Momence/Peotone basketball

Momence High School's Lamarius Lillard takes a shot over Peotone High School's Caleb Hunter.

MOMENCE — The Lillard brothers, Lamar and Lamarius, have ushered in a brand new era of Momence basketball.

Between them, the duo has stacked up milestones and broken records. They are the driving force for the best team Momence has seen in decades.

Lamar, a senior, has solidified himself beyond questioning as the best scorer in school history this season and, statistically speaking, it would be hard to argue against him being the best outright player.

He became the 11th player in school history to break 1,000-career-point mark on Dec. 1, and he was far from finished. On Feb. 6, Lamar exploded for 36 points to eclipse Jon Sikma's 20-year-old career scoring record of 1,379 points. Two weeks later, he put up 21 on Peotone in Momence's regional semifinal victory to bring his 2017-18 total to 577 and became the single-season scoring record holder.

"It's just a lot of hard work. I'm almost too excited to be able to explain it," he said. "It's an incredibly good feeling just to know you're No. 1."

Since then, he scored another 29 points in Saturday's 65-61 win against Watseka to lead Momence to its first regional championship in 13 years.

He sits at 606 points and counting this season as he prepares for Tuesday's sectional semifinal matchup with Seneca. There's no telling where his record-setting campaign will end.

"Lamar is a player who, when he gets it going, is a very difficult player to defend, and he can also cause all sorts of chaos on the defensive end," said Momence head coach Kevin Ecker. "You can't say enough about him and what he's meant to the program for the past four years."

The 11th Momence player to hit 1,000 points isn't the latest to do it, however.

On Feb. 16, four days before his older brother broke the single-season scoring record, Lamarius gave Lamar another reason to remember his senior night by scoring 16 points in Momence's 81-62 win against South Newton and became the 12th person to reach quadruple-digit scoring.

For Ecker, it has been a privilege to coach the star siblings.

"They're a great pair of kids to have. They're very competitive, and they're always trying to make themselves and the team as best as they can have it," he said. "What they bring to the table is something that's very difficult to duplicate. We've been very happy to have them, and they have been a great part of this program for the last three and four years."

Maybe Lamarius' success partially explains Lamar's incredible numbers this season — he can see his little brother in his rear-view mirror as he races to rewrite Momence's record books.

There's no question all of his accomplishments have been made sweeter by having his brother on the floor alongside him.

"I feel like we vibe with each other pretty well, and it's a good feeling to know that I can help him more and show him how everything should be done so he can lead the team next year," Lamar said.

Is he worried about his Lamarius coming through to take all of his records away?

"Nah. I mean, well ... it would be a good thing, I guess," he said with a laugh. "I guess it would be all right. I wouldn't be too mad at him about it."

Lamarius definitely got out to a head start by notching his 1,000th point with a few games left to play in his junior season.

He isn't quite as torn up about the situation as his big bro, either.

"Yeah, I'm gunning for him," Lamarius said with a smirk. "I told him I'm gonna get him. He knows."


(1) comment

Matt Sandstrom

Great job Momence

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