Michael O’Brien’s notebook: March 6, 2018

Morgan Park's Cam Burrell (3) gets a big dunk late in the third quarter against St, Laurence, Tuesday 03-06-18. Worsom Robinson/For the Sun-Times.

The Sun-Times All-Area team has been selected. It won’t be released until Thursday online and Friday in the paper, but I know the 20 guys that made the cut.

A few of the players that just missed out had really big games tonight. That always makes me a little fidgety. The panel that chooses the team takes the responsibility very seriously. I can’t imagine that anyone sees more games than we do. None of us are giving half-baked opinions on players we haven’t watched play (like that guy on Twitter tonight that says THT won’t ever start in college). We do the best job we can.

I took in another playoff doubleheader tonight. I’m going to set a personal record for playoff games watched in one season. Morgan Park looked rock solid in front of Illinois coach Brad Underwood, who made a pretty low-key appearance at St. Laurence.

Bogan’s Jordan Booker is a real star in the making. It’s going to be interesting to see just where the young Bengals wind up in next year’s preseason Super 25 rankings. One prominent Public League coach texted me tonight that he believes they might be the best team in the area next season.

Read all about the two St. Laurence sectional semifinal games.

Tonight’s top games
CLASS 4A

Larkin 60, Rockford Auburn 54: Anthony Lynch scored 28 and Jalen Shaw had 19 points and 13 rebounds. They are playing like one of the best guard/big man combos in the state right now.

Benet 47, Bartlett 41: The Hawks won’t be our Cinderella story this season I guess, but they gave Benet a challenge. Junior Will Engels led the Redwings with 15.

Lake Zurich 54, Libertyville 50: Drew Peterson wasn’t able to save the Wildcats in this one. Lake Zurich has really been ignored this season for the most part. That is ending now. JR Cison led the way with 16. He was very impressive when I saw him play last year for St. Viator.

Belleville West 66, Quincy 33: Total domination. Belleville West hasn’t lost to an in-state team this season. Neither has Simeon. The two teams may be on a collision course.

Evanston 61, Loyola 51: The Wildkits pull it out. Lance Jones played well, especially in the first half.

Bolingbrook 94, Joliet Central 91 2 OT: The locals are calling this one a classic, clearly the game of the night. It’s easy to see this being a real springboard win for the Raiders. It was last year.

Barrington 55, Fremd 45: Anthony Spann scored 13 for the Broncos, who beat the Vikings for the second time this season.

Simeon 70, Brother Rice 55: The Crusaders kept it close for a half before running out of gas.

Willowbrook 47, Naperville North 43: I was lucky enough to be there for one of sophomore Everett Stubblefield’s big games when he was first elevated to varsity a couple months ago. He’s becoming a force. Stubblefield scored all 16 of his points in the second half to help Willowbrook comeback and win.

Curie 50, Proviso East 30: Who needs superstars when you are as deep and athletic as the Condors?

Moline 55, Rock Island 43: The Maroons, who knocked off Danville on Friday in a shocker, keep the run going.

CLASS 3A
Burlington Central 77, Johnsburg 56: Zach Toussaint goes down. The high-scoring junior scored 23 but it wasn’t enough. Burlington Central is another team that has flown under my radar this season.

Marian Catholic 66, Pontiac 40: The Indians were at home, but it didn’t matter. The Spartans are heavy favorites to advance to the super sectional.

Farragut 67, De La Salle 58: The young Admirals are getting exactly the deep playoff run you can bet coach Wolf Nelson was hoping for.

DePaul Prep 51, Antioch 28: Pretty much as expected.

CLASS 2A
Winnebago 58, Corliss 55: The Trojans fall a bit short. Great season for Corliss though. Harvey Jones has really injected some life into the program.

Orr 74, Hope Academy 64: This one was a laugher in the first half but clearly the Eagles stepped up and made it a game in the second half. The Spartans are heading back to Peoria.

CLASS 1A
Newman Central Catholic 61, Providence-St. Mel 60: Heartbreak for the tiny Catholic school on the West Side. The area won’t have a local team heading to Peoria for the Class 1A finals.

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33 comments

  • WPB

    Any team that refuses to line up and shake hands after a game should not be listed in the top 25.Players represent their school.When St.Joe’s entire team refused to congratulate Whitney Young last week on its victory,they disrespected their coach,school,and high school sports.

