.1 points and seven rebounds for the Mississippi Valley Conference champion Bulldogs who a regional title and finished 28-6.
Wells, a 6-2 guard, averaged 13,3 points for an Althoff team which won the South Seven Conference and finished 17-13.