Michael O’Brien’s notebook: Dec. 27, 2017

Rolling Meadow's Max Christie, left, defefnds as Hinsdale South's Zion Griffith drives toward the basket in their opening game of York's Tosh tournament, December 26, 2017. Allen Cunningham / for the Sun-Times.

There was plenty of talk about Rolling Meadows freshman Max Christie yesterday. That’s him up there in the photo guarding Zion Griffin. It won’t be the last picture you see of him on this website, that is for sure.

A change in plans for me today. I was over at Proviso West this morning to check out Uplift against Providence-St. Mel. Had a good talk with Titans junior Markese Jacobs, who is saying all the right things and playing well. Read about that here.

After Proviso I was over at Wheeling. Saw a little bit of Prospect’s overtime win against Maine West and then watched Geneva beat Notre Dame in the best game of the day for me. The Vikings were fun to watch. They will be dangerous in the playoffs and should be one of the area’s best teams next season.

I wrapped up the night over at the Big Dipper. Saw the end of Fred Cleveland and Leo’s takedown of Gary Bowman and then watched Romeoville dispose of Farragut pretty handily.

It was interesting getting a look at four different tournaments over the last two days. The last couple of seasons I’ve only been to Pontiac and Proviso West. York is the runaway winner for media friendliness. You probably noticed I was able to work productively and keep the notebook updated regularly yesterday. That’s because York had big media tables in both gyms. That wasn’t the case anywhere else.

As far as buzz in the gym and crowd, Rich South was the winner with Wheeling a distant second. There wasn’t much going on crowd wise at York when I was there and Proviso West was totally dead in the morning.

I’ll be in Pontiac for the next three days. It’s always fun trying out different things but in the end it is best at “home.”

BLOOMINGTON
First round
Wheaton-Warrenville South 61, Plainfield South 36: Parker Robinson and Jake Healy each scored 16. The Tigers are the top seed at the tournament.
Mahomet-Seymour 59, Thornwood 45
Rock Island 61, Rockford Lutheran 50
Normal 65, Springfield 46
North Lawndale 61, Zion-Benton 60: Clavonne Hillard hit four crucial free-throws to seal the win and then after the game he learned his mother died earlier in the day. Phoenix coach Lewis Thorpe says the team is a bit shell-shocked. Thoughts and best wishes to Hillard, who recently battled back from injury to become a starter for North Lawndale.
Metamora 37, Chatham Glenwood 36
Joliet Central 73, Normal U-High 46: Balanced scoring effort for the Steelmen. Ryan Saunders led the way with 16 and Cam Blackmon added 15.
Rockton Hononegah 66, North Chicago 54

DEKALB
First round
Schurz 68, Marmion 64: The undefeated Bulldogs have a chance to make a name for themselves this weekend. Just snuck past Marmion though. Nakyel Shelton had 21 points and 12 rebounds. Mick Sullivan scored 28 for Marmion.

HINSDALE CENTRAL
First round
DePaul Prep 43, Crete-Monee 30: Pavle Pantovic had 11 pts and 8 boards for the Rams and Joshua Evans scored 19 for Crete-Monee. Game started late, cold weather messing with buses. So be advised that HC is running behind.
Stevenson 48, Homewood-Flossmoor 47: My dark horse pick to win the tournament loses in the first round. The Patriots had lost four of their last five games, huge bounce-back win. Nick Bonk scored 13, Jackson Qualley 12, Matt Ambrose 10.
St. Rita 60, Westinghouse 53: Javon Cooley came off the bench to lead the Mustangs with 13. Saw they were trailing for awhile in this one. Every win is a big one for St. Rita these days.
Maine South 62, Richards 49: The Hawks have been circling around just outside the Super 25 for the past couple weeks. They are 8-2 now. Essam Hamwi scored 18.
Rockford Auburn 50, Glenbrook North 40
Bolingbrook 53, UP-Englewood 36: This was a four-point game at the half. The Raiders dominated the third quarter 15-3, but UP-Englewood is clearly no pushover. This was their first loss of the season. Tyler Cochran had 14 points and nine rebounds for Bolingbrook.
St. Charles East 70, Hinsdale Central 68 2OT: The Red Devils have been a tough out every year in their tournament. Justin Hardy scored 26 for the Saints, Matthew Rush had 25 for Hinsdale Central.
Lincoln Park 67, Marian Catholic 61: The Lions take another scalp and prove the win over Young was no fluke. Terrence Shannon scored 26 points and Tahir Thompson added 16.

