PEORIA — Seton Academy left the arena and declined to accept a second-place trophy after losing to Harrisburg 50-44 in the Class 2A boys basketball state final Saturday night.
"We told them to come out there (on the court), and if they were not out there by the time Harrisburg (was done) they would not receive their trophy, ever," Illinois High School Association executive director Marty Hickman said. "They chose not to come out. We've never had that happen before."
Seton coach Brandon Thomas exchanged words with several fans seated behind the scorer's table after receiving his second-place medal and tossing it to an assistant. The fans were escorted from the arena.
Thomas then disappeared into a tunnel at Carver Arena and did not address the media.
Thomas' frustration stemmed from the South Holland school's loss and the ejection of his team's leading scorer, Mark Weems Jr., in the second quarter after Weems Jr. made contact with an official.
The IHSA issued this statement late Saturday night addressing the actions of both teams:
"The IHSA is disappointed with and embarrassed by the actions of both Harrisburg High School and South Holland (Seton Academy) during Saturday's IHSA Class 2A Boys Basketball State Championship game. While passion and intensity are an integral part of athletic competition, especially at the highest levels, the behaviors of both teams crossed the lines of acceptable sportsmanship.
"The IHSA is in the process of reviewing the events associated with tonight's contest. Both schools will be contacted Monday."
Harrisburg senior guard Tyler Smithpeters scored 15 of his game-high 23 points in the second half. Whether finger-waving to the crowd, lifting his index finger with the No. 1 sign or diving to the floor, Smithpeters made sure his message was heard.
"I wanted to help us in any way that I could because we came out nervous; this was our first state title game," said Smithpeters, whose father, Randy, is Harrisburg's coach.
The Bulldogs (33-1) concluded their first state championship season by winning their last 17 games.
The favored Sting (21-11) led by as many as 10 points in the first half but never recovered after Weems Jr. (8 points) was ejected with 2 minutes, 5 seconds left in the first half after receiving to technical fouls, the second for making contact with an official.
The Bulldogs made just five baskets in the first half, but trailed 24-23 at halftime after shooting 13-for-17 from the free-throw line. The Bulldogs took their first lead, 36-33, following a 3-pointer by Smithpeters late in the third.
The Sting missed their last six shot attempts after cutting the deficit to 47-44. Seton center and Minnesota recruit Alex Foster was held to seven points and five rebounds. Seton shot 4-for-21 on 3-pointers and 6-for-17 on free throws.
Player of the game: Tyler Smithpeters, Harrisburg, 23 points, 4 rebounds, 4 assists.
Key performers: Harrisburg — Capel Henshaw, 13 points, 5 rebounds. Seton — Kamal Shasi, 9 points, 3 3-pointers; Alex Foster, 7 points, 5 rebounds.