Michael O’Brien’s notebook: Feb. 27, 2018

Maine West's Julian Dones (10) controls the ball in the first half against Notre Dame, February 27, 2018. | Allen Cunningham/ For the Sun-Times.

A severe case of March Madness was diagnosed tonight in Glenview. I know that is pretty cheesy, but I don’t care. Tonight ruled.

Everything you need for excellent, fun high school basketball was on hand at Glenbrook South. A great gym, big crowds with student sections and kids playing with maximum effort to keep their seasons alive.

Evanston started slow but knocked off Glenbrook South. The Titans have played a lot of good teams close this season, they are better than their record indicates. They are also basically all sophomores and juniors. Don’t be surprised if they wind up in the Super 25 next season.

It’s a real shame I didn’t see Maine West play until tonight. What a fun basketball team. Guards Julian Dones and Darrington Bates can score and the two bigs just play phenomenally hard. Matt Kentgen and Jack Collins are 6-4 seniors that play like they are 6-9. Congrats to the Warriors on a great season. They left it all on the court tonight. But Notre Dame freshman Anthony Sayles was just too much.

Read all about the regional semifinal action tonight at Glenbrook South.

Tonight’s top games

Benet 59, Downers Grove South 47: This game went like a lot of others tonight. A heavy favorite expected to do really well in the sectional was either down early or barely winning, then handled things nicely at the end.

Bolingbrook 78, Plainfield Central 66: The Raiders have so much potential, but they have been very difficult to figure out this season. This close of a game in the regional semis indicates there might be trouble ahead. Or maybe it will be a wakeup call? Hard to say.

Loyola 69, Hersey 31: Check out that point total. Quite a performance by the Ramblers. Pete Mangan scored 19.

Young 73, Morton 61: This one was very close until the final minute or so. Upset watch was very much activated. I’m hearing that Xavier Castaneda might not have played. I don’t know why.

Larkin 50, Elgin 43: The Royals barely survive against their rivals. Anthony Lynch led the way with 23 points. Everything I wrote about Bolingbrook also totally applies to Larkin. They could wind up at state or they could lose on Friday. It’s really puzzling.

Hinsdale South 43, DeKalb 37: The Hornets got everything they could handle.

Marist 75, Richards 65: Another game way closer than expected. Morgan Taylor scored 23. Trevon Jones led Richards with 22.

Wheaton-Warrenville South 53, Wheaton North 37: The Tigers roll over their rivals. Jake Healy scored 19. Yeah, I picked Wheaton North in this one. I’m kinda intrigued by junior Deng Reng. And at this point I have to poke fun at Tigers fans or let them drive me insane. There is no other option. Reng scored 14.

Libertyville 53, Deerfield 52: This one is too close to even say it might be a wakeup call. Plenty of people expect an awful lot from Drew Peterson and the Wildcats the next few weeks. Not a convincing start.

Geneva 62, Downers Grove North 44: These are two teams I’m pretty high on. I expect both to be ranked next season and be among the better teams in the suburbs. Geneva lived up to the billing tonight. Meanwhile the Trojans have had a very rough last month of the season.

Joliet Central 53, Yorkville 46: The Steelmen struggle but survive. They will have to play much better to get past Oswego East on Friday. Don Joachim led the way with 16 and Cameron Blackmon scored 10.

Prospect 60, Glenbrook North 39: The Knights didn’t mess around, looks like they handled a good team well. Johnny Czeslawski led with 19 points.

Lincoln-Way East 69, Joliet West 58: The Griffins receded from the spotlight a bit the past month. Will be interesting to see if they can put together a playoff run. Sam Shafer scored 23 and Zach Parduhn added 19.

DePaul Prep 59, ITW Speer 39: I don’t know anything at all about ITW Speer basketball, but it kept pace with the Rams for an awful lot of this game.

St. Rita 67, Brooks 37: The Mustangs took care of business tonight. Jordan Matthews scored 21.

Bogan 95, DuSable 56: Looks like Jordan Booker is healthy. The junior guard scored 29 for the Bengals.

Hillcrest 65, Rich South 63: How about that score? Didn’t see this one on Twitter. One of the most likely bets for Peoria almost lost in the regional semis. It might be a very wild month. Robert Harvey scored 21 and Jalen Hughes added 20. Jalen Collins scored 30 for the Stars. Scot Ritter can coach.

Morgan Park 90, Evergreen Park 58: Monster numbers for unsigned senior Cam Burrell. He had 44 points, 16 rebounds and five blocks.

Momence 65, Seneca 55: MOMENCE WATCH is on fire. The Redskins are into the sectional final. Lamar Lillard scored 27 points for the second consecutive game.

