Curie’s dream season spoiled by defending champ Belleville West

Curie's Ramean Hinton (23), Trevon Hamilton (5) and Justin Harmon (24) comfort each other during their loss to Belleville West's, Friday 03-15-19. Worsom Robinson/For the Sun-Times
Curie's Ramean Hinton (23), Trevon Hamilton (5) and Justin Harmon (24) comfort each other during their loss to Belleville West's, Friday 03-15-19. Worsom Robinson/For the Sun-Times

PEORIA — Ramean Hinton sat down next to DaJuan Gordon on the Curie bench and put his arm around his friend. He gave Gordon a towel to hide the raw emotion that had welled up in his eyes.

There were still four minutes left in the game, but the Condors’ state-title dreams were over. Gordon had fouled out, as had fellow senior Justin Harmon. There was nothing left for Hinton to do but console the leaders who took Curie further than anyone in Chicago — even their coach — ever imagined in November.

Defending Class 4A champion Belleville West was just too big and too strong. The Maroons walloped the Condors 70-48 in the state semifinals Friday at Carver Arena.

“I was telling them to keep their heads up,” Hinton said. “We played hard and did what we could do. They just had more heart than us.”

Ohio State recruit EJ Liddell finished with 14 points, 11 rebounds and five assists for Belleville West. He also blocked four shots, but his presence in the post altered closer to a dozen Curie shots.

“They are really aggressive,” Liddell said. “They are a really good team, but we just came out and played.”


This slideshow requires JavaScript.

This was supposed to be the best game of the weekend: the defending state champion against the top-ranked team that was undefeated against Illinois competition. That never really materialized. The first quarter was a defensive slog.

“When you don’t play against EJ every day, you go in that lane like you normally do, and it is an eye-opening experience for a lot of people,” Maroons coach Joe Muniz said.

Belleville West (33-4) started attacking the Condors (34-2) in the post in the second quarter and built a double-digit lead it would have for nearly the rest of the game.

Hinton and Gordon each scored 10 points, but Curie, which relied on the three-point shot all season, shot only 6-for-27 from behind the arc.

“Their bulk bothered us; they were big,” Condors coach Mike Oliver said. “It was hard to get around them, and they wore us down. I think that is why our jump shots were short.”

The Maroons outrebounded Curie 44-29 and feasted on second-chance points.

“[Curie] is a very athletic team,” Liddell said. “We had to box out. We just focused on rebounds.”

Keith Randolph, a 6-5, 250-pound senior, had 19 points and six rebounds for Belleville West. Jaylin Mosby added 14 points and Lawrence Brazil III nine for the Maroons, who had assists on 17 of their 26 baskets.

“That’s a high percentage for us,” Muniz said. “We’ve had some games where we didn’t assist on a whole lot of baskets. We are playing our best basketball of the year right now.”

Curie will play Rockford East in the third-place game Saturday.

“If you would have told us [in November] that we’d be down here March 15, I would have looked at you sideways,” Oliver said. “These guys had a heck of a season.”

Belleville West will face Evanston on Saturday in an effort to make it back-to-back titles.

“If [Evanston plays like it did against Rockford East], wow,” Muniz said. “They are really good. I don’t know if I’ve seen a shooter like [Evanston sophomore Blake Peters]. It is going to be another tough matchup for us, but it will be a tough matchup for them, too.”

Tags: ,


  • BRAD

    Good win BW. Played hard on both sides. Curie burnt out after that Simeon game. Beating the Wolverines 3x is no easy task and usually unless its in the title game you’re gonna lose the next one.

  • Will Bradford

    Belleville West is an incredible team. Even stronger than last year’s team that won it all. Winning back-to-back titles like they have done is so impressive. Certainly one of the best teams in Illinois history. Congratuations on winning to Belleville West from this hoops fan.

    As Chicagoans, it hurts to see our teams lose but it’s cyclical and the teams elsewhere are better for now. Hopefully we can develop more talent and get back to the kind of dominance that made the rest of the state once fear us. For now, we can only congratulate St. Louis.

  • Sammy

    BW was too big and too strong for Curie. Outside of Bogan, the inside game and size was the weakness of CPS teams. Thats why York did so well against WY. Gordon didn’t play like a POY throughout the state playoffs. He’s just a piece, not a lead who can put up big numbers. % year stop your sour grapes. CPS has won 2 classes and will get 2nd and 3rd in the others. They also whipped your pirates butt. You guys lost to Lane (no transfers). Pipe down old man.

  • Rick

    You live with the results……….. BW beat Currie —- move on

  • Norm

    If this game was a month ago when BW was struggling a little and Curie was peaking it would have been a different result. But Curie barely got downstate while BW is back at a high level. Timing is everything

  • Marvin

    This make simeon really you look good now lost to belleville west by 1 in they own backyard curie lost by 22 and look overmatched to me belleville west was the better team tonight

  • Marvin Hall

    The problem im having how could you lose by 22 and beat simeon 3 times simeon lost by just 1 point to belleville west but the better team won tonight

  • Ron Strong

    Every good team has an off night, It’s too bad that this was an off night for Curie, This is a great team that on a different night, could have fared better against this really good team. In the meantime, GO Wildkits!!!!!!!! Evanston will win tonight!!!!!!

