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Elgin's Arie Williams celebrates with teammates after Friday's 60-58 win against Las Vegas Centennial in the semifinals of the Elgin Tournament. | Michael Jarecki ~ For Sun-Times Media
Elgin pulled off another heart-stopping win Friday, but this time Arie Williams had plenty of help in crunch time.
The Maroons will have a chance to defend their championship at their own Elgin Tournament after engineering a 60-58 semifinal upset of a high-flying Las Vegas Centennial squad led by Stanford recruits Marcus and Malcolm Allen.
Williams, who hit game-winning shots for Elgin (9-6) in the tournament’s first two rounds, scored only two of his team-high 24 points in the fourth quarter. Isaiah Butler added 19 off the bench and Eric Sedlack had 13 points, including two on a jumper from the top of the key with 1:10 left that broke a 58-all tie.
“When we’re all on our ‘A’ game, it’s a sight to see,” Williams said. “Isaiah played a hell of a game and Sedlack pulled big minutes rebounding and doing the dirty work. That last shot he hit in the lane was just perfect.”
Marcus Allen (24 points) and Malcolm Allen (17 points) combined for six dunks and accounted for most of the scoring for Centennial (10-2). But Marcus Allen went only 1-for-4 at the free-throw line in the fourth quarter and Malcolm Allen missed a fadeaway jumper from just inside the top of the key with two defenders in his face as time expired.
Elgin advances to play crosstown rival Larkin in the championship game at 8:15 p.m. Saturday. The Royals outlasted the Maroons 76-73 in a double-overtime thriller on Dec. 12 at Larkin.
“We need our rematch after that double-overtime loss,” Williams said. “That still hurts. We’re coming out hungry.”
Friday’s game started at a breakneck pace as Centennial built a 33-30 lead with 3:35 left in the second quarter. Following an empty Elgin possession, the Bulldogs held the ball near halfcourt for almost three full minutes before Marcus Allen scored on a runner with time running out in the half to make it 35-30 going into the break.
The Maroons trailed throughout the second half until Butler grabbed a defensive rebound and went coast to coast for a runner in the lane to tie the score at 58 with 2:31 left. Following a Bulldogs turnover on the ensuing possession, Elgin patiently worked the ball around before Sedlack found his opening for what turned out to be the game-winning points.
“I got the ball from Arie and I saw his guy was covering him too hard, so I just turned with a pivot and made a shot fake,” said Sedlack, who had seven points in the fourth quarter. “My guy didn’t jump, so I just took the shot.”
Austin Turley had seven rebounds, five assists and four steals for Centennial. He also scored his team’s final points on a layup with 4:18 left as the Bulldogs went cold down the stretch.
“Man, what is it about this gym with these (Elgin) guys?” said Centennial coach Todd Allen, a 1988 Elgin graduate. “We executed our game plan pretty well. Our job was obviously to stop Arie and we did that for the most part. But in the second half they had guys step up.”
ELGIN 60, LAS VEGAS CENTENNIAL 58
Mar. Allen 9 3-8 24, Mal. Allen 7 2-2 17, Berkley 4 0-0 9, Thompson 0 3-4 3, Prado 1 0-0 3, Turley 1 0-0 2. Totals 22 8-14 58.
Williams 9 3-3 24, Butler 9 0-0 19, Sedlack 4 3-4 13, Sitter 1 0-0 2, Dunner 1 0-0 2.
Centennial 22 13 14 9 -- 58
Elgin 19 11 15 15 -- 60
Three-point goals -- LVC: 6 (Mar. Allen 3, Mal. Allen, Prado, Berkley). Elgin: 6 (Williams 3, Sedlack 2, Butler). Fouled out -- None.