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home : sports : sports   April 29, 2016

12/10/2013 9:55:00 AM
Prep basketball: Scouting the State

Jared Bell
NewsTribune Sports Writer

Editor’s note: This is the last Scouting the State of 2013. It will return in January.

Two is better than one…unless you have Cliff Alexander.

After the IHSA allowed the 6-foot-9 Chicago Curie senior and University of Kansas recruit to play in Saturday’s Chicago Elite Classic, Alexander finished with a whopping 20 points, 22 rebounds and five blocked shots to lead Curie to a 66-62 win over Las Vegas Bishop Gorman at the UIC Pavilion in the star-studded event.

“That was the right decision to a let kid get an opportunity to showcase his talent in an event like this in his hometown,” Curie coach Mike Oliver told the Chicago Tribune. “I don’t think it was that severe for him to have to sit this out. We agreed with the decision they made, and I think it was the right decision. With all the big-time players here, it would have been tough for him to sit this out.”

Alexander was supposed to miss Curie’s game Saturday after he received two technical fouls and was ejected in Curie’s season-opening win over St. Rita on Nov. 30.

However, the IHSA will allow him to serve the suspension in January because Curie’s scheduled game Friday in Kentucky was canceled due to bad weather.

With a second chance, Curie was second to none against Bishop Gorman, which features 7-foot junior Stephen Zimmerman, who is the No. 2 recruit in the Class of 2015.

Zimmerman finished with 10 points and 13 rebounds in the game — which was watched courtside by Duke coach Mike Krzyzewski and Louisville coach Rick Pitino — but Alexander stole the show as he had four dunks and altered multiple shots in the game’s first four minutes.

“The most difficult thing about (guarding) him is his ability to catch and slam in tipped dunks,” Zimmerman told the Chicago Sun-Times. “Even when you have a body on him, it’s not enough to stop him.”

Okafor, Young fail to convert
Jahlil Okafor went from in charge to in need of the ball, and Chicago Whitney Young paid for it.

After Okafor dominated in the first three-plus quarters of Saturday’s game against St. John’s Bosco (NJ), the 6-foot-10 Duke recruit failed to touch the ball the final 5:37 as Bosco’s Daniel Hamilton hit a 3-point shot at the buzzer to lift Bosco to a 62-59 win in the final game of the Chicago Elite Classic.

“We are taking jump shots while the most dominant post player in the country stands on the block,” Young coach Tyrone Slaughter told the Sun-Times. “That’s why there was a three-minute scoring drought.”

Okafor finished 10-for-13 from the floor and finished with 24 points and 10 rebounds.

Freshman lifts Southeast
Treyvon Williams played like a freshman in name only.

In the fifth game of Saturday’s Sports Radio 1450 Shootout at the Prairie Capital Convention Center in Springfield, the 5-foot-8 Springfield Southeast freshman scored 14 of his 23 points in the fourth quarter to help the Spartans to a 73-62 victory over Class 4A state-ranked Rock Island.

Williams helped Southeast outscore the Rocks 29-15 in the fourth quarter as the freshman finished the game 12-for-14 from the foul line, including 8-for-8 in the final period.

“I thought our freshman, Treyvon Williams, was incredible for us tonight,” Southeast coach Lawrence Thomas told the Springfield State Register-Journal. “We expect that out of him — if I’m allowed to say that with him being a freshman and playing in his fifth game. We know he can handle it, and he’s got a lot of teammates that will help him through it.”

Lanphier wins ugly
Springfield Lanphier didn’t get any style points on Saturday.
It just got the win.

Playing Peoria Manual in an early-season showdown of state-ranked Class 3A teams at the Country Financial Centennial Shootout at the University of Illinois’ State Farm Center in Champaign, Lanphier got 10 points, six rebounds, three steals, two assists and a blocked shot from Scottie Wallace as No. 4 Lanphier beat No. 5 Peoria Manual 50-34.

“I realized how much of an edge the team needed from me last year that I missed out on providing,” Wallace told the State-Journal Register. “This year, I am stepping up more. I have to be a leader for the underclassmen . . . and the rest of the team.”

Wallace stepped up for Lanphier as star player and Tennessee recruit Larry Austin Jr. played sporadically due to a leg cramp. Austin Jr. still finished with a team-high 13 points.

Jared Bell can be reached at 220-6938, or Follow him on Twitter @NT_SportsJared.

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