  • Dave

    Tim…you’re pulling the race card with refs when West absolutely pounded Curie? As a Belleville southern Illinois guy you’ve got to be kidding! I know everyone thinks we’re nothing down south but the Southwestern conference is getting ready to sweep 3A and 4A. I wouldn’t expect Chicago can deal with that.

  • Black

    Bellville West was the bigger stronger team, period. Those players have college ready , grown men bodies. They are a very good dominant team. Extremely poised and unselfish. I had them to repeat, every since the title game last season. Hard to stop guys with size, skill, quickness, smarts. One last point, the size of the court plays a huge roll as well, high school floors are not as big, fatigue played a roll as well. Two guys over 230 lbs leaning on you, and a big court is hard to overcome. Great season Curie, finish strong.

  • Ken Chmiel

    There is allways an excuse for failure.

  • DrK

    The refs didn’t lose the Curie game. Never a factor. Curie lost because of poor shooting and bad defense. If they had applied the same pressure defense to Belleville as they did to The end of the Simeon game and better shooting maybe a closer score. Also Belleville was bigger and stronger underneath. Too big. But I will agree, no Black refs no city refs. Why? And also how come we never are entertained by any CPS bands. Julian has an outstanding band. Very entertaining. I’ve been coming down here since they left Champagne and have never seen a Black school band. Why?
    Just asking.

  • Tim

    Add Curie to the list of CPS teams, starting with DuSable in the 1950’s, that gets jobbed by downstate officiating. No chicago refs in the crews this weekend and only two black ones…..A shame that this still goes on in the year 2019.

    • Bmax

      Wasn’t ref fault,Curie choked

    • Paul

      They got smoked. Just move on. The better team won. How was it the refs fault when they lost by 22 points.

    • Steve

      If anything curie got the benefit of the officials. They held and hacked all game. Belleville was bigger at every position and they couldnt deal with that. Curie also flopped a lot and drew at least three questionable offensive fouls by doing so. On defense lidells blocks were clean. His four blocks were probably closer to 7 or 8.

    • ShawnJ

      Apparently someone didn’t actually watch the game. If they had, then they would know that the Belleville West team was also a Black team. The transfer problem aside, the Chicago Public League always has great teams and they are great for Illinois high school basketball. On the other hand, one shouldn’t be so arrogant as to assume that anytime a CPS team loses to a non CPS team that it’s due to the officiating. Sometimes the other team is just better, as was the case in this game.

    • 50 year alum

      Earlier this year someone wrote a comment how Whitney Young got robbed by Chicago referees last year this time you write about no Chicago refs which is it more bitching about your beloved public league. Did you want the cheating refs from the Proviso West sectional? What happened last night was BellviewWest didn’t take any crap from Curie and kept their composure and just kicked their asses. Too bad CPS went 0-2 to blame refs for a 22 point loss is the words of a sore loser. Curie not as good as everyone thought when they played someone better than them they got pounded. All the comments about overrated public league and underrated downstate teams were untrue. Or maybe they just didn’t have enough transfers like Orr. Glad to see Curie get beat they played a dirty game trying to play against BW hard fouls dirty looks when they saw they could not intimidate BW they just went into a shell Good for you BW hope you repeat tonite

      • Earl

        Still talking about transfers….smh

        “I love high level basketball and will admit it public league BB is great no whining about transfers or bad calls even though there were a few. ”

        “So with all my bitching all year about transfers I will say that No more complaining just great HS BB”

        “…so I will not make any more comments about transfers the rest of the year.”

  • Steve

    Off topic but the referees in this game made several questionable calls. Curie fouled a lot. After it was 6-1 in the second half the curie coach and assistants and fans complained. 5 fouls later where im not sure even 1 was a foul and it was 6-6. Belleville was bigger. Curie was out of oosition and flopped a lot.

    How does the ihsa determine officials? And why arent the guys who reffed the 3a dekalb supersectional reffing the finals? Head and shoulders above every other crew ive witnessed this year.

    • Wscfantoo

      Curie also flopped in the sectional. Twice when a guard was driven past, a guard-don’t recall if it was the same guard-throws his head back like he got elbowed violently. Same ref fell for it. That said, curie was extremely athletic and balanced. Those who criticize Gordon for poor playoffs are wrong. This is not summer ball, piling up stats. He kept distributing and not forcing the game. We’ll see if he’s tough enough for k-state.

  • Steve

    I agree with the belleville coach. Evanstons performance in the first game was “wow”. 94 points in 32 minutes was every bit as good in person as it looks on paper.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *