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IHSA Class 3A/4A Boys Basketball State Finals - America's Original March Madness

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America's Original March Madness rolls back into Peoria for the 23rd time, and this time its the large schools' turn, as the IHSA Class 3A and Class 4A Boys Basketball State Finals take center stage this weekend at the Peoria Civic Center’s Carver Arena. The state semifinals will unfold on Friday, March 16 with the third-place and state championship games to follow on Saturday, March 17.

Tickets are available at the Peoria Civic Center box office, online, or you can contact a competing school to find out their plans for selling their allotment.

The March Madness Experience, an interactive basketball-fueled family fun fest located in the Peoria Civic Center exhibit halls adjacent to the arena, opens on Thursday, March 15. The Country Financial Three-Point Showdown also continues Thursday at Carver Arena, as prelims will whittle competitors down to four shooters from each class. The final four shooters from Class 3A and Class 4A will shoot for their class titles between semifinal games on Friday, with the winners returning on Saturday, March 17 for a chance to be the all-class champion King of the Hill.

In addition, Special Olympics Illinois and the IHSA are teaming up to offer the second annual Unified State Tournament as a part of the IHSA State Finals. The Unified games will take place in the March Madness Experience. The high school teams competing in this year's event include Homewood-Flossmoor, LaSalle-Peru, Limestone, Metea Valley, Plano, Pontiac, Princeton and Thornton.

The games and three-point shooting will air live on NBC Sports Chicago, NBC Sports Chicago+ and IHSA TV Network affiliates (click for local listings). The games will also be carried live on the internet via NBC Sports Chicago and the NFHS Network at, which will also stream the post-game press conferences. Country Financial is the presenting sponsor of the broadcasts.

Lee Hall and legendary Bulls broadcaster Tom Dore will bring viewers the 3A action, while IBCA Hall of Famer Dave Bernhard and Gordon Tech/SIU standout Camron Smith step in to call the 4A games. Former Illinois State Redbird basketball player Katy Winge will handle the hosting and sideline duties.

No one covers the IHSA State Finals like the Peoria Journal Star. Check the Journal's Star state final preview, path to state, and so much more at the Peoria Journal Star website:

A brief IHSA preview is posted below:


Reigning state champion and top-ranked Morgan Park has become a Class 3A Final Four staple. The Mustangs look to make it back-to-back state champs – 2013 & 2014 – for the second time in six seasons, while guaranteeing themselves a fifth state trophy (2015 3A third-place). Head coach Nick Irvin (255-69, 10 years) is behind all of Morgan Park’s recent success, including an 84.8 point per postseason game average. Despite an injury costing him 10 games, senior guard and Illinois signee Ayo Dosunmu (24.4 ppg, 7.3) has been the go-to guy for the Mustangs. However, senior F Cam Burrell (17.7 ppg, 13.1 rpg), soph. G Adam Miller (15.0 ppg) and senior G Kenyon Duling (8.9 ppg) all remain big factors as well as a consistent trio.

First-time Final Four participant Marian Catholic find themselves in Peoria following a Super-Sectional victory over Metamora on junior guard Malik Tidwell’s overtime, buzzer-beating three-pointer. Tidwell is the team’s leading scorer at 17.7 ppg and third-leading rebounder (4.2). He gets backcourt scoring help from sophomore guard Ahron Ulis (13.1 ppg), the younger brother of Phoenix Suns guard Tyler Ulis, who led the Spartans to a pair of Super appearances during his prep career. Fifth-ranked Marian’s frontcourt features junior forward Chris White (10.5 ppg, 6.2 rpg) and senior forward Alec Dinwiddie (4.1 ppg, 5.9 rpg). The Spartans, who have won 12 of their last 13, are led by longtime head coach Mike Taylor (254-181, 15 years).

SOUTHEAST (Springfield) SPARTANS (28-3)

No. 2-ranked Southeast finds itself in the Final Four for the first time in program history. Two years ago, the Spartans made it to the 3A Elite Eight, before losing to eventual state champion Althoff Catholic. Head coach Lawrence Thomas (202-84, 10 years) guide the Spartans, who have won seven in a row and 22 and of their last 23. Senior guard Kobe Medley (12.3 ppg, 3.3 rpg) is the lone senior starter. Meaning the junior quartet of guard/forward Anthony Fairlee (15.7 ppg, 8.6 ppg), guard Terrion Murdix (12.0 ppg, 4.8 rpg), guard Stepheon Sims (7.3 ppg, 3.7 rpg) and center Michael Tyler (6.5 ppg, 4.5 rpg) have been the catalysts, combining for 41.5 points and 21.6 rebounds per game for Southeast, which is scoring 67.6 points per postseason game.

North Chicago, which received no votes in the final Associated Press poll, is making its first appearance in the Final Four since a 2012 3A runner-up finish. Head coach Gerald Coleman (262-118, 13 years) looks to bring the program a third state trophy after a 2011 3A fourth-place finish. Senior guard Tyrek Cooper (14.6 ppg), senior guard Pierce Coleman (12.3 ppg), senior guard DyShawn Gales (9.5 ppg, 2.7 apg), senior guard Ishaun Walker (6.9 ppg, 3.9 rpg) make up a tough four-guard starting lineup with junior forward Raeshaun Samoa (7.8 ppg, 6.7 rpg) rounding out the group. The Warkhawks are riding an 11-game win streak and have outscored their five postseason opponents by average margin of 20.8 ppg.

