PEORIA—Sherif Kenney spent the first month of the season sitting on a chair in the corner of the gym watching Orr play without him.
Spartans coach Lou Adams kept hinting that he had surprise in store. Then around the middle of December Adams became bolder, proclaiming that when Kenney was able to play the sky was the limit for his team.
That’s something that is heard fairly regularly. A Public League powerhouse is often just that one player that hasn’t been ruled eligible yet away from success. Kenney turned out to be everything Adams promised and much more. The Spartans turned into a completely different team when the transfer from Washington, DC was ruled eligible.
Orr’s two other starting guards were able to slide into roles that were ideal. Terry Williams became a deadly three-point shooter. Tujautae Williams was able to use his sized and speed to freelance.
Nashville’s plan in the Class 2A championship game on Saturday at Carver Arena was to slow the pace of the game down. The Hornets managed that, but thanks to Kenney’s steady dominance it didn’t matter.
Orr defeated Nashville 50-36 to win its third consecutive Class 2A state title.
“Coming to Chicago and winning state means a lot to me,” Kenney said. “Going to a different city and winning a big trophy is a major accomplishment. We came together as family and did what we had to do.”
Kenney finished with 19 points. The strong, 6-5 point guard was 7-for-11 shooting.
“I told you he would be one of the best players in Chicago, if not the best,” Adams said. “He’s very cerebral. He’s tough. Whoever gets him will have a steal.”
Terry Williams scored eight points. He was one of the Spartans’ most consistent players throughout the season.
“I came from nothing,” Williams said. “I was at Simeon, overlooked. No college coaches wanted me. I was in this drought. Coming to [Orr] was the best thing that happened to me.”
Orr led 20-14 at halftime. The Spartans took control with a 10-2 run to open the third quarter.
- Orr’s Sherif Kenney (5) gets a big hug Orr’s head coach Orr’s head coach Louis Adams, Saturday 03-09-19. Worsom Robinson/For Sun-Times
- Saturday 03-09-19. Worsom Robinson/For Sun-Times
- Orr’s celebrates after winning 2A state championship over Nashville, Saturday 03-09-19. Worsom Robinson/For Sun-Times
- Orr holds up the Class 2A state championship trophy, Saturday 03-09-19. Worsom Robinson/For the Sun-Times.
All-City guard Tujautae Williams had four crowd-pleasing dunks, 10 points, eight rebounds and three steals. Senior Greg Outlaw, a Bogan transfer, added 10 points and eight rebounds.
“One thing about Orr, we allow you to play basketball,” Adams said. “Kids come to us and we try and get their careers going in the right direction.”
Carson Parker led Nashville (36-2) with 16 points and 11 rebounds and Bryson Bultman scored 12.
The three consecutive titles puts the Spartans (26-11) in elite company. Only Simeon, East St. Louis Lincoln and Peoria Manual have accomplished the feat.
“This one is the best one of them all because we really earned it,” Adams said. “We put a lot of pieces together. Every time you think about Chicago basketball you have to think about Orr. We are a powerhouse, we are here to stay.”