The East St. Louis Flyers will play for a Class 3A regional championship in boys' basketball on Friday night at Breese Central High.
After clinching the Southwestern Conference championship last week, the Flyers are currently ranked No. 4 in the IHSA Class 3A state polls. With 6'6" senior standout Terrance Hargrove Jr. leading the way, the Flyers should be a lock to advance through the regionals and sectionals. East Side is expected to advance all the way to the Class 3A Super-Sectionals for a potential showdown with Springfield Southeast, last year's state runner-up.
If the Flyers are going to make it to the state finals in 2019, they will need the presence of sharpshooting guard Cornelius Leflore. The 5'11" guard is one of the area's top shooters, averaging 10.7 points a game while shooting 38 percent from 3-point range. On any given night, Leflore can change the flow and the outcome of a game with his shooting and his ability to play defense.
In this year's showcase games, the Flyers' senior has shown up and showed out against some of the team's biggest opponents. He scored 18 points and was 6 for 10 from the floor against Chicago area power Orr Academy. He also had 15 points against Warren Central (Indiana), 15 points against Bloomington (Illinois) in the Highland Shootout, 15 points in a victory over Southwestern Conference rival Alton and 10 points in a big victory over St. Louis powerhouse Vashon. The success of Leflore is a result of his commitment to hard work, on and off the court.
"It was an adjustment for me last year, buying into what it took to become a better player at his level," Leflore said. "I had to realize in order to make myself and my team better, I had to put in the work in the gym and in the classroom to be mentioned in the opposing team's scouting report."
And Leflore has done just that, as he is often shadowed by the opposition's best defensive player during a Flyers' game. When Leflore is on, it opens up the floor for more opportunities for Hargrove and the rest of his teammates to score at will.
And as the Flyers move forward during their state championship quest, you can rest assure that Cornelius Leflore will have a say-so in making it happen.
*Cahokia High senior wrestling sensation Jacob Bullock was the IHSA Class 2A state champion at 220 pounds with a record of 34-0 this season. A state power for many years, Cahokia also had a state medalist in Arnold Edwards at 195 pounds. Edwards finished his fine season with a 26-6 record and a third-place finish at state.
*Congratulations to the Madison Trojans boys' basketball team on winning a IHSA Class 1A regional championship last weekend at Hardin-Calhoun. The Trojans defeated host Hardin-Calhoun 66-54 in the championship game. They will be playing in the sectional tournament round at Okawville this week.
*Future Prep Stars: The Mason-Clark Middle School boys basketball team finished as the runners-up at the IESA Class 4A state tournament two weeks ago. Remember these names because these young men will be future prep stars. They are 6'7" DeMarion Brown, guard Kaleb Williams and guard Maxwell Jackson. All of them will be participating for the Brad Beal Elite 14-and-under team.