O’Brien: Messiah Jones, Simeon dominate Oak Park

Oak Park's Phil Saleh (40) tries to stop Simeon's Messiah Jones (15). Worsom Robinson/ For the Sun-Times.

PONTIAC — No. 2 Simeon played a sluggish first quarter against Oak Park in the quarterfinals of the Pontiac Holiday Tournament on Thursday. Senior Evan Gilyard stepped up in the second quarter and the Wolverines dominated the second half to cruise to a 65-45 win over the Huskies.

“I don’t know what happened,” Simeon coach Robert Smith said. “[Oak Park] just started missing easy bunnies. It worked to our favor. They were still in the game [in the third quarter] and we were playing bad.”

The No. 13 Huskies (10-2) only trailed by 12 after three quarters, but it felt like much more. Oak Park never played with a spark, likely because the Wolverines (9-0) were able to contain seniors Jared Scott (11 points) and Cam Gross (three points).

Simeon junior Messiah Jones was the defensive key on those two Oak Park bigs. He’s undersized, but used his long arms and leaping ability to maximum ability.

“[Jones] reminds me of Ed Morrow,” Smith said. “His motor is not as high as Ed’s but he does the same things on the court, he blocks shots and rebounds. We don’t have to run plays for him, he’s going to get baskets.”

Jones had 20 points, eight rebounds and four blocked shots. Gilyard finished with 22 points and four assists. Junior Kezo Brown scored 12.

The Wolverines will face Bloom, an upset winner against Joliet West, in the semifinals on Friday.

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