  • chris

    Consensus Sauce it Down Top 25

    1. Simeon – 28-3
    2. Orr – 28-4
    3. Curie – 26-4
    4. Young – 25-7
    5. Morgan Park – 21-9
    6. Evanston – 24-5
    7. Benet – 26-4
    8. West Aurora – 24-4
    9. New Trier – 25-5
    10. Marist – 27-4
    11. DePaul Prep – 24-6
    12. Marian Catholic – 23-5
    13. Bolingbrook 22-6
    14. Willowbrook – 26-5
    15. Bogan – 21-8
    16. Larkin 24-8
    17. Niles North – 26-5
    18. Naperville North – 26-3
    19. H-F – 21-7
    20. Lincoln Park 19-10
    21. Joliet Central -23-6
    22. Loyola 24-7
    23. Proviso East 20-9
    24. Corliss 23-5
    25. LWE – 23-6

    On the Verge:

    Lake Zurich 25-7 , Barrington 24-6, Farragut 18-10, North Lawndale 17-10 , North Chicago 20-8

    Honorable Mention:

    Fenwick – 20-8, 8-0
    St. Viator – 24-6, 9-0
    Hillcrest – 22-6,13-0
    OPRF – 23-6, 12-0
    Jacobs 25-4, 16-0
    Prospect 22-6, 10-0
    Hope Academy 26-5 , 6-0
    Leo – 20-6, 8-0
    Northridge – 22-6, 12-0
    Aurora Christian 25-2, 10-0

  • Jay Will

    Why does no one give Chicago Hope Academy any credit they moved up a class and probably can beat Orr they just had a bad start once they went into a man to man Orr didn’t score so easily and Javeon May is definitely a gamer.

    • B Max

      Orr took the foot off the gas. They dont try and blow teams out…hence as to why their stars only play half the mins. Although Hope is solid Orr wins 99% of the time

      • Jay Will

        I agree that Orr is a great team I have no intentions of taking anything away from them I’ve watched three of their main players grow and develop into the talented individuals that they currently are I guess I should have worded my question to be why is it that Hope gets no recognition for their accomplishments. Leo was the only team said to have a chance against Orr in 2A play and they lost to a good Marshall team filled with sophomores that was eliminated by Hope and Leo remained ranked higher than Hope . No intentions on taking anything from Orr I’ve just always been a fan that cheers for the underdog.

  • chris

    Evanston 61, Loyola 51. 4A Final at Maine East. Evanston: Lance Jones 25. Loyola: Kevin Cunningham 24 finishes great career as Rambler!. Jordan Kwiecinski 10- sophmore
    Lance Jones with 13 points and Evanston leads Loyola 15-5 after 1st quarter..
    Loyola was on absolute life support just before the half, trialing 31-12 before 8-0 run from Jordan Kwiecinski & Kevin Cunningham in final minute of half. Lance Jones (17 pts) was special for Kits, who lead 31-20 at the half
    Wow! Loyola trailed 27-7 at one point. Now the Ramblers have cut that deficit to 31-29 and momentum has completely swung. ..
    Loyola comes all the way back from 20 points down to tie up Evanston. But Lance Jones responds with a big three to push Kits back to a 38-35 lead with 3 minutes to play in 3rd quarter.
    Blake Peters knocks down a 3 before the buzzer to push Evanston lead to 43-37 heading to the 4th after a furious Loyola comeback.
    Loyola was down 11 midway through 4th quarter but pushing back again. Evanston leads 52-48 with 2:18 to play ….
    Evanston beats Loyola 61-51 behind 25 points from Lance Jones. Loyola was down 20, came back to tie it in second half as Kevin Cunningham finishes with 24.
    Lance Jones keeps E-Town Alive – young team looking very good. Their Motion Offense can be slow against top Defensive teams. They faced 2-3 Syracuse shifting zone for most of the game. No doubt Lance Jone is D1 talent with more upside potential, only a Junior!

  • proshotclock

    Marquise Kennedy is better than Ayo Donsumu, and he has a year left! Ask Simeon
    Horton Tucker has a game very similar to D-Wade…he is by far the best Sr. In the class, and a legit NBA prospect. Huge loss for the ever fledgling Illini.

  • Steve

    Super impressed by Willowbrook comeback. They have relentless pressure on D and it wore Naperville down.

    • Wscfantoo

      Great to see the team that was all talk about ‘real basketball’ 2 weeks ago fail. Bye bye Naperville North.

  • eye in the sky

    ORR’s run isnt really that inpressive , they should have moved up to play in 3A . If they can pull that off then it would have been impressive. They still havent proved they can beat the big dogs.

