PEORIA, Ill. -- Rock Island senior forward Romal Davis briefly panicked like nearly every Rocks’ supporter in Carver Arena when star guard Chasson Randle fouled out with 57.8 seconds remaining in the first overtime on Saturday.
“I was like, ‘Man,’” Davis said. “I didn’t know what to think. He’s our leading scorer. But when he fouled out, man, it was like, ‘Wow.’”
Rock Island defeated Centralia to earn its first 3A title in Peoria, Ill. on Saturday.
Davis may not have been feeling confident at that point, but neither he nor his teammates wavered in their play from the moment their leader left the floor. The Rocks forced a second overtime in Randle’s absence and outscored Centralia 10-0 in the final period to defeat the Orphans 50-40 and capture their first Class 3A state championship.
“This is a lifetime dream, and the dream has come true,” said Davis while being mobbed by friends and family. “I can’t even explain the feeling.”
In the second overtime, Davis (10 points, nine rebounds) took charge first for the Rocks. He sank a jumper to give Rock Island a 42-40 lead with 3:36 left. It would be the game-winner.
From there, the Rocks took care of business at the free-throw line. After going 3 of 8 at the line in the first overtime, Rock Island redeemed itself in the final four minutes.
Royce Muskeyvalley sank two free throws to put them ahead 44-40. Denzel McCauley hit two more to give them a 46-40 lead. Muskeyvalley drained four more, and Rock Island had a 50-40 advantage.
“After the first overtime, we got in the huddle, and we told each we had to start playing hard, go for the loose balls and start hitting our free throws,” said McCauley, who had nine points and 17 rebounds.
On the other end, Centralia lost its scoring touch. The Orphans missed two free throws and three field-goal attempts and turned the ball over twice in the second overtime.
Randle had led Rock Island (30-3) to a number of wins this season, but he was relieved his teammates had picked him up when it was needed most.
“Man, it was just great,” said Randle, who finished with 13 points, seven rebounds, three assists and three steals. “The team did a great job of sticking together and staying in the game, and that’s what we did.
“I’m just happy right now. I’m speechless.”
R.J. Kwiatkowski (15 points) and Bryan Betts (13 points) led Centralia (30-5).