2 of the nation’s best public high school teams, #1 Chicago Simeon (33-1) and #2 Proviso East (32-1) battled for the Illinois Class 4A state championship at Peoria’s Carver Arena in the matchup that hoops fans had been anticipating all season.
Proviso East’s 6’5 junior Sterling Brown (brother of Suns’ Shannon Brown) gave 6’8 Simeon junior star Jabari Parker all he could handle, but Parker’s Simeon teammates were there to pick him up when it counted most. Parker scored 15 pts and senior Steve Taylor (Marquette) had 12 pts + 17 rebounds in Simeon’s third straight Class 4A title with a 50-48 victory. Parker has one more than the Bulls’ Derrick Rose with one season to go.
The win gave Simeon their 6th state championship (IL record) and #5 for Simeon coach Robert Smith (IL record).
This game was tied at the half. Sterling Brown scored 10 of his 25 pts in the 3rd quarter to give Proviso East a 39-34 lead with 8 minutes to play. But in the 4th, an 8-0 run gave Simeon a 45-41 lead with 3:05 left. Simeon extended the lead on a vicious dunk by Parker with 12 secs left before Brown hit a 3-pointer with seconds remaining.
After winning, all of Simeon’s players (except Parker who was being interviewed) removed their shoes and placed them on the court. With the exception of Parker, the coach suspended all the returning players for the first game of next season following this incident.
Simeon and Proviso East have won 10 state championships between them. We won’t be surprised if both return to Peoria next March to add another.