DECATUR — Forty-five years ago, Eisenhower and MacArthur met in the finals of the Decatur Turkey Tournament and that was the last time two Decatur teams have battled for the title.
Decatur will have to wait at least another year to see that inter-city grudge match. Although Eisenhower advanced to the championship game, beating Champaign Central 67-58, MacArthur fell to defending champions Bolingbrook 89-67.
Eisenhower will face Bolingbrook in the championship game for the second straight year. Bolingbrook beat Eisenhower 69-42 last year.
It wasn't looking good for the the Panthers early against Central. The Panthers fell behind 21-15 at the end of the first quarter and were down eight after a nine-point second quarter.
Eisenhower coach Rodney Walker attributed the poor play to a little post-holiday rust.
"I think it was the turkey and the dressing and all that good old soul food that slowed us down a little bit and it took a second for it to wear off," Walker said. "And once they got to going I knew that we would eventually get back into the game with the way we play. I got on them a little bit at halftime. I had to play mom and dad on them. I had to get on them a little bit and wake them up and they responded."
Senior forward Yansyn Taylor said the team needed to be more energetic in the second half.
"Coach told us at halftime that we had to pick it up and bring some momentum on the court. We’ve got to play with energy," he said. "If we didn’t find our energy we are going to lose. We knew that Central is a tough team and so we had a point to prove."
The Panthers were clearly listening at halftime. They came out firing from 3-point range in the third quarter and clawed all the way back to grab the lead, 46-44, at the end of the quarter.
Behind a balanced scoring attack from Quylan Young (15 points), Taylor (13) and Keon Jones (12), the Panthers continued to pull away.
"I’m particularly happy with Quylan and Yansyn trying to stay out of foul trouble," Walker said. "Also our second unit, R.J. Walker knocking down big shots and Cameron Rowe our sophomore point guard played some big minutes when Quylan went out so I am particularly proud of Cameron."
R. J. Walker had eight points and Rowe added nine in the victory.
Walker said Eisenhower will be tested on Saturday by Bolingbrook.
"We’ve been here before and Bolingbrook is a tough team. But if we come out here and do what we are supposed to do we can win," Walker said. "This group has been in some good games and they know what to do. We've got to match their energy and let it fall right there."
Bolingbrook 89, MacArthur 67
The referees were put to the test in Friday's final game, as Bolingbrook and MacArthur met in a physical battle that saw a total of 46 personal fouls called.
Twenty-nine of those went against MacArthur, which severely limited the Generals' ability to get the offense moving effectively.
For MacArthur coach Ron Ingram, the foul differential was too much to overcome.
"Our emotions are so high right now. There were a lot of fouls called for us. (Bolingbrook) didn’t get a lot of fouls at all," Ingram said. "They played more aggressively than we did but we got more fouls than they did. Every little touch was a foul, we would get a rebound there would be a foul. That’s why our boys are frustrated right now. It’s frustrating to lose a basketball game but at the same time those fouls were so uneven out there."
Guard Tyler Cochran led Bolingbrook with 20 points but it was the tough inside play of center Joey Saracco that MacArthur didn't have an answer for. He had 14 points and 12 rebounds.
"We knew it was going to be a physical game coming out of last year. They are a great team, the Brummett twins, everybody has been hyping them up," Saracco said. "They are great players, two sport athletes, and we knew we were going to have to bang them tonight and we got it done."
Amir Brummett led the Generals with 20 points and Armon Brummett scored 17 points. No other player scored more than six points for MacArthur.
Following the loss, Amir Brummett tweeted that he was leaving the team.
"I have decided to not play basketball anymore. It's causing a lot of mental issues within myself and I'm going through things in life that is way bigger than basketball," he tweeted.
Harvey-Thornton 91, Mount Zion 61
Mount Zion's Jonah Smith led all scorers with 26 points but it was not enough as the Braves fell to Harvey Thornton.
The Wildcats featured a balanced scoring attack with four players scoring 15 or more points.
Ari Brown led with 18 and Mario Brown Jr. added 17 points. Keeshawn Collins and QuShawn Wells each scored 15 points.
Mount Zion couldn't find an answer for Harvey Thornton's offense in the second quarter as the Braves were outscored 33-15.
The Braves were down by 23 points at the half, 50-27, which proved to be too much to make up in the second.
Mount Zion will play Peoria on Saturday in the consolation third place game.
Springfield Southeast 77, Peoria 38
Springfield Southeast quickly got out in front of Peoria and never looked back.
Led by Kobe Medley's 19 points, Anthony Fairlee added 17 points of his own as the Spartans didn't take their foot off of the scoring accelerator until the fourth quarter.
Southeast led 37-19 at the half and then erupted for 30 points in the third quarter to put the game out of reach for the Lions.