Hope Academy 72, Phillips 63: The Eagles survive a tough test. Someone that was at the game told me that Phillips’ starters “all have Talen Horton-Tucker length.”



  • GT Alum

    No idea how ITW Speer came in as a #15 seed. Likely a strength of schedule issue, but they have a couple really good players on that team and for a while Depaul had no answers. Depaul is very lucky they had a strong 2nd half and wore them down. Seemed liked Cowan never touched the bench until they pulled the starters with a couple minutes left

  • chris

    Consensus Sauce it Down Top 25

    1. Simeon – 26-3
    2. Orr – 25-4
    3. Curie – 24-4
    4. Young – 23-7
    5. Morgan Park – 19-9
    6. Evanston – 22-5
    7. Benet – 24-4
    8. West Aurora – 22-4
    9. Niles North – 25-4
    10. Uplift 18-10
    11. New Trier – 23-5
    12. Fenwick – 20-7
    13. Marist – 25-4
    14. St. Viator – 24-5
    15. Naperville North – 25-2
    16. OPRF – 23-5
    17. Hillcrest – 22-5
    18. Maine South – 22-7
    19. DePaul Prep – 22-6
    20. Marian Catholic – 21-5
    21. H-F – 20-6
    22. Bogan – 19-8
    23. Loyola 23-6
    24. Joliet Central -22-5
    25. Bolingbrook 20-6

    On the Verge:

    Hinsdale South – 21-6 , LWE – 22-5, Prospect – 22-5, Corliss 22-4 , Hope Academy 25-4 , WWS – 23-6 , Willowbrook – 24-5, Aurora Christian 25-1, Larkin 20-8 ,Jacobs 25-3 Oswego East – 20-7 , Northtown 22-4, Notre Dame 14-15, Libertyville 18-9, Geneva 19-12, St. Rita 17-11,

    Honorable Mention:

    Leo – 20-6, 8-0
    Northridge – 22-6, 12-0

  • chris

    went to the OPRF and Prosser game at Lane. OPRF is a very good top10 potential team and match up with Whitney Young in Semi-Sectional at R-B could be coming

    • chris

      St. Joes in their home regional plays Iggy tonight and if they win , they can give Young a game on their home court!

  • James

    Mike Geneva looked great last night. Good chance for a win friday, but DGN looked horrible. Their guards really struggled shooting.

  • CoachWalt_W

    Scot Ritter can coach for sure. Always gets the most out of his players, and is more suitable for college. I learned a lot as an assistant with him. Rich South for life. Class of 02

  • Tom Anstett

    Having coached high school for 41 years, I know the tribulations of the initial state tournament game for every team and coach. No matter the ranking or the record or the expectations, that first game causes a couple of sleepless nights leading up to it and plenty of unpredictability. The pressure, self-inflicted or not, is unique. If ever there is a case of “anything can happen,” this scenario proves that adage true. Anything does. After that first game, teams can settle in a bit more. Just my experience with this special week in a prep basketball season.

    • Duke Carnoustie

      Well said coach. Thank you for your contributions to the children of the area. We need more coaches like you.

  • chris

    Consensus Sauce it Down Top 25

    1. Simeon – 26-3
    2. Orr – 24-4
    3. Curie – 24-4
    4. Young – 23-7
    5. Morgan Park – 19-9
    6. Evanston – 22-5
    7. Benet – 24-4
    8. West Aurora – 22-4
    9. Niles North – 25-4
    10. New Trier – 23-5
    11. Fenwick – 20-7
    12. Marist – 25-4
    13. St. Viator – 23-5
    14. Naperville North – 25-2
    15. OPRF – 23-5
    16. Hillcrest – 22-5
    17. Maine South – 22-7
    18. DePaul Prep – 22-6
    19. Marian Catholic – 21-5
    20. H-F – 20-6
    21. Bogan – 19-8
    22. Loyola 23-6
    23. Joliet Central -22-5
    24. Uplift – 18-9
    25. Bolingbrook 20-6

    On the Verge:

    Hinsdale South – 21-6 , LWE – 22-5, Prospect – 22-5, Corliss 21-4 , Hope Academy 25-4 , WWS – 23-6 , Willowbrook – 23-5, Aurora Christian 24-1, Larkin 20-8 ,Jacobs 25-3 Oswego East – 19-7 , Northtown 22-4, Notre Dame 14-15, Libertyville 18-9, Geneva 19-12, St. Rita 17-11,

    Honorable Mention:

    Leo – 20-6, 8-0
    Northridge – 22-6, 12-0

  • City hooper

    Your picks are garbage

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