Lucas Williamson, Justin Boyd lead Young to Class 4A state title

Young storms the court after coming back in overtime to win the Class 4A State championship at Carver Arena in Peoria IL, Worsom Robinson/ For the Sun-Times.

PEORIA—Young’s Lucas Williamson was never a huge high school basketball star, never a phenom. But he started his career as a state champion and Saturday at Carver Arena he ended it the exact same way.

Williamson hugged his family and then ran to grab his state championship trophy with his teammates. Goal achieved.

The senior made five three-pointers and scored 19 points to lead Young to a 60-50 win against Simeon in the Class 4A state championship game.

“I just wanted to win so bad, that’s all it was,” Williamson, who was also on Young’s 2014 championship team, said.

Williamson was 5 for 6 from three-point range. His teammate Justin Boyd was 5 for 10 and scored 17 points.

“Williamson knew what it took to win a title,” Young coach Tyrone Slaughter said. “He was big time today. All he does is win.”

The Wolverines’ used a zone defense to beat the Dolphins in two games earlier this season, so they knew what was coming.

“They haven’t played a minute of man against us in five games,” Slaughter said. “I understand that. Today we did what we have not been able to do, we made shots.”

It’s the fourth state title for the Dolphins, who also won in 1998, 2009 and 2014.

Simeon (30-4) led 29-22 at the break. Young (27-7) rallied to tie it 34 midway through the third quarter. Williamson’s three-pointer gave the Dolphins a 43-42 leading heading into the fourth.

Simeon managed just one field goal in the final 11 minutes. That was a post bucket from Messiah Jones with 1:35 to play in regulation that tied the game at 50. It was the last points for either team in regulation.

The Dolphins dominated the overtime, outscoring Simeon 10-0.

“The one thing these guys have done all year is play defense,” Slaughter said. “It’s just amazing that we were able to stay with a great team like Simeon. Defense is something we have hung our hat on all year.”

Young became a serious state title contender when Seton transfer Javon Freeman elevated his game midway through the season.

“He fit right in,” Dolphins senior Craig Beaudoin said. “Once he came in we knew what we could do. Coach Slaughter said when Javon came in that we were a state championship team.”

Freeman was free to transfer after Seton closed last year. He initially decided to go to DePaul Prep, then settled on Young.

“I definitely made a good decision,” Freeman said. “Today is proof.”

Evan Gilyard led Simeon with 16 points and Talen Horton-Tucker scored 13.

“I tip my hat off to Young, they played an excellent game,” Simeon coach Robert Smith said. “They made shots today. They did a great job defensively on us. The first two times we beat them our bigs controlled the backboard and the game. They kind of took that away from us.”

Young out rebounded Simeon 36-29. Point guard Xavier Castaneda scored eight points for the Dolphins and Freeman finished with five points, six rebounds and three assists.

“All the polls are fake news,” Slaughter said. “No one picked us to win.”

Morgan Park won Class 3A earlier in the day and Orr captured the Class 2A title last week. This is the first time the Public League has won three state titles in one season.

Former Simeon star and current Milwaukee Bucks player Jabari Parker watched the game courtside. He’s currently rehabbing from a season-ending knee injury. Parker won four state titles in his time at Simeon.

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11 comments

  • Whitney young student

    We are the best

  • Leegs1

    Mikey and Joe: thank you for all the hard work and entertainment this season. Relax and rest up. Wish you both good health. Again, thanks.

  • Rick P

    Couldn’t agree more with Spartan Nation! I respect Robert Smith’s 6 state titles, but the truth is his X’s and O’s strategy is sub par. He won with two of the best Illinois high school players of all time along with numerous other D1 talent around them. It’s sad when Cameron Smith says Robert Smith is the greatest Illinois High School Basketball Coach of all time. I know championship solidify people’s legacy but that shouldn’t be the end all be all. Look, Coach Smith plays a box and 1! Are you serious coach?! That’s just being lazy! There is a reason why you haven’t won a title since 2013!! You are allowing players to take open shots! Anyone can make an open shot! Ask any coach except Rob Smith!!! There is no excuse his team shouldn’t have crushed Normal Community in 2015 but again they don’t guard anyone! Again last year he goes Box and 1 against an above average Benet team and look they hit shots!!! Then, he acts like a mad genius by going either triangle and 2 or extended/trapping 2-3!!! But again, kids get wide open shots!! Are you intentionally trying to be Jim Boeheim?!!! You thought this years run, Rob Smith would have learned to play some man; however, you got lazy!!! You have the best athletes/talent in the state!!! Teach them some man! You have to guard people if you want to win the big games! Boeheim’s only title came at the expense of Melo’s unbelievable tournament performance which correlates to his runs with Rose and Parker!!! When you don’t have the big time national recruit you have to teach your kids the basics of guarding people! I understand you beat WY twice this year with your zone/gimmicky Defenses, but as Tyrone said it came down to hitting shots!!!

    • Chasitie

      Whoever you are my dad is a fabulous coach as you can see he manages a team like he’s suppose to ! If you didn’t know many colleges wants him to coach there ! Also another thing watch what you say on the internet you never know who’s watching ! And for you to say that about my father oh man I would like to kill you right about now ! I don’t play about my father I know my father is a good coach he knows what he needs to do to get these young boys off the streets unlike some coaches ! So shut up because you don’t know what my father has to go through you’re just a dumb fan who watches ! After you get all your facts together you can come back and talk about him ! Because my father has great players it’s just their responsibility to be hungry for it and to want it all he can do is coach he can’t make them do anything! And so I want you to watch us next year cause I will be telling the players to eat on that court like they’ve never ate before and watch we will be back and we gone come back stronger ! Trust me it’s just a minor setback for a major comeback ! Bye

  • Spartan Nation

    Congratulations to Whitney Young! Robert Smith still can’t win a championship without Jabari Parker or Derrick Rose when he has the better talent. He should’ve came out of that zone a longggg time ago.

  • Lee

    ? Is how should these final rankings go…. simeon lost but beat 3a and 4a MP and Whitney Young twice…. would they have beaten Bolingbrook again? Could Bolingbrook beat beat MP and Whitney Young!!!!!!!! What team is really overall #1…WOW. CHICAGO BASKETBALL!!!! What a great year and hats off to everyone…… with so much young talent can’t wait till next year…….peace, love, and respect !!!!!!!!!!! Lee,juswatchin,jason signing off..1 Love

  • Lee

    That’s what i say about MP cake walk to the ship!! Not hating… you get yours by any means necessary… Make that jump to 4a though

  • Duke Carnoustie

    If you look back at Michael O’Brien’s state finals preview, you will see the following comment by yours truly. And I quote:

    “I hate to say it but we have seen this script before. The two best teams are Simeon and Bolingbrook. Unfortunately, they meet in a semifinal. Meanwhile, Young will smash a Fremd team that is luckier than good. The Dolphins will be well rested and win it all after a cakewalk in the semifinals on cruise control.

    You heard it here first from the Duke!”

    Ty Slaughter said no one picked Young to win. Well he didn’t know about the Duke. Credit the Duke for picking the 4A final correct!

    The true winners tonight are the state of Illinois for these fine Young men and the Duke!

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