Normal West - 2018 Champions

Normal West - 2018 Champions

Normal West High School got the revenge it was looking for.

After being embarrassed by Lanphier in last year’s championship game of the Pekin Holiday Boys Basketball Tournament, the Wildcats turned the tables and beat the Lions 52-48 Friday while handing Lanphier its first loss of the season.

Lanphier dominated Normal West 64-19 in the title game last season.

In this year’s closing minute, Normal West had a 46-42 lead until Lanphier’s Cardell McGee made two free throws, stole the ball on the Wildcats’ next possession and made a layup to tie the game at 46.

But the Wildcats’ Francis Okoro, who was named the MVP of the tournament, drained two free throws with 37 seconds remaining and Normal West didn’t relinquish the lead. Drew Wollenschlager and Shea Cupples each went 1-for-2 at the line to extend the lead to 50-46 with :24 left.

Lanphier’s final points came on a James Jones layup with 7.9 remaining before Okoro made two more free throws to seal the win. Okoro was just 7-for-13 from the line, but went 4-for-4 in the final minute. He finished with 19 points and 14 rebounds and played all 32 minutes. Wollenschlager scored 13 points and Cupples finished with 11 for Normal West, which won its ninth straight game.

Normal West (10-2) led Lanphier 13-7 after one period and 23-17 at the half. The Lions shot just 25.9 percent (7-for-27) from the field in the first half.

Lanphier, ranked No. 3 in the Class 3A Associated Press Poll, trailed 31-19 in the third period. The Lions then answered with a 15-2 run to take a 34-33 lead. But the Wildcats maintained their composure in the final quarter to close it out.

McGee, who was an all-tournament pick and battled the flu all week, finished with 13 points on 4-for-17 shooting and grabbed eight rebounds. Jones added 11 points and six rebounds and Larry Hemingway made two 3s and scored nine for the Lions.

Lanphier finished 16-for-54 (.296) from the floor and dropped to 11-1.

FROM STAFF AT THE STATE-JOURNAL REGISTER
Original Article: http://www.sj-r.com/sports/20171230/normal-west-tops-lanphier-for-pekin-tourney-title