Breaking down the city title favorites, contenders and dark horses

Orr's Raekwon Drake (25) takes the ball away from Young's Jake Kosakwoski (15) Thursday 02-01-18. Worsom Robinson/For the Sun-Times.

Four-class basketball is a mess, so thank goodness for the city tournament.

The only team in the area — and maybe in the state — that most observers think can give Simeon a real challenge is Orr. The Spartans are in Class 2A and the Wolverines in Class 4A, so the only way that game can happen is if both teams advance to the city title game at Chicago State.

There are several speed bumps in the road for both teams, though. Here’s where things stand as the playoffs begin:

FAVORITES

Simeon: The Wolverines are one of the best teams in the country, and coach Robert Smith says this squad might be more dominant than any of his six state-title winners. Talen-Horton Tucker is the clear favorite for Player of the Year, and a city title would go a long way toward securing the award. Simeon has a challenging road to the title game. It might face North Lawndale in the second round, and Young or Morgan Park likely will be waiting in the semifinals.

Orr: Dannie Smith and Raekwon Drake feel disrespected and overlooked. They are two of the most dominant players in the state, but college coaches just don’t seem to care. The Spartans have played with fire and passion all season, and the city title might mean more to them than any other team. Orr should cruise into the semifinals, where a rematch against Curie is likely.

Curie: The Condors haven’t wowed observers this season, but they just keep winning. Maurice Commander has been contributing more lately, and junior DaJuan Gordon is developing into a force. Curie hasn’t been able to mount much of a challenge in two losses to Simeon, but it defeated Orr at the beginning of the season.

CONTENDERS

Young: The Dolphins seemed to be on the decline a week ago, giving up massive amounts of points. They lost at Orr last week, but their performance was impressive. Young didn’t let the taller Spartans control the post, and point guard Xavier Castaneda was more aggressive and productive than ever before. Coach Tyrone Slaughter regularly has the Dolphins playing their best at this time of year, and it looks as though he has pulled that off again.

Morgan Park: Ayo Dosunmu is back from his ankle injury. The Illinois recruit has missed 10 games, and the Mustangs have had mixed results without him. Sophomore guards Adam Miller and Marcus Watson have been spectacular in his absence. Morgan Park’s road to the title is terribly difficult. It might have to beat Young and Simeon just to get to a title-game matchup against Orr.

DARK HORSES

Lincoln Park: The Lions have lost three games in a row, but Terrence Shannon and Chris Roberts lead a dangerous team. Lincoln Park is the only team in the state other than Orr to beat Young. The Lions also have beaten North Lawndale, DePaul Prep and Marian Catholic.

Uplift: The Titans aren’t consistent, but they are occasionally spectacular. Markese Jacobs is one of the top talents in the state, and Toraze Dobbs can dominate games.

First Round
Feb. 6, 5 p.m.
(WN3) Foreman at (RN1) Orr
(WN1) Lane at (RS8) Harlan
(RN9) Westinghouse at (RN5) Farragut
(WS2) Julian at (RS4) Bogan

(WC3) Hubbard at (RS2) Curie
(WC1) UP-Englewood at (RN7) Marshall
(RS10) Dunbar at (RS5) Kenwood
(WW2) Collins at (RN3) Lincoln Park

(WS3) Longwood at (RS1) Simeon
(WS1) Corliss at (RN8) North Lawndale
(RS9) Brooks at (RS5) Hyde Park
(WN2) Payton at (RN4) Uplift

(WW3) Clark at (RN2) Young
(WW1) Crane at (RS7) Vocational
(RN10) Von Steuben at (RN5) Prosser
(WC2) King at (RS3) Morgan Park

Second Round
Feb. 8

Quarterfinals
Feb. 13

Semifinals
Feb. 16 at Chicago State

Championship
Feb. 18 at Chicago State

8 comments

  • gene martin

    one of reason kids not getting enough publicity, i live out of state & hard to find information on high school games, unless you pay a service. I went to a CPS school in late 60’s & we called in box score of every game, you think in the world today, this info would be available, maybe the practice should start over, & maybe people can read about promising young players

  • Chuck Lewis

    Well Mr. O’Brien Big George & Corliss it past North Lawndale and now must face the Mighty Simeon Wolverines, I know it’s a stretch to think that they can beat them but anything can happen and my question to you sir is, DO YOU LIKE OR RESPECT CORLISS YET???

  • Robbie

    Who is 0 from Longwood? His last name is Martins…they face guarded him and after he figured it out he ran off 23 in the 2nd half

  • B max

    ORR will cruise into the semi with Curie. Should beat Curie at this point. Simeon vs ORR for the City title.

  • MD

    Why don’t all the conference champion get to play at home . It not fair that all the white champs have to play on the road to 8th and 9th seeded red teams. This gives the low red team a big advantage do you agree.

  • Clyde The Glide

    It looks like the best teams are grouped correctly but I don’t understand the seeding/pairings. Gotta be a typo because Red 10 and 9 south and north are both playing the same team (5)
    RS10 vs RS5, then RS9 vs RS5???; RN10 vs RN5, then RN9 vs RN5???
    Seems easier to just seed them 1-32. Watch out for Bogan and Uplift for upsets.

  • Aquagod92

    Winner of the Simeon/MP game will win city. If Pearson is back by then……it will be a great game.

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