PEORIA | Rockford Auburn coach Bryan Ott wasn't happy with the way his team played in a loss to Proviso East in the semifinals of the IHSA boys basketball Class 4A state finals on Friday. He wasn't even happy with the way his team practiced for the third-place game on Saturday morning.
But by Saturday night he was plenty pleased as he watched his Knights beat Bloom Township, 57-46.
"For us to ratchet it up and get this win is a great credit to our players," Ott said. "We didn't like the way we looked (Friday) and we didn't like the way we looked at practice today, but we showed up tonight."
Point guard Fred VanVleet scored 22 points for the Knights (32-3), handing out five assists while grabbing four rebounds, making three steals and blocking two shots. He helped harass Bloom into 19 turnovers which the Knights converted into 15 points.
VanVleet is a four-year starter for the Knights, his career building each year and culminating in the trip to Peoria.
"For it to end like this, it's special," he said. "I wouldn't trade it for the world."
Donald Moore scored 16 points and grabbed 10 rebounds for the Blazing Trojans. Johnny Griffin added 13 rebounds, but did not score.
Dejahown Freeman chipped in nine points and seven rebounds for Bloom (28-5).
Bloom coach Jasper Williams wasn't happy with his team's play.
"I'm kind of disappointed that we weren't ready to play basketball today," he said. "We played with no energy, no effort. Basketball is a team sport and today we played individual basketball and it showed."
The Knights jumped out to a 13-4 lead in the first quarter, swarming the Blazing Trojans and denying any second-chance opportunities.
Foote said the turnaround was a credit to concentration.
"We didn't leave any loose rebounds, we finished," he said. "The changes we made was we had to connect. We connected."
In the title game, Jabari Parker scored 15 points, Steve Taylor 12 and Jaleni Neely 10 as Chicago Simeon beat Maywood Proviso East, 50-48.
The win gives the Wolverines their third straight title and fifth in seven years. It's also their sixth overall, an Illinois state record.
Parker, the nation's No. 1 junior recruit, showcased both his inside and outside games. He hit a 3-pointer and followed up with a monster dunk that sealed the game.
Taylor finished with 15 rebounds to go with his 12 points. Jaylon Tate added eight points for Simeon (33-1).
Sterling Brown, the younger brother of former Michigan State standout Shannon Brown, scored 25 for the Pirates (32-1).