I am on a lucky streak with my playoff choices so far this season. Things looked bleak at halftime but heated up quickly.
It was great to talk with the Libertyville players after the game, they were a real breath of fresh air. Apparently a lot of them listen to No Shot Clock, so they know that I picked against them and that I kinda joke that Drew Peterson never plays well when I’m in the gym.
Instead of the usual “oh we proved you wrong” that I get 99% of the time, the players were proud and happy that I was there to see them play well. They understood that when Joe Henricksen and I talk about the sport we love on the podcast that we aren’t picking people we like or dislike, we are just talking sports. So thanks Wildcats, it was great to see you play well and really heartening to learn that some teams actually understand the spirit in which Joe and I try to do things.
Tonight’s top games
Brother Rice 78, Kenwood 39: Not a surprise at all that the Crusaders won, but the score is quite a shock. Broncos do not end the season on a high note.
Dundee-Crown 45, Jacobs 40: Looks like we have a Cinderella story brewing.
Marist 67, Bloom 59: Morgan Taylor scored 24 points for the RedHawks. I’m sure Bloom’s sophs wanted a longer run in the playoffs, but they gave one of the area’s better teams a real challenge. Not bad at all for such a young squad. Soph Keshawn Williams led the Blazing Trojans with 23.
Willowbrook 61, Hinsdale South 56: This was one of the games I thought about covering. Huge win for the Warriors, who end Zion Griffin’s high school career.
Joliet Central 49, Oswego East 38: I had a feeling that it wasn’t such a bad thing for the Steelmen to lose to Oswego East a couple weeks ago. Here’s a bit on the game from Jeff DeGraw, @willcountysport
Trailing 35-31 with 6:20 left, the Steelmen went on an 18-0 run over six minutes
“I love these kids,” Joliet Central coach Lawrence Thompson, Jr. said. “There is no quit in anyone on this team. Defense was the name of the game tonight. We wanted to keep it simple, slow the game down, but, yet take advantage when we had a chance in transition. We weren’t going to run with then [Oswego East], they are too good of a team to do that.”
Niles North 68, St. Viator 60: Another game I wanted to be at, likely the best two overall teams that played each other tonight. Damaria Franklin got it done again, scored 22. He’s my next Milik Yarbrough. Really tired of everyone telling me why he isn’t a Division I player. We shall see.
Larkin 46, St. Charles North 43: The Royals are living up to the preseason hype a bit now. Huge win for a team with a really, really high ceiling.
Rock Island 65, Normal West 57: Big man Francis Okoro loses.
Lincoln-Way East 61, Romeoville 48: The Griffins win their first regional. The Spartans entered the season with a lot of hype and didn’t quite live up to it. Important to keep some perspective though, it was the first 20-win season in school history.
Homewood-Flossmoor 59, Thornton 54: Man, the Vikings are really going to be good next year. The Wildcats are better than people think. I figured that out at Andrew last month. They put up a real fight in this one.
Curie 67, Riverside-Brookfield 59: Strong end to the season for the Bulldogs. I don’t think many expected this game to be so close.
Bartlett 45, Wheaton-Warrenville South 42: Another possible Cinderella.
Proviso East 83, Fenwick 70: Ok everyone, I can admit when I’m wrong. The Friars lost a lot of games this season (to good teams) but I held the faith and kept them in the Super 25. The Pirates shot the heck out of the ball to get the upset. Trevor Moore scored 37.
Simeon 77, Crete-Monee 66: So maybe the Wolverines aren’t a state championship lock after all. Very interesting score. Kejuan Clements scored 30, Talen Horton-Tucker was held to eight.
Lincoln Park 74, Oak Park 70 OT: The Lions win a fun one. Terrence Shannon was the hero. I guess my midseason faith in Lincoln Park wasn’t so misplaced.
Moline 56, Danville 51: The shocker of the night. I really think the Vikings are one of the best teams in the state. Excited to see what Moline can do from here on.
Rich East 68, Hillcrest 65 OT: Wow, ok maybe this is the shocker of the night. The Rockets lost their coach and their best player midway through the season.
Corliss 67, Momence 43: MOMENCE WATCH ends. It was a fun run. Really dominant score here, impressive margin for the Trojans.
Annawan 63, Aurora Christian 54: A potential state champion loses. I don’t know anything about Annawan, but if they can beat AC they are pretty good.