A win by an Illinois all-star team in the annual Clash on the Wabash is rare enough that it served as motivation for this year’s boys team gathered at Spencer Sports Center on Friday.
“Some of the kids found that out before the game and we used that to motivate them at the half,” said Galatia head coach Matt Mandrell, who directed the boys team. “I said ‘Let’s go out and try to win.’”
Which is exactly what Illinois did, rallying dramatically at the close for an 84-82 victory, not secure until Grayville’s Logan Bell intercepted an Indiana inbounds pass with 3.3 seconds remaining.
Illinois trailed 77-71 before embarking on a 10-point surge to turn the game around. A Bell layup tied the game at 77-77, followed by two free throws apiece from Martinsville’s Zack Mulkins and Jonah Laws of Edwards County, cousin to Mt. Carmel sophomore Levi Laws.
All this while the Hoosier stars were self-destructing with turnovers. “We made sure we had guards in at the end of the game to take care of the ball,” Mandrell said.
Homewood-Flossmoor’s 6-foot-9 Lamar Humphrey followed with the final three Illinois points to account for the final score.
Humphrey, who was chosen as the team’s MVP, is considering Wabash Valley, along with Kansas junior colleges Dodge City and Butler Community. But, he couldn’t help but tip his hand. “It’s looking pretty good. I like it down here. It’s nice and peaceful,” he said.
Humphrey paced Illinois with 15 points, follwed by Cisne’s Dustin Atteberry and Dalton Crunk of Freeburg, both with 10 points.
Indiana MVP Larry Johnson of Hamilton Southeast is also looking at WVC, along with Lincoln Trail and Cincinnati State. Johnson led the Hoosiers with 16 points, followed by 6-foot-4 Jordan King of Indianapolis Ben Davis with 10.
Galatia’s Devantae Price scored four points for Illinois. After averaging 27 points per game for Mandrell’s Pharaohs, Price is already headed to Wabash in the fall, which is a victory for Dan Sparks team, according to Mandrell.
“Wabash got on him early, and I think they got a steal,” Mandrell said.
Joey Molstad was listed on the Illinois all-stars, but was not present for the game.