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Javaris Walker set the stage. George Beecham finished the deal.
Walker’s dazzling three-point shooting created drive opportunities that Beecham used to power Bulls Prep to its second consecutive Noble Street Championship with its comeback 47-40 victory over UIC Prep Saturday at Rowe-Clark.
It marked the third time this year the Bulls (16-11) have knocked off the Fire Cats.
With the Bulls down 23-19 at the break, senior guard Walker made up for a scoreless first half by drilling three consecutive three-pointers from the left wing that sparked an 11-2 run that provided the Bulls with a lead it never relinquished.
“Coach (Jason Ronai) said I had to come out and make shots,” Walker said. “I knew I had to do something to help the team out. The shots were there, and I was able to make them.”
Walker scored 12 points, all on three-pointers.
Beecham closed out the victory by scoring nine of his team-high 15 points in the fourth quarter. He hit two three-pointers of his own in the first quarter. “I hit those threes early and then they started to play off me a little,” Beecham said. “I have a pretty good first step. Mostly, Javaris hit all of those three-pointers in the third and they started playing us differently, guarding the shot and giving up the lane and I was able to drive a lot going to the basket.”
Demarcus Shannon scored a game-high 17 points and grabbed nine rebounds for the Fire Cats (17-10). They managed only one field goal in the first 12 minutes of the second half, nullifying their eight-point first half lead.
Eric Alvarez (10 points) and Shannon sparked an early 10-0 run as UIC made the first move.
The Bulls’ pressure changed the complexion of the game. UIC committed six of its 17 turnovers in the third quarter. Shannon’s putback was the Fire Cats’ only field goal of the fourth quarter.
Beecham and Walker maintained their aggressive play at the start of the fourth quarter. Beecham opened the quarter with a three-point play and Walker drilled his final three-pointer from the left baseline for the Bulls’ largest advantage at 38-27.
UIC did not score in the fourth quarter until Alvarez converted a free throw with 4:28 remaining.
Devondray Baker added nine points for the Bulls. Chris Wilkens hit two three-pointers in contributing seven points for UIC.