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North Chicago shocks No. 1 Lanphier
By Marty Maciaszek | Daily Herald Staff

North Chicago sophomore Kurt Hall drives toward the basket as Lanphier seniors Chris Wallace (50) and Aaron Powers (21) attempt to deny him during the Class 3A semifinals Friday at Carver Arena. North Chicago won 74-67 and will meet Peoria Central for the championship at 2 p.m. Saturday.


Associated Press

Proviso East guard Paris Lee celebrates after the Pirates topped Rockford Auburn in Friday's Class 4A state semifinals.


Associated Press

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Published: 3/17/2012 12:57 AM

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North Chicago seemed to be on its way to a less-than-sweet repeat halfway through Friday's Class 3A boys basketball state semifinal against top-ranked Springfield Lanphier.

The Warhawks lost twice last year in Peoria to finish fourth and faced an 11-point halftime deficit against the Lions in Carver Arena in Peoria.

But a big third quarter and the final 7 points of the game led North Chicago (25-6) to a 74-67 upset victory and a chance to become Lake County's first boys basketball state champion.

The Warhawks play for the title at 2 p.m. today against Peoria Central (27-3), a 60-50 semifinal winner over Hillcrest (26-6).

"I have a veteran team and some great sophomores," said North Chicago coach and alum Gerald Coleman, whose team trailed 45-34 at intermission. "We had a talk at halftime, we talked about adjustments we had to make and that's what they did in the second half."

North Chicago career scoring leader and two-time all-stater Aaron Simpson shot just 4-for-20 from the field but was 12-for-14 on free throws to score a game-high 22 points. The Illinois State-bound Simpson also had 6 assists.

Kevante Curry had 16 points and 11 of the Warhawks' 48-35 rebound advantage. Javairius Amos-Mays had 13 points and 7 rebounds and a jumper by Kurt Hall (12 points, 16 rebounds) with 53 seconds left broke a 67-67 tie.

North Chicago shot 12-for-26 from the field in the second half after a 9-for-33 start. Lanphier (28-4) shot just 9-for-33 in the second half as Larry Austin Jr. had 19 points and all-stater Everett Clemons had 11 on 5-for-16 shooting.

Peoria Central used a 27-11 advantage in the middle quarters to advance to the title game as Aldonis Foote scored 21 points. Jalen Loving led Hillcrest with 16 points.

Class 4A

The 8:15 p.m. Saturday title matchup turned out to be the one almost everyone wanted between top-ranked and two-time defending champion Simeon and unbeaten and second-ranked Proviso East.

Simeon (32-1) overcame a fourth-quarter scare for a 45-35 semifinal win over Bloom (28-4). Proviso East (32-0) survived a sluggish start for a 55-45 semifinal win over Rockford Auburn (31-3).

Simeon, which is trying to win a state-record sixth title, trailed 15-9 early in the second quarter and led only 36-34 after a 3-pointer by Donald Moore with 2:30 left.

But unanimous all-state junior Jabari Parker (10 points), who had missed 9 of 10 shots, was fouled as he hit a jumper with 1:59 left and completed the 3-point play to make it 39-34.

Jaylon Tate had 11 points and Steve Taylor had 9 points and 13 rebounds for Simeon. Lejavius Johnson led Bloom with 18 points.

Proviso East led Auburn just 4-2 after a quarter in a game with 44 turnovers but eventually built a 44-26 lead with 4:53 to play.

Paris Burns had 14 points and Sterling Brown had 13 points and 15 rebounds for the Pirates, who are looking for their fifth title and first since 1992. Wichita State-bound all-state guard Fred Van Vleet had 18 points and 10 rebounds for Auburn.

"Obviously this wasn't our best, well-played game of the year but we gutted through it," said Proviso East coach Donnie Boyce.