W-L gets 'W' in third place game
Late foul on Cairo gives Cardinals last second victory

PEORIA - When Warrensburg-Latham lined up for a final play of the game in an attempt to go the length of the court, the Cardinals had virtoually nothing to lose.

With just :01.4 seconds to go and the game tied at 56, W-L had the ball after Cairo's Anthony Mackins had just evened the score with a 3-pointer.

However on an inbounds play Cairo's Seville Bell, who was face guarding the Cardinals' Chase Traughber, unintentially ran over Jeremy Aughenbaugh.

Official Dan Snodgrass whistled Bell for pushing Aughenbaugh during an inbounds play.

This dead-ball foul sent Aughenbaugh to the line for a two-shot opportunity.

The 6-0 senior guard, who had struggled from the line in earlier games, drilled home the final two free throws of his prep career.

His charities provided the margin of victory in the Cardinals 58-56 win to capture the third place title over the Pilots.

"He (Aughenbaugh) was on the wrong side of the court on the inbounds play," said W-L coach Victor Binkley. "He was supposed to be on the other side because Chase (Traughber) is right handed and he was going to throw long to (Andy) Calmes."

In what had looked like a play designed in a similar fashion to the one that Illinois tried to pull off in the last seconds of the Illini's loss to Michigan in the NCAA semi-finals back in 1989, Warrensburg-Lathem got the call that coach Lou Henson never got.

The two free throws capped off the best season ever for the Cardinals.

However the loss partially soured what was expected to be a championship trip for the athletic Pilots (28-6) who drove the furthest (302 miles) of the Elite Eight teams.

"We bounched back pretty well from this afternoon to get ready to play this ballgame," said Cairo mentor Larry Baldwin. "We kind of lost our focus during one stretch of this game and we let them back into it."

The Pilots looked like they were the team ready to play in the opening minutes.

Back-to-back baskets by Brandon Childs and Deovaunta Williams got Cairo off to a 4-0 lead.

Then a pair of 3-pointers by Childs and Anthony Mackins led to a 18-6 Pilot advantage at the first horn.

But Warrensburg-Latham gradually got back into the game, thanks in part to big third quarter effort.

The Cardinals pulled even with Cairo with a 16-8 quarter, capped by Chase Traugher 3-pointer with :54 seconds left.

Cairo looked like it was ready to take command again with a quick 10-2 run to push the Pilots lead to 48-40 with 3:55 to go in game.

Kalin Lowe and Mackins combined to score all 10 of the points in the run.

But W-L responded with a final push with Traugher hitting two more 3-pointers, the second of which cut the lead to 48-46.

After the two teams exchanged free throws, Truagher scored again while being fouled by Mackins, this time in the paint on an assist by Aughenbaugh and the game was tied at 49.

His free throw put the Cardinals in front for the first time in the contest 50-49.

Korte Long scored his final points of his career at W-L with a lay up with 1:02 left to give the Cardinals a 55-51 advantage.

However Williams scored again on a short jumper and the Mackins 3-pointer made it 56-all and set up the final play.

Cairo was led by Mackins with 17. D. Williams added 11 points and Childs chipped in 10.

Warrensburg-Latham got 13 from Calmes and 11 from Long.

"There's only two teams that are going to come out with a win in the last game of the season and we were fortunate enough to get that." added coach Binkley. "We didn't start off very good, but we fought back."

"This is an emotional situation for us (Cairo) because we worked so hard to get here and then we wind up losing our last two games on the same day." added Baldwin. "This is a good group of kids, but it takes a lot to keep a program going in our part of the country."

The Pilots dropped into the third place game after losing to the Hawks in the Class A semifinals.

MC shot 44 free throws in the game (22-of-44) and, although they made just half of them, that was a huge advantage.

The Hawks got 29 points and 11 rebounds from 6-6 senior Jeremy Haas along with 24 points from Jordan Delp to reach the championship game.

Four Cairo players hit for double figures.

Anthony Mackins and Brandon Childs each tallied 14 while Roman Wright and Deovaunta Williams dropped in 13 and 10.

Mount Carroll hit a scorching 65 percent of their 2-point field goal attempts (13-of-20) in the final 16 minutes of the game.

Foul trouble plagued the Pilots as all three of coach Baldwin's big men in the paint (Williams, Mackins and Wright) fouled out while two others (Seville Bell and Childs) each finished with four fouls.

"It is great to be here and to have gotten this far, but it is also a tough way to end the great run that we have had in the post-season," said coach Baldwin. "But I think that we've made some noise up here and we let everyone know that we play pretty good basketball down south."

Editor's note:
Congratulations are in order to three of southern Illinois' finest officials who were chosen to work the state finals.

Robert 'Spanky' Smith (Centralia), Bob Blondi (Benton) and William Fritcher (Neoga) were given the honor of working the state finals.

And all three did a great job!!!

Very few are afforded this honor and these three deserved the chance to advance to Peoria.

Cairo's Brandon Childs puts in the first two points of the third place game at the Class A state finals in Peoria Saturday night. The Pilots lost to Warrensburg-Latham 58-56.
(Jack Bullock Photo)

Deovaunta Williams looks to beat the W-L press in the first half of the Pilots loss in the third place game. Jeremy Aughenbaugh of W-L was defending on the play.
(Jack Bullock Photo)

Long-time basketball referee Bob Blondi makes a call during the third place game of the Class A finals. Blondi was rewarded with a state tournament this season.
(Jack Bullock Photo)