    • Craig S. Siller

      I think sometimes we’re so busy looking at What team plays who we’re missing out on the actual great team that we’re looking at. Orr kind of reminds me of the 85 Providence St Mel’s team. Dominant and his class. St. Mel had AA Talent but they played in single A, not their fault. Same thing with Orr, it’s not their fault that they’re in 2A but their run is still impressive . Great team. Those great Quincy teams of the 1980s play Nobody, and easily got downstate all the time. Because City teams had to be each other up just to get down state and only once did they play Quincy. I think we should look at the fact that those kids are great team, do I wish there were 3A yes but they’re not. So I’m just go ahead

      • Leegs1

        Better check the ihsa records for Quincy. ’78-’79,’80-’81,’81-’82, they took first, second and a third and beat two of three Chicago schools they played over that time frame in the state tourney. Saw them play at Pontiac each of those years. Thornridge era teams were probably better, but Quincy was right up there. Had the Douglas brothers, as I recall. Also check out pre tourney and post tourney top sixteen on ihsa website for those or any years.

        • lefty

          Quincy was AA anyway. Highest level they could go.

          • Leegs1

            I believe, back then, it was possible that four Chicago teams could reach the super sectionals, and two the quarterfinals and beyond, if they continued to win.

        • Manny

          The State finals were played at UOI in the 80s. Mendel Catholic with Andre Banks broke the 80 game winning streak of the Douglas Brothers at Quincy in 82. The winner that year was East St Louis. The memories – I saw a York team give Mendel a good run in the Supersectional that year after beating two top 5 teams to advance (De laSalle (Diego Brothers) and Proviso East. More trivia – that York Team had Joe Newton’s (the great cross country coach) son on it. I cannot remember yesterday – but remember the 82 superssectional…..

        • Craig S. Siller

          I’m not questioning Quincy’s record, it speaks for itself. But I’m questioning Quincy’s wanted to play City Schools. I’m questioning Quincy’s opponents to get to Champaign every year. East st. Louis will come up to Chicago from time to time and pledge Chicago School and that was during they’re one of three peat. If you were Chicago School and wanted to play Quincy you have to go down there. The best team Quincy had and they considered one of the best of all time what’s the 1981 team. That team beats Phillips buy a point and it’s on Thanksgiving tournament, and it was over time. My point being they were considered a great team and they were. Who they play on a high school level sometimes can’t be helped but they were still considered great. And that’s the point I’m making about Orr, very good coaching staff good kids they have gone through a lot like a lot of these kids and if come together to have a great team. So let’s celebrate the great team, that’s all I’m saying. But I do understand your point.

          • lefty

            The appetite to travel other than at the holidays was not what it is now. I don’t know who demands all this interstate travel to play so called elite teams, but teams rarely did that in the 80’s.

            Also then CPS had a berth to the quarterfinals-in Champaign. CPS was automatically in AA, but not sure any CPS was under the cutoff then anyway.

    • B Max

      They beat Curie Young 2x Fenwick 2 of tge top teams in St louis in Hazelcrest and Vashon. Tyler Herros wisconsin team. 9-0 in Red NW. What are u talking about? Tge 2A playoffs are what they are but lets not think for one second that they wouldnt be 3A favorites either

  • Leegs1

    Joliet was up by two with five seconds left in regulation and fouled Thornton on the inbounds. He made both free throws, sending the game into overtime. Joliet missed six free throws in the two over times. Disputed call in the final minute of regulation with a scuffle occurring resulting in three technicals called, one against joliet and two against Bolingbrook. Thornton was definitely the difference. Could be another good one if they play West Aurora. Springfield Lanphier beat Champaign Central by two in two over times. Thought they might give Orr a battle. Finke’s high school career ends.

  • Jim

    Marquise Kennedy of Br. Rice the real deal. Next year top five prospect. Simeon tough, keep coming at you. Br. Rice great half of basketball! Team with some big’s will give Simeon some problems, second chance points the difference last night. Fantastically entertaining first half!

  • RB

    Corliss is definitely on the map! They made history and have gone farther than any other team in Corliss history. They got a taste of success and will be an exciting team to watch next season, especially with the majority of their team returning, and key additions.

  • J

    Great half of basketball by the Crusaders last night, Simeon wore them down. Marquise Kennedy best one on floor! One question, same rules apply to all teams? Time outs, warm ups and even at half time, Simeon has five ” security guards” on the floor! Who’s floor is it, the refs or Bob’s? Kids and whoever wanted shooting with team at half time warm ups! Outrageous! Let’s go IