PEORIA — When Belleville West won its first Class 4A state basketball title last year, Lawrence Brazil III played a totally different role than he did on Saturday night.

And fellow senior Will Shumpert wasn’t even on the team.

But both came through in a big way to help the Maroons win their second straight state title with a 71-59 decision over Evanston at Carver Arena.

Brazil, the team’s second-leading scorer, finished with just two points after scoring 18 in last year’s title game. And he took great pride in his efforts against the Wildkits.

He did his best work on the defensive end of the court, shutting down Evansville sharpshooter Blake Peters.

The Wildkits sophomore had torched Rockford East from 3-point range in the semifinals, going 7-for-8 from downtown and finishing with a game-high 27 points in a 94-82 shootout.

Against Belleville West, Peters netted just five points and went 0-for-2 from beyond the arc. He didn’t shoot his first trey of the game until there was about 3:10 left in the game.

“After we watched the Evanston game, I asked coach, ‘So, who’s going to guard 15 (Peters)?' " said Brazil, who entered the game averaging 13 points a game. “I told him I wanted to do it.

“I’ll give up scoring for defense, which is something I take pride it. I studied film on them. I studied their game all night. My only job I wanted to have was to guard 15. I wanted to hold him to no 3-pointers and five points. And I got the job done tonight.”

Maroons coach Joe Muniz said Brazil has a future as a coach.

“Before we played Bolingbrook (in the supersectionals), he came into my classroom during fifth hour when I have lunch and said, ‘Coach, here is my scouting report.’ I looked at it, and it was pretty close to what I had.

“He told me he was going to shut down 15. And he’s done that before, telling me, ‘Coach, I’ll lock down on that guy. I’ll never leave him, I promise!’ I didn’t want him to get into foul trouble. And he did it. That’s the type of leader he is and what he means to this team.”

Shumpert, a transfer from Christian Brothers College High School, finished with 21 points, including some rim-shaking dunks down the stretch when the Maroons pulled away.

He was a big unknown to the coach coming into the season.

“I had never seen him play, and I didn’t know anything about him,” Muniz said. “The kids knew him, playing against him growing up.They just said he could jump.”

And jump he did.

Shumpert, a 6-6 forward who came into the state finals averaging under 10 points a game, said he transferred to Belleville West because he was just coming home.

“I’m originally from Illinois,” he said. “So I was just moving back with my friends.”

He took full advantage when the Wildkits doubled-up on all-state forward EJ Liddell (24 points, 10 rebounds) and left the paint wide open for some dunks and layups.

“A lot of times during the year, teams would crash down on EJ, and he looks for other players,” Schumpert said. “We just made it happen tonight.

“I was a little nervous when I first joined the team, because it came with a lot of responsibilities. So I just had to pick it up and do my job on the team.”

Muniz said that Shumpert has evolved into a player throughout the season.

“The thing is, he’s the fifth scorer on our team,” Muniz said. “So a lot of teams don’t guard him, because they’re helping on EJ.

“He’s bought into the fact that he can go to the glass and get as many put-backs and dunks as he wants. And he’s been very successful with it.”

Some of the dunks by Shumpert this season have impressed even his coach.

“EJ has got some nice dunks, but Shumpert has had four or five this year that just mesmerize you with his ability,” Muniz said.

Shumpert and Brazil were both impressive enough on Saturday to help the Maroons win back-to-back state titles.

Johnny Campos can be reached at 686-3214 or jcampos@pjstar.com. Follow him on Twitter @JohnnyCampos59.