SWC Boasts Two State Title Winners

Sam Lance, Co-Editor-in-Chief

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The Southwestern basketball conference contains only seven teams, and two came out of Saturday’s IHSA basketball state playoffs as state champions.

Belleville West repeated its 4A state championship, and East St. Louis won in 3A. This marks the first time in SWC basketball history where two teams won the state title in the same year.

Ohio State commit EJ Liddell and CBC transfer Will Shumpert led the way for the Maroons 71-59 win over Evanston with a combined 44 points. West closed out the game on a killer 21-9 run.

“There was a lot of emotion in that game,” Belleville West head coach Joe Muniz said. “My staff and players have put in an awful lot of hard work these past couple years to get to this point. I will forever miss coaching these guys.”

In 3A, East St. Louis needed extra time to secure their state championship, but nonetheless outlasted Chicago Bogan to claim a 68-63 win.

Terrence Hargrove Jr., a SLU commit, led the way for the Flyers with a staggering 32 points and 10 rebounds in their comeback win. Guards Jashawn Anderson and Richard Robinson added 13 points apiece.

That’s what’s great about this team, we never stop believing, we never give up,” Hargrove said to the Post Dispatch.

Moving forward, this is a huge accomplishment for the SWC and shows that the conference is one of the best in the state.

“I think when you ask around the state people would say the SWC is one of the toughest in the state,” EHS Athletic Director Alexander Fox said. “It just sends a message that when your competing in our conference, there’s no off nights. It’s legitimately the toughest conference in the state of Illinois.