Parker, Simeon advance to Class 4A finale
It was a case of too much Jabari Parker, Kendrick Nunn and Kendall Pollard for Proviso East to handle.
The Pirates stayed close to Simeon in the first Class 4A boys basketball state semifinal on Friday at Carver Arena in Peoria, but ultimately Simeon's talented trio made the difference in a 68-56 victory.
The Duke-bound Parker finished with a game-high 20 points and 15 rebounds, while Pollard had 15 points and Nunn had 14.
Simeon (29-3) got 19-for-29 shooting from its big three to earn a spot in Saturday's championship game at 8:15 p.m. The Wolverines are in pursuit of their fourth straight Class 4A title.
"We were able to exploit some of the stuff we talked about in our preparation," said Simeon coach Robert Smith. "We understood that we could possibly get to the basket on them off the press and be able to finish at the basket."
Parrish McCullum led Proviso East (19-4) with 19 points with a pair of 3s after 8-for-14 shooting from the floor, and point guard Paris Lee finished with 11 points and 10 assists.
Simeon outscored the Pirates 25-15 in the fourth quarter, and one key was limiting the turnovers that had plagued them earlier in the game.
"We went in at halftime and had 8 turnovers," Smith said. "We finished with 11 for the game. That means we took care of the ball."
The size of the 6-foot-8 Parker and his frontcourt mates Russell Woods (6-7) and Pollard (6-5) seemed to affect Proviso East more as the game wore on.
"We tried our best effort, but to beat a three-time state champion you have to almost play a perfect game," said Proviso East coach Donnie Boyce. "Their height advantage kind of slowed us down."
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