Michael O’Brien’s notebook: Mar. 8, 2017

Joliet Central's Jomarre McNair (13) couldn't pull off the upset of Joliet West. Worsom Robinson/ For the Sun-Times.

Well I’m still buzzing from that game. Just a phenomenal high school basketball experience. Joliet packed the Lincoln-Way East gym. Both teams played well, West has far more talent and built a solid lead late. The Steelmen just would not quit. They roared back to take the lead and just fell short.

I’ve been watching Joliet basketball since the early 1990’s and I can say that this group of Steelmen is the gutsiest, toughest group I’ve ever seen. Yeah, they lost tonight, but kudos to Jose Grubbs, Cam Blackmon, Jojo McNair, Ryan King, Jason Bingham, Ryan Saunders, Marcellus Hornsby and Don Joachim.

Joliet West will play Bolingbrook on Friday. Throw that earlier matchup out the window, it’s going to be a heck of a game.

A little teaser: The Player of the Year and All-Area team will be announced tomorrow afternoon.

Tonight’s top games

Wheaton North 55, Hinsdale South 53: It is now officially pretty embarrassing that I haven’t covered Wheaton North yet this season. The Hornets should be proud of their playoff run and Zion Griffin returns next season.

Conant 33, Lake Park 23: No surprise here. Final score looks a bit painful though.

Jacobs 60, Hononegah 55: Cam Krutwig and the Golden Eagles are two games from Peoria.

Young 59, Kenwood 49: There hasn’t been much buzz around the Dolphins since they lost in the city tournament. That’s a mistake. This team is very capable of winning the state title next weekend.

Thornton 64, Brother Rice 58: Alonzo Verge didn’t shoot well, but still managed to do an awful lot of everything else to help the Wildcats get the win. The Crusaders definitely overachieved this season. Imagine what Bobby Frasor will be able to do once he gets a few more classes in.

Waukegan 75, Notre Dame 63: I’ve been saying it, Joe Henricksen has been saying it, anyone with eyes can see it. The Bulldogs are very dangerous. Don’t for one second think this was an upset. Waukegan is loaded with talent and playing in the Dog Pound. Friday night is going to be a war.



  • Lee

    Leegs1… Where you at? Is the team you was pulling for out? We’ve become accustomed to hearing your views on this stuff.

    • Leegs1

      Lee: still here, just sitting in the weeds. Mikey: good luck tomorrow. Congrats to coach Thompson and Joliet Central. Pulling for Newark. Knew a fella, “Bojack” Penosky, who coached there back in the day. Looks like the top and bottom brackets of the supers are loaded up in 4A. Saw Jeff Hickman’s name as player of the year in ’68. Probably the best player to ever come out of Lockport. Believe they lost to Evanston. He went to Houston and played with Elvin Hayes. Hurt in a freak accident after his freshman year and never played again. Another history lesson from an old fart. Exciting time of the year!

  • Juswatchin

    Coming off a player of the year award If Lil Zo gets hot Simeon might be in trouble….by far… the most unstoppable offensive force in the state!!

  • Juswatchin

    Joliet west vs Bolingbrook…. Facts…. Bolingbrook has jw beat in pf and pa, reb,stls,t/o, and of course ft%.. Brook has scored 80 or more pts 10 times this year including the win over JW.. JW scored 80 or more 3 times… JW will make the mistake and try to run with the Brook which will be there downfall… you must slow game down and have 3pt shooters…. Thats not how JW play…Brook by 10 again!!

    • Just the Facts

      On paper I’ll take the Raiders. JW lacks a true pg and small guards give those lanky guys fits. When they try to play fast they start making unforced errors let alone the forced ones. My worry is about the intensity we come out with and Binns has to have a good night. If they come out anything like they did against Lemont it will be a disaster.

  • Viator Family

    Tell Bennett, Marian and St. Pats we’re not a good Team and you’ll probably get a different story. Nobody said Viator would beat Simeon. That message was for O’Brien who has made 3A a joke on his podcasts.Stay in your lane Coach B. Know the whole story before you start jumping in. By the way, everyone started the playoffs with a new record and clean slate. We now just happen to be 3-0. Nothing wrong with being proud of our young Men is there?

    • Juswatchin

      Viator fans be patient.. JR Cison and crew will be unstoppable SR year…Your turn is around the corner… let it marinate a lil more!

      • Juswatchin

        And by then they’ll be mentioned right along with Simeon and any 4a, power… being 3a won’t matter… it just seems like Morgan Park is way ahead of any other 3a team this year

    • Johnny

      The Viator 3A Bracket has been as easy as you can ask for. They are not that good, just playing weak teams. Foreman, Payton and Vernon Hills. Don’t start giving Quinn Hayes coach of the year honors.

  • Coach Davis

    St.Viators had a brutal schedule this year… The team is young and the luck of the draw put them in position to still be playing…Coach Hayes will have his young man ready for friday…Good luck to the Lions… Cinderella season still in the works…. March Madness…

  • James

    Underdogs in 4a gone for the most part. Is a 6 seed the losest remaining team? Should make for some great basketball friday night. Hopefully JW is healty. Even healthy they are dogs to Bolingbrook. Should be fun.

    • Just the Facts

      Considering Bolingbrook is without a starter I would say West is the favorite. West has the physical advantage and probably the motivational advantage in that theyre revenge seeking.I didnt see last nights game, but sometimes a team can ride an emotional high into the next game. The Raiders coming off of a pretty sound beating of West Aurora in the 2nd half likely will have trouble matching the intensity of a pumped West.

      • Juswatchin

        Bolingbrook is not missing a starter!!!! Trevor Ross hasn’t played since Christmas and didn’t play in the 1st matchup…. The result will be the same as b4…Brook by 10

        • Just the Facts

          Trevor Ross was a starter. Fact. Just about anytime you lose a Sr starter and replace him with a soph backup you are losing something. Trevor did a lot of things that dont necessarily show up in the stat sheet that made Bolingbrook better. This is the playoffs.

          Intensity can definitely be a problem, thats why Lemont just about beat them. Thats why West Aurora was in it for the 1st half and much of the 3rd qtr.

          Now do I hope The Brook is able to match the intensity of West? Absolutely. I hope its a blowout from the opening tip.

          • Juswatchin

            1. Tyler Cochran the soph. had more pts,reb,ast,and stls in every game that Trevor started in…Fact…. Losing a big guard is important but like i said Trevor hasn’t played since Christmas!

          • BG

            Like juswatchin said….Tyler Cochran!!!!

      • Juswatchin

        Find another reason…..Intensity is never a problem for Bolingbrook.

      • Straight OUTTA BOLINGBROOK

        Bolingbrook took care of the business
        Joliet west is no match for Bolingbrook but west can beat them in dancing
        Go Raiders 🏀

  • Viator Family

    We figure if we keep winning by 30+, you might at least acknowledge what we’re doing. Maybe since Ridgewood is out you’re mad but you could show a little love… The Daily Herald, Tribune and Pioneer Press get a thumbs up though.

    • Coach B

      Down in the back!!! You don’t get kudos for beating Foreman by 30. Or for beating Payton in the Regional. Lol. Congrats to them both for getting there, same could be said for you. I’ve seen Viator twice, they aren’t a very good team. Favorable playoff draw. Are you in the NEIGHBORHOOD of .500 yet?

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