Peoria Central's Shaun Livingston led the Lions to back-to-back Class AA state titles on Saturday.
Central does it again
By Frank Rusnak
Behind Shaun Livingston's 27 points and nine rebounds Saturday night, Peoria Central won its second Class AA state title in as many years.
"This is sweet; just to end my career like this"
The 53-47 win over Homewood-Flossmoor ends the career of Livingston, who has made his mark along with such players as Quinn Buckner, Kevin Garnett and Sergio McClain as one of the greatest high school players in Illinois.
"This is sweet; just to end my career like this," said Livingston after the game. "All the pressure I had to face, I just have to thank all my teammates."
In the championship game last season against Thornwood, Livingston hit a swooping game-winning lay-up with four seconds remaining. This year he provided no last minute heroics, but they weren't needed.
Homewood-Flossmoor got within three points, 49-46, with 1:18 left. But the Lions pulled away from there, thanks in large part to Livingston.
"Our kids played great tonight; Shaun Livingston, Brandon Lee, Jacob Motteler, everyone," said Central coach Chuck Buescher, who is now contemplating retirement.
If Buescher left after this season, it would be the same type of departure his star, Livingston, will have: going out on top.
Livingston, a 6'7" point guard ranked as the nation's top point guard, was not your typical high school star that dominated from his first day as a freshman.
He began high school at Peoria Richwoods where he suffered through two injury-riddled seasons before transferring.
The summer going into his junior year, Livingston jumped back on the national stage where he was, surprisingly, in his pre-prep years as a basketball prodigy.
Livingston went on to average 15 points and eight rebounds for a 31-1 team his junior year. This season, he averaged 18 points, six rebounds and six assists.
His team finished 31-2, with its only losses coming to Indianapolis Pike and West Aurora.
Now, Livingston has a pair of all-star games to look forward to in the EA Roundball Classic (March 24 in Chicago) and the McDonald's All-American Game (March 31 in Oklahoma).
From now until the completion of those all-star games, Livingston will have possibly the biggest decision of his life coming.
He has already committed to Duke, but many scouts say he could be picked in the NBA Lottery if he bypassed college.
While the spotlight has been on Livingston since his pre-teen years, don't expect anything to change.
Ninety-eight days and counting; Will David Stern call Livingston's name or will Mike Krzyzewski be yelling it from the sidelines?
Class AA Elite Eight Leaders
|78 (26 ppg) Carbondale's Justin Dentmon||23 (7.6 rpg) Peoria Central's Shaun Livingston||10 (3.3 apg) Peoria Central's Shaun Livingston|
|54 (18 ppg) Peoria Central's Shaun Livingston||23 (7.6 rpg) West Aurora's Shaun Pruitt||9 (3 apg) Peoria Central's Jacob Motteler|
|50 (16.6 ppg) West Aurora's Shaun Pruitt||18 (6 rpg) Homewood-F.'s Julian Wright||7 (2.3 apg) West Aurora's Justin Cerasoli|
|41 (13.6 ppg) Peoria Central's Brandon Lee||13 (4.3 rpg) Peoria Central's Brandon Lee||6 (2 apg) Homewood-F.'s Julian Wright|
|39 (13 ppg) Homewood-F.'s Julian Wright||13 (4.3 rpg) Homewood-F.'s Cyrus Tate||6 (2 apg) Homewood-F.'s Brian Nussbaum|
|36 (12 ppg) West Aurora's Jaeh Thomas||13 (4.3 rpg) Carbondale's Tommy Holder|
|33 (11 ppg) Homewood-F.'s Excell Hardy||13 (4.3 rpg) Carbondale's Michael DeWalt|
|32 (10.6 ppg) Homewood-F.'s Cyrus Tate|
|25 (8.3 ppg) West Aurora's Travis Marion|
|21 (7 ppg) Homewood-F.'s Brian Nussbaum|
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