High School Elite PEP Recap
By Frank Rusnak
It was the game of the year in the championship of the Second Annual High School Elite PEP Fall Classic at North Park University. With the Illinois Warriors defeating the defending champion Chicago Demons in the semifinals and the Illinois Fire overcoming the Illinois Wolverines, the championship matchup was what everyone was hoping for.
Pitting two famed programs against each other, it was the Warriors Vs. the Fire, Nike Vs. Adidas, Dockery Vs. Brown (Shannon). With the Fire's Melvin Buckley (Thornwood) and Justin Williams (Thornwood) both having formerly played with the Warriors and Warrior Aaron Spears (Dunbar) suiting up for the Fire last summer, it was a highly contested battle coming out of the gates with many matchups within the game.
In a neck and neck battle throughout, the Warriors went into half-time up 37-33. With 2:00 left in the game, behind 6'8" Marcus Arnold (Morgan Park) the Fire took the lead for the first time since the beginning of the game. Finishing with 23 points on a variety of post moves and 15-footers, the Warriors did not have an answer for Arnold.
Down three points with under a minute to go, the Warriors Colin Falls (Loyola) and Charles Richardson (Proviso East) both attempted 3-point tries that rimmed out. With the Fire grabbing the rebound they put the ball into the hands of the man that led them from the beginning of the tournament, tournament MVP Sean Dockery (Julian).
Dockery iced the game at the charity stripe, leading the Fire to the championship by a final score of 62-60.
Among the highlighting plays of the tournament were in one semifinal game when the Warriors missed a shot attempt, which was followed by the Warriors' Mike Hall (Shepard) snatching the ball out of the hands of the Demons' Benyamin Robinson (DuSable), spinning baseline, cocking the ball back to his neck and ferociously throwing the ball threw the rim with two hands.
In the first round of the loser's bracket Peoria AAU was matched up against the Sandburg Eagles. With Peoria bringing the ball down, Sandburg's 6'6" junior Mike Applegate was oblivious to what was about to happen to him. Peoria AAU's Brian Randle (Peoria Notre Dame) made eye-contact with his point guard all the while running up the side of the court. With a perfectly placed lob near the basket, Randle came swooping through the air to corral the ball and dunk on Applegate, with his knees nearly reaching his head. Randle received a technical foul on the play for taunting Applegate after the dunk, as he ruffled his air on his way back down the court.
When High School Elite faced off against West Aurora in the second round on Saturday afternoon, it was a highly contested battle that eventually went into overtime. Throughout the game, High School Elite's Dee Brown (Proviso East) put on a clinic of how to put the ball in the hoop in a variety of ways. In the course of finishing with a tournament high for a single game point total, Brown lead the team on the break, penetrated to find the open men and finished with a total of six 3-point baskets. Before fouling out before overtime, Brown finished with 29 points before High School Elite's other players stepped up their play in the absence of Brown to finish with the victory.
In all, this event featured 17 of the state's top 30 seniors and 10 of the top 15 juniors. Definitely another success!
6'0" David Harper 20.3ppg Wolfpack
6'1" Luke Rogers 15.3ppg Demons Gold
6'6" Elliott Poole 16.7ppg Admirals
6'7" Robert Faulkner 17.7ppg Peoria AAU
6'7" Brian Randle 16.8ppg Peoria AAU
5'8" Charles Richardson 3ppg Illinois Warriors
5'10" Al Stewart 20.6ppg Wolfpack
6'3" Richard McBride 15.5ppg Peoria AAU
6'6" Florentino Valencia 18.7ppg Demons Blue
6'7" Melvin Buckley 16.7ppg Illinois Fire
5'11" Jerod Haynes 11.7ppg High School Elite
6'2" Jaeh Thomas 9.4ppg Illinois Fire
6'4" Joe Chapman 11ppg Illinois Wolverines
6'7" Kellen Easley 13.7ppg RBS All-Stars
6'7" Brandon Cole 13.7ppg Illinois Wolverines
5'11" Greg Zimny 14.5ppg Central Hoyas
6'0" Antonio Poole 16ppg Central Hoyas
6'3" Adam Dauksas 8ppg Illinois Wolverines
6'5" Maurice Smith 9ppg High School Elite
6'5" Dameon Mason 18.5ppg Blackhawks
5'10" Branden Dillard 13.6ppg RBS All-Stars
6'1" Jason Smith 12ppg Admirals
6'1" Andre White ppg Illinois Fire
6'4" Pierre Thomas 7ppg High School Elite
6'10" Ousmane Barro 12ppg Downstate Warriors
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