PEORIA—Hope Academy, the city’s best Class 1A team, toils in obscurity throughout the regular season. So it isn’t surprising that the Eagles weren’t ready for the big-time atmosphere on Friday at Carver Arena in the Class 1A State Semifinals.
“It was just tough for us, we were all really nervous, starstruck,” Hope Academy senior Jordan Doss said.
The Eagles lost to Effingham St. Anthony 43-34. They shot 14-for-48 from the field, 0-for-13 from three-point range and 6-for-16 from the free-throw line. All of Hope’s points came on layups or free throws, they didn’t make a jumper.
“This was our first time playing in a big arena,” Doss said. “We played at NIU but the lights weren’t as big, there wasn’t as many people. It was just a bad shooting night, it happens sometimes.”
Doss led the Eagles (28-4) with 10 points. Javion May scored seven and junior Javari McClendon added six points and nine rebounds.
St. Anthony (29-5) didn’t shoot much better. The Bulldogs were 12-for-33 from the field and 0-for-5 from three point range, they only made one jump shot.
“It was a different type game for both teams,” St. Anthony coach Cody Rincker said. “Both of us are used to scoring in the sixties and seventies. We are both good at defense. Both of us understood that if the shots weren’t going to fall early we had to get to the hoop and that’s kind of the way the game went.”
Junior Adam Levitt led the Bulldogs with 16 points and Alex Deters added 11.
Doss scored on a fast break layup with 1:36 to play, it pulled Hope Academy within one point of St. Anthony.
“I felt there was going to be a run right there but silly fouls put them at the free throw line,” Doss said. “They were really disciplined.”
The Bulldogs will play Okawville in the Class 1A state title game on Saturday. Hope Academy will face Newark in the third place game.
We’ve definitely had a fun time here, it has been a great season for us,” Eagles coach Antwon Johnson said. “Kind of disappointing with the loss, but our kids have been so resilient all year. We will be prepared and we will play better, we will give a better show tomorrow. I can guarantee that.”Tags: hope academy, st. anthony