PROVISO WEST
First round
Young 67, Longwood 45: Eleven players scored for the Dolphins. Javon Freeman led the way with 12. That is actually not going to hurt his POY chances at all. No one expects a guy to play every minute of a blowout and pump up a point total. Our POY voters are not morons.
Downers Grove North 43,  St. Joseph 33: Slight upset led by Trey Boston (16 points) and Semaj Henderson (14 points).
Bogan 75, Proviso East 64: The Bengals grab the quality win they have so desperately needed for a chance to get back into the Super 25. Jordan Booker scored 17 and Jeremiah Washington added 14. Rashaun Agee had 11 points and 11 boards.
Hillcrest 49, New Trier 41: Hard to call this one an upset. The Trevians were undefeated heading in but Hillcrest had a much better resume. Robert Harvey scored 25.
Larkin 47, Kenwood 40: This wasn’t a great watch according to neutral onlookers I heard from. I doubt that Larkin cares. Anthony Lynch scored 20 and Jalen Shaw had eight points and 12 rebounds.
Uplift 73, Providence-St. Mel 58
Fenwick 82, Proviso West 50: Statement score by the Friars. Sophomore DJ Steward led the way with 22 points and six assists. Big man Mike O’Laughlin added 18. Willante Williams led the host Panthers with 16.
Orr 73, Morton 48: Word is that the Spartans looked very good. Simeon transfer Terry Williams led the way with 14 points off the bench. Guess all the talk about Orr’s improved depth wasn’t just talk.

RICH SOUTH
Quarterfinals
Leo 74, Gary Bowman 54: If you had issues with Fred Cleveland’s inclusion on the preseason Top 50 list you are way too concerned with recruiting and don’t understand high school basketball. What a force, who cares how tall he is? Cleveland had 28 points and seven assists and five steals. Whatever top prospect you think should have been on the list in Cleveland’s place didn’t do that in the quarterfinals of a major tournament today. Dachaun Anderson continued his solid play with 21 points and 14 rebounds.
Romeoville 65, Farragut 52
Thornton 37, Rich South 34: The Stars had a chance to tie it at the end but couldn’t get the three-pointer to fall. DeMarco Collins led the Wildcats with 14 points.
Morgan Park 86, Hammond, IN 63: The Mustangs roll without Ayo Dosunmu. He was on crutches and didn’t play. His dad told me he has a Grade A sprain and is day-to-day. Adam Miller scored 39 points and had nine rebounds, Marcus Watson scored 21.

WHEELING
Sorry Wheeling, it is too late at night to pick through twitter for those box scores. This is a tournament website only edition of the notebook.

YORK
Second round
Wheaton North 54, St. Ignatius 51: I don’t think a lot of people would have had Wheaton North winning both games so far. The combo of Josh Sorenson (25 points, 12 rebounds) and Deng Reng (15 points) did it again.
Hinsdale South 54, Metea Valley 38: I keep telling people Hinsdale South has potential! Zion Griffin and Ramon Norman each scored 17. Just don’t forget that playoff run the Hornets went on last season. I know this is a different team, but Griffin was the driving force last year too.
Conant 61, St. Patrick 48: Last night I said that Ryan Davis was playing like a Duke recruit. So of course the Shamrocks held him to nine points tonight. Hey, Michael Thompson had rough nights too. You are old if you get that reference. Rajat Mittal stepped up and scored 17 to help the Cougars get the win.
York 46, Minooka 26: Ouch.
St. Laurence 66, Palatine 42: Timmy Molloy scored 24. The Vikings are getting it done with a lot of different guys scoring. Isaiah Harvey had eight assists.
Brother Rice 70, Andrew 65: Joe Henricksen said this was a pretty fun game. He raved about Josh Boulanger, who scored 20. I saw him play well earlier this season too. Troy Murphy scored 30 for the Thunderbolts.
Batavia 60, Highland Park 46: Eric Peterson had 17 points, the Bulldogs are looking like they might live up to that Henricksen hype.
Naperville North 50, Timothy Christian 29: Nice all-around game from Chris Johnson with 14 points, 12 rebounds and four assists.

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