PEORIA — Randy Smithpeters’ wait is over.
Harrisburg’s successful coach of 20 years has earned the state’s highest honor as the Bulldogs won the Class 2A state championship by edging Seton Academy of South Holland 50-44 on Saturday night at Carver Arena.
In four previous state appearances under Smithpeters, Harrisburg had gone 1-4.
But with this year’s 33-1 record, Smithpeters’ overall record at Harrisburg improves to 389-208.
Six-foot-4 senior guard Tyler Smithpeters led the way in the title game with a game-best 23 points on 5-for-10 shooting from the field and 12-for-16 from the foul line. Senior guard Capel Henshaw had 13 points for the Bulldogs, who made 24 of 31 free throws.
Harrisburg trailed by 1 point at the half but outscored Seton Academy in both the third and fourth quarters.
Kamal Shasi led the Sting with 9 points. Senior guard Mark Weems, Jr. (7 points) was held well below his 17-point average. He didn't play in the second half after being ejected for making contact with an official on the heels of being called for a technical foul for unsportsmanlike conduct.
The IHSA released a statement late Saturday saying it was disappointed by the behavior of both Harrisburg and Seton Academy in the game.
“I am embarrassed by what took place here tonight,” IHSA Executive Director Marty Hickman said in the statement. “Interscholastic athletics are designed to teach young people important lessons about life."
Seton Academy (22-11), which finished fourth in Class 2A the previous year, was 6-for-17 at the foul line.
Third place: Dalton Menke scored 17 points and Matt Reinke had 13, leading Winnebago to a 67-54 victory over St. Joseph-Ogden in the third-place game of the Class 2A boys basketball state tournament.
Jacoby Posley added 12 points for the Indians (33-1), whose only loss this season was to Seton Academy in Friday’s semifinal.
Winnebago trailed only once in the game — early in the first quarter — and led by 10 at halftime.
Junior Brent Schluter had 22 points for the Spartans (29-5), who hit just 2-of-15 3-pointers and shot 43 percent overall. Nate Michael added 10 points and Louis Acklin 11 for St. Joseph-Ogden.
Winnebago shot 56 percent from the field, making half of their 14 shots from behind the 3-point arc. Menke and Taylor Shumate (9 points) both made three 3-pointers.
The third-place finish is an improvement on the previous season’s fourth-place effort under coach Joe Murphy. The Indians were state runners-up in 2004 and 2005 under Murphy.
Championship: Jared Entwhistle scored 16 points and Jordan Bradshaw added 14 points and 12 rebounds to lead a balanced scoring attack as Mason City Illini Central beat Madison 55-44 in the Class 1A state title game.
Entwhistle didn’t hit his first field goal until the fourth quarter. But he made 11 of 16 free throws to pace the Cougars (27-6). Illini Central’s Justin Onken chipped in 8, Duncan McClure 8 and Connor Martin 7.
The Cougars took control with a 28-12 run in the fourth quarter.
Marquis Borney scored 24 and grabbed 10 rebounds and Carvel Dixon chipped in 10 rebounds to lead the Trojans (22-12).
Third place: Evan Huber hit a jumper in the lane with four seconds left to lift Nokomis past Lanark Eastland 44-42 in the third-place Class 1A game.
Eastland’s Dalton Shaner scored 29 points, including five 3-pointers. His 3-pointer with 25 seconds remaining had tied the game at 42.
The Redskins called timeout and ran the clock to the final seconds before Tyler Herpstreit found Huber for the game winner.
Nokomis (25-10), led by 16 points and 6 rebounds from Devon Wright and 10 points from Austin Chausse, didn’t lead in the game until a free throw by Wright put them ahead 34-33 midway through the fourth quarter.
Eastland (30-5) had no other player score more than 4 points.Copyright © 2013 Paddock Publications, Inc. All rights reserved.