With the game tied at 48 with 12 seconds to play, Dewayne Russell and his Peoria Panthers needed to go the length of the floor to hit he game winner.
Russell, one of the top scorers in the state and player of the year candidate had the ball in his hands and as he pulled up to shoot before the buzzer, he dished the ball down low to an open fellow senior, Sam Engler who scored the game winner. The Panthers took home the state championship after de-throning last years champs, Amphitheater, 50-48.
Amphi was the team that came out with all the intensity. Peoria couldn’t seem to keep up with Amphi’s relentless fastbreak attack. Amphi’s first half charge was lead by Tony Lillard, Charles Benson and Tim Derksen for a 26-12 halftime lead.
Peoria wouldn’t go down without a fight. They matched Amphi’s first half intensity and came all the way back to take the lead late. Dewayne Russell found his stroke finishing with 22 points and fantastic all around play from Lawrence Pierce who had 15 points and played outstanding defense down the stretch before fouling out of the game in the final minute.
An emotional Russell after the game explained, “I have been through so much in my life, I feel like I finally caught a break.”
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