• Aaron Ferguson

Junior Jashawn Anderson matured into key cog in East St. Louis' championship machine

East St. Louis junior Jashawn Anderson, left, drives in the IHSA Class 3A State Championship Game at the Peoria Civic Center. (Photo credit: Jimmy J. Simmons)

PEORIA -- Jashawn Anderson brings a championship effort every night and he stepped up to lead East St. Louis to its first basketball state championship.

He scored seven points in overtime to finish with 13, seven rebounds, four assists and four steals in the 68-63 overtime win over Bogan.

“For him to be so young, he brings a lot of energy and brings a lot to the table,” senior St. Louis recruit Terrence Hargrove Jr. said. “I love the little guy. He’s like a little brother to me and he came in clutch today.”

Mark Chambers said he has seen more growth in Anderson than anyone in his program this season. Anderson started as a sophomore on varsity but took his game to another level in this year’s state championship run.

“He’s matured mentally,” Chambers said. “He’s bought-in to everything that I’ve put in front of him. He’s become a leader. He’s not afraid of the big moment and he’s not afraid to get on his teammates if they do something wrong. He listens to me and is like an extension of me on the court.”

The junior secured a key rebound on Jordan Booker’s missed layup and was fouled by Rashaun Agee, who eventually fouled out with 24 points and 14 rebounds. The 5-foot-11 guard out-rebounded the 6-8 forward and hit both free throws to give the Flyers their first lead of the game, 62-61 with 1:07 left in overtime.

Two possessions later he got a key steal. Anderson sealed the Flyers’ first state championship in program history finishing through contact and converting the and-1 free throw.

“I felt like I had to go 10 times harder than what I really go through,” he said. “I knew we were down, I knew we needed big plays so I made them for us.”

Typically, Anderson is known for his point guard duties, as he showcased with a full-court outlet pass to Hargrove for a transition dunk, but he is the glue that holds everything together.

He finishes the season averaging 7.2 points, 1.8 rebounds and 4.5 assists per game.

Said Chambers: “That’s what he does. A lot of our big games this year, he’s been the leading scorer. One game he had a double-double with 11 rebounds. He just does whatever it takes to help us win games, and that’s why I’m happy to have him. I love him.”

Turning the page, Anderson will be the lone veteran of a junior class that lost one game over the last three years at the underclass levels. The Flyers will look to him in their title defense.

“We have good talent behind us, for them to be so young we can do it back-to-back next year,” Hargrove said.

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