High-flying Champaign Central puts on show for fans

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Central freshman Leo Terry has been making statewide waves with his explosive athleticism as the Maroons take on some of the top teams in the Midwest this season. Central freshman Leo Terry has been making statewide waves with his explosive athleticism as the Maroons take on some of the top teams in the Midwest this season.

CHAMPAIGN -- Jaws dropped at UIC Pavilion this December when a clean-faced pogo stick named Leo Terry rocked rims and blocked shots against state power Morgan Park.

When word got around that the explosive Champaign Central forward was just a 15-year-old freshman, he became the talk of the gym among the city's power brokers on hand.

Terry's story of humble flashiness is a fitting symbol of the Maroons' season. They boast a bona fide superstar in 6-foot-6 senior Tim Finke, who's averaging 21.4 points, 6.2 rebounds, 3.4 assists and 1.8 steals per game and is headed to Grand Canyon University in the fall. They have versatile senior wings like A'Kieon Gill (11.0 points, 5.4 rebounds, 5.3 assists, 1.7 steals per game) and Jonte Coleman (11.2 points per game) plus scrappy senior guard Jaden Aikens.

And yet, the Maroons play with a workmanlike attitude you wouldn't expect from a crew that is so skilled in transition that the ball often doesn't touch the court.

Central head coach Jeff Finke assembled a meat grinder of a schedule -- one that includes trips to the Centralia Holiday Tournament (with games against Evanston, Marist, Belleville West and Lausanne (TN)), the Decatur Turkey Tournament, plus non-conference matchups with Midwest powerhouses Morgan Park and Vashon (MO). They've escaped that gauntlet with a 7-4 record so far and came one point away from knocking off Belleville West in the finals at the Centralia Holiday Tournament.

On Friday night they travel across town to take on rival Centennial, and then head to the famed Highland Tournament the next day for a date with Vashon, a St. Louis-area stalwart that boasts high-major prospects like 6-foot-2 guard Mario McKinney (2019, offers from Iowa, Marquette, Xavier and others), 6-foot-4 guard Kobe Clark (2020, offer from Saint Louis) and 6-foot-6 guard Cam'Ron Fletcher (2020, offer from Kansas State).

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