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Elgin's Arie Williams draws a foul from Dundee-Crown's Brandon Rodriguez during Thursday's quarterfinal game at the Elgin Tournament. | Mike Mantucca ~ For Sun-Times Media
Arie Williams reached a career milestone with his first basket Thursday, but it was his last shot that stood out the most.
Elgin’s senior point guard stole the show once again when he navigated traffic and hit a baseline jumper with 14 seconds left to provide the game-winning points in a 53-52 victory against Dundee-Crown in the quarterfinals of the Elgin Tournament.
One night after hitting a halfcourt buzzer beater to clinch an improbable first-round win, Williams became the 18th player in the history of Elgin’s storied program to score 1,000 points when he made a shot while drawing a foul 50 seconds into Thursday’s contest. He finished with a game-high 28, tallying nine of the game’s last 10 points while once again willing his team to victory.
“I wanted to win so bad,” Williams said. “I knew that shot was going in this time too.”
Williams’ heroics send Elgin (8-6) into the semifinals of their own tournament for the third year in a row. The Maroons will play Las Vegas Centennial at 8:15 p.m. Friday while Dundee-Crown (8-2) takes on Walther Lutheran at 1:45 p.m.
The Chargers seemed destined for a spot in the final four when they ripped off a 19-4 run to grab a 51-44 lead with 2:55 left. Elgin missed its first 15 shots of the fourth quarter before Williams hit a runner in the lane to make it 51-48 with 1:42 remaining.
Latrell Crenshaw’s free throw on the ensuing possession pushed Dundee-Crown’s lead back to four, but Williams answered with a trey from the top of the key with 1:00 left to cut the deficit to 52-51.
Trent Muscat then missed a pair of free throws with 31 seconds left for the Chargers, who finished 15-for-30 from the line. Williams made Dundee-Crown pay as he took a pass near the top of the key and dribbled to his right toward the baseline before lifting his game-winner.
“(Williams) made a hell of a shot,” Dundee-Crown coach Lance Huber said. “Everybody in the gym knew he was going to take it, everybody on his team knew he was going to take it. We had three guys on him and he made a shot. That’s what it comes down to.”
Brandon Rodriguez had a team-high 19 points for Dundee-Crown. Dylan Kissack added 14 points and eight rebounds.
Elgin led by as many as 14 points in the first half despite playing without junior starter Ryan Sitter (ankle injury). Kiko Mari stepped up in Sitter’s absence, tallying eight points and 12 rebounds as the Maroons claimed their third win in a row.
“We came out with more intensity and played harder than they did early,” Elgin coach Mike Sitter said. “Then they kind of turned the tables and finished the second quarter with an 8-0 run. I think in the last two minutes of the game we again played with more intensity than they did and they kind of played not to lose.”
Said Williams: “I’m really proud of this team. We play with a lot of heart and a lot of grit.”
ELGIN 53, DUNDEE-CROWN 52
Williams 9 7-10 28, Mari 4 0-0 8, Dunner 1 4-6 6, Bednar 2 0-0 4, Sedlack 2 0-0 4, Butler 1 0-0 3. Totals 18 11-16 53.
Rodriguez 5 8-11 19, Kissack 5 2-2 14, Beasley 2 4-6 8, Parson 2 0-3 4, Crenshaw 1 1-2 3, Muscat 1 0-2 2, Conley 1 0-4 2. Totals 17 15-30 52.
Elgin 16 13 13 11 -- 53
Dundee-Crown 8 17 11 16 -- 52
Three-point goals -- Elgin: 4 (Williams 3, Butler). D-C: 3 (Kissack 2, Rodriguez). Fouled out -- Elgin: None. D-C: Beasley.