March Madness: East advances to state for first time in 41 years
Rockford East 70, Geneva 62
By Jim Hagerty
DEKALB — The East E-Rabs overcame a 14-point first-half deficit Tuesday to beat a strong Gevena squad 70-62 and win the IHSA Class 4A supersectional at the NIU Convocation Center.
Geneva jumped ahead early and led East 16-6 after the first quarter. Junior Sincere Parker turned up his game in the second though and helped the E-Rabs close in on the Vikings’ lead to make it 33-27 at the half.
Parker was joined by senior Chris Burnell in the third as the pair dominated Geneva inside and from the three-point line to pull ahead 44-43 late in the quarter. It was a tight game from there before a Parker dunk early in the fourth gave the E-Rabs momentum they wouldn’t relinquish, forcing Geneva to foul and shoot from the outside for the waning minutes of the contest.
Parker, who’s father, Ray Parker, scored 1,000 points in an East jersey, finished the night with 27. Burnell scored 16 points while Sha’den Clanton poured in 14 for the E-Rabs.
East will face Evanston at 5:30 p.m., Friday, in the first 4A semifinal. Evanston (31-4) squeaked by Stevenson, 57-45 in overtime to punch its ticket to Peoria. Belleville West and Chicago Curie clash in the second game.
The Class 4A championship is at 7:15 p.m., Saturday.
The last time East sent a team to the state tournament was 1978 and the E-Rabs finished fourth. R.
Photo: Mat Parker