BY AARON PATTERSON
DANVILLE — There was one thing on the minds of Peoria’s Xavier Newsome and A.J. Riley upon arriving in Danville this week for the 41st Annual Dustbowl Basketball Tournament.
The duo came to this year’s Dustbowl with intentions of putting on a show and representing Peoria well.
Riley finished Sunday’s Junior division championship game with 15 points, and Newsome earned MVP honors after scoring 29 and grabbing 17 rebounds in DV Stars’ 87-75 win over the Timberwolves.
“We were just dominating,” Newsome said. “There was a lot of trash talking going on, so I just had to come and showcase why Peoria is running Illinois. I had to put on the show.”
DV Stars led 44-35 at halftime, but the nine-point difference didn’t do the DV Stars’ performance justice as they found themselves up by as many as 11 in the first half, and 17 in the second.
“I think our defense (was key to the win),” Newsome said. “Coach Hightower preached that he wanted us to press and get up in them the whole ballgame. We turned them over a lot. We had a lot of mistakes, too, but we came out on top.”
Danville’s Denzell Smith scored 18 points, and Bam Wright finished with nine and seven rebounds.
Martez Davis led the Timberwolves with 26 points and had seven rebounds, Kylen Butler finished with 13 points, and Altez Davis scored 12 and had four steals.
Newsome scored 17 of his points in the second half as DV Stars secured the win.
“We thought it was going to be a closer game, but it happened to be a blowout,” said the Peoria Richwoods product. “It’s very satisfying to come to Danville and take the MVP trophy back to Peoria.”