DECATUR — When Amir Brummett hit his third 25-footer of the first quarter to give MacArthur an eight-point lead, the Generals looked headed for another of the type of upsets the Brummett twins have made MacArthur known for.
Brummett had 14 in the first quarter, but top-seeded Springfield Southeast weathered the onslaught. The Spartans avoided the turnovers that plagued them in their loss to the Generals in the teams' previous matchup and used a deep bench and advantage in the post to dominate the game. Southeast ended MacArthur's season with a 94-81 win in the finals of the Class 3A Decatur (MacArthur) Regional on Friday.
"They made a run and we couldn't answer it," said Amir, who finished with 39 points in his final game.
The Brummetts, seniors Amir and Armon, both scored more than 1,000 points in their careers at MacArthur and helped lead upsets against No. 1-ranked Springfield Lanphier last year — the Lions went on to make state — and this year against Central State 8 football powerhouse Springfield Sacred Heart-Griffin and then-No. 1-ranked Southeast in basketball on Feb. 18.
Both are headed off to play at the NCAA Division I level in college — Amir is playing football at Northern Illinois and Armon basketball at Bradley.
When taken out of the game by MacArthur coach Ron Ingram with 2:22 left, both hugged their coaches and teammates, and received an ovation from the fans and even opposing coach Lawrence Thomas of Springfield Southeast.
"I just kept thinking that I won't ever be playing basketball again — tonight was the last time I'll ever suit up for a basketball game," Amir said. "That's emotional for me. I've been playing basketball since I was 6 or 7 years old."
Thomas gave both Brummetts a hug and a talk after the game.
"Those two kids — I love them to death," Thomas said. "They are such competitors. They can play for me any day."
Thomas said he was never concerned when Amir Brummett was going on his run of 3-pointers. He knocked down three in the first quarter and seven in the game.
"There's no defense that would have prevented that," Thomas said. "Those were just some awesome shots."
In fact, as breathtaking as Amir's shooting performance was in the first quarter, Ingram said he was concerned about MacArthur's ability to sustain an offense based on long 3-pointers.
"We wanted to get off to a start like that, but not in the way we did," Ingram said. "Shooting that deep and making those shots ... that's 70 percent luck. That's not part of the game plan. It's great when they're going in, but it's not something you can do consistently."
Southeast point guard Terrion Murdix missed Southeast's previous game with MacArthur — a 74-65 Generals win — and his presence helped the Spartans carve up a MacArthur defense that had 14 steals in the upset win.
With MacArthur (20-10) gambling on the perimeter, Southeast found 6-7 Michael Tyler and, off the bench, 6-4 forward Michael Hayes for easy baskets in the post.
"Michael (Tyler) was right where he was supposed to be — just hanging around the basket," Thomas said. "We know MacArthur likes to shoot the passing lanes and go for the steals, so we told him to just stay under the basket and our kids did a great job at finding him."
Tyler finished with 22 to lead Southeast, with Anthony Fairlee adding 17 and Murdix scoring 10. Off the bench, Deon Mathews had 12, Hayes had 8 and Damon Davis had 8.
"That was part of the game plan," Tyler said. "Everyone on the team, when the lights are brighter, we all step up more. Our coaches told us all year when it came to the postseason, our bench was going to have to step up. That's what it's been doing the second half of the year."
There were great wins with the Brummetts on the floor for the Generals, and the twins rank with St. Teresa grad Christian Williams as the most exciting basketball players Decatur has seen in a decade.
But there were no regional titles for MacArthur in the Brummetts' final three seasons, and there were times Amir and Armon butted heads with Ingram. Still, Ingram admitted it wasn't easy to fight back the tears when he took them off the floor for the final time.
"Seeing them getting emotional out there — it was hard," Ingram said. "Those guys won a lot of games here and we've been through a lot together," Ingram said. "There were ups and downs, but a lot more ups than downs. I love those guys."
Southeast (25-3) will play Mahomet-Seymour at 7 p.m. on Wednesday at the Decatur (Eisenhower) Sectional semifinals. In the other semifinal, at 7 p.m. on Tuesday, Springfield Lanphier will play Champaign Central.