LARKIN (Elgin) ROYALS (24-8)

A 2003 Class AA Elite Eight appearance was Belleville West’s last taste of basketball in Peoria. Head coach Joe Muniz (208-173, 14 years) leads the No. 2-ranked Maroons, who have not lost to an Illinois opponent and are riding a 13-game win streak. Junior forward EJ Liddell, the 2018 Illinois Gatorade Player of the Year, is one of the hottest prospects in Illinois, averaging 20.8 ppg and 8.3 rpg with over 200 blocks on the season. Three huge complements to Liddell are senior guard Malachi Smith (15.7 ppg, 6.2 rpg, 3.5), junior guard Lawrence Brazil III (10.5 ppg, 2.7 apg) and junior forward Keith Randolph (9.7 ppg, 6.7 rpg). Belleville West has held five postseason opponents to 43.8 ppg, while scoring 70.2 ppg.

After winning just one game in his first season, head coach Deryn Carter (143-117, nine years) helps Larkin make its first Final Four in program history. Larkin’s dynamic senior duo – guard Anthony Lynch (20.0 ppg, 4.9 rpg, 3.8 apg) and forward Jalen Shaw (16.3 ppg, 12.2 rpg, 3.1 apg) – will be on full display for a statewide audience. Count on senior guard Pierre Black (8.2 ppg, 3.1 rpg) and senior guard Kindrel Morris (6.5 ppg, 3.3 rpg, 6.2 apg) to make their presences know. The Royals received no votes in the final AP poll, won all five of their postseason games by single digits and suffered a six-point loss to other 4A semifinalist and reigning state champion Whitney Young back in November.


Evanston returns to the state finals for the 10th time, with a 2008 4A third-place finish being the most recent trip. But the ninth-ranked Wildkits want to match their 1968 state championship team, which met the current squad earlier this season. Head coach Mike Ellis (167-74, eight years) is no stranger with Peoria, producing a pair of runner-up finishes while coaching seven seasons at Richwoods High School. Balanced scoring from junior guard Lance Jones (15.5 ppg, 4.0 rpg, 3.0 apg), junior guard Jaheim Holden (14.8 ppg), freshman guard & viral sensation Blake Peters (10.2 ppg) and junior guard Ryan Bost (8.0 ppg) will be key for Evanston, winners of 12 of its last 13. Matt Hall, a 6-7 senior forward is the team’s leading rebounder at 4.3 rpg.

In the last nine years, the fifth-ranked and reigning 4A state champs Dolphins have taken home four state trophies, including 4A titles in 2009 and 2014 and a 4A 2010 runner-up. Head coach Tyrone Slaughter (288-102, 13 years) guided Whitney Young to an overtime comeback Super-Sectional win over Simeon in a rematch of last season’s 4A state championship. Four Dolphin players – senior guard Javon Freeman (19.6 ppg, 5.9 rpg), junior guard Myles Baker (12.0 ppg), senior guard Xavier Castañeda (11.8 ppg, 4.5 apg) and sophomore guard/forward Tyler Beard (10.9 ppg) - post double-digit scoring averages. The well-traveled Whitney Young program has wins over teams from Florida, Texas and California, but has also lost to teams from Missouri and Tennessee.

111th year of State Series
11th year of 4-Class series
23rd year in Peoria


Carver Arena at the Peoria Civic Center

City of Peoria
Peoria CVB


Friday, March 16
Session 1
Class 3A Semifinals
11:00 AM - Morgan Park vs. Marian Catholic

12:45 PM - Southeast vs. North Chicago

Session 2
Class 4A Semifinals

5:30 PM - Belleville West vs. Larkin

7:15 PM - Evanston
vs. Whitney Young

Saturday, March 17
Session 3
Class 3A Finals
Third-Place - 11:00 AM
Championship - 12:45 PM

Session 4
Class 4A Finals
Third-Place - 5:30 PM
Championship - 7:15 PM

Purchase online
$6.50 per session
$8.50 per session
$10.50 per session
(MME admission is $2 or free with game ticket)

NBC Sports Chicago
NBC Sports Chicago PLUS+

NBC Sports Chicago
NFHS Network:


Stations carrying all games:
WJOL 1340 AM (Joliet)
Online Broadcast

WRHL 1060 AM (Rochelle)
Online Broadcast

Stations carrying school-specific games:
WFMB 104.5 FM (Springfield)
Southeast games
Online Broadcast

WRLR 98.3 FM (Round Lake)
North Chicago games
Online Broadcast


IHSA Boys Basketball Page

Thursday, March 15
5:00 PM - 3A/4A Prelims

Friday, March 16
12:35 PM - 3A Finals
7:00 PM - 4A Finals

Saturday, March 17
12:35 PM - King of the Hill


2018 MME Info

Thursday, March 15

5:30 PM - 8:30 PM
Friday, March 16
10:00 AM - 8:30 PM
Saturday, March 17
10:00 AM - 6:30 PM


, March 16
1:00 PM - Limestone vs. Plano

1:10 PM - Pontiac vs. Princeton

2:30 PM - Thornton vs. Homewood-Flossmoor

2:40 PM - Metea Valley vs. LaSalle-Peru

Saturday, March 17
11:00 AM - 3rd Place
11:10 AM - 3rd Place
12:30 PM - Finals
12:40 PM - Finals

Unified games played in MME, awards follow final games. MME is located in the Peoria Civic Center Exhibit Halls

Gear from Minerva

Photos from VIP

Balls from Wilson

Souvenir Program

Twitter - @IHSAstate

Instagram - @IHSA_IL

Classic IHSA YouTube Video

Country Financial

Wilson Sporting Goods

Biaggi's Ristorante Italiano


Gift of Hope

Northern Iowa University

Illinois Treasurer's ICASH



Road to State

Record Book & Past Champions