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PEORIA Friday Mar 15 2013 Orr's Louis Adams (1) shows frustration on the bench after he fouled playing Cahokia in the second game of the state basketball semifinal. | Michelle LaVigne~Sun-Times Media
PEORIA — The cries of anguish erupted from the stands. “Give us some energy bench,” an Orr fan yelled at the start of the fourth quarter.
The Spartans were in uncharted territory, staring down a huge deficit and trying to do anything to generate some enthusiasm. It never really arrived.
“We didn’t really play Spartan basketball out there today,” Orr coach Louis Adams said.
Orr’s bid for the first state title in school history ended as Downstate power Cahokia used a dominant rebounding edge and scoring balance to glide past the Spartans 56-46 in a Class 3A state semifinal Friday at Carver Arena.
“You have to give them a lot of credit,” Adams said. “They were a pretty good team.”
Cahokia (33-3) denied an all-Public League final as they advance to meet Morgan Park in the state championship game Saturday afternoon. Orr falls to the third-place game against Limestone.
Orr (28-4) had energy and drive at the start. Marlon Jones opened the game with a magnificent blocked shot. Lou Adams Jr., the coach’s son, scored nine of the Spartans’ first 14 points.
Cahokia seized control with a 16-4 burst in the second quarter that left the Spartans dazed and searching for answers.
“They started guarding me differently, and I just couldn’t get free or get going offensively,” said Adams Jr., who scored just two points in the final two and a half quarters.
The shock, given Orr’s standout and rugged interior players in Jones and 6-7 junior Tyquone Greer, was how badly the Comanches controlled the offensive glass. Cahokia nearly doubled the Spartans (44-23) in rebounding.
“They had four or five three-point plays they scored off offensive rebounds or putbacks, and that was the game right there,” coach Adams said.
Guard Keenan Minor scored a game-high 20 points despite shooting just 3-for-11. He compensated by converting 13 of 15 at the free-throw line.
He made eight in a row in the final two minutes after Orr cut into a 17-point third-quarter deficit behind the inspired play of senior guard Brandon Clemons.
“We tried to stay humble, play hard and play together,” Minor said.
Reserve Derenzo Jennings hit four three-pointers and scored 17 points for Cahokia. His three-pointer helped stall an Orr run and maintain the Comanches’ 10-point lead, 45-35, to start the fourth quarter.
Clemons scored 11 of his team-best 13 points in the second half as Adams went with a smaller, quicker line up to force tempo.
“Our big kids were struggling, and I thought we needed to get quicker out there,” Adams said.
Clemons scored back-to-back baskets to pull the Spartans within six (48-42) with 1:52 remaining.
“I just knew my team needed me to step up, and I just tried to do something, like go hard to the basket,” Clemons said.
Orr shot just 36 percent (19-for-53) and missed 14 of 17 three-point attempts.
“We normally make shots,” coach Adams said.
“Today they just weren’t falling. It’s tough because we’re a junior-dominated team, but we have two seniors [Clemons and Jamal McDowell] and we wanted them to get a state championship.”
Jones finished with seven points and eight rebounds for the Spartans. Armani Ousley added six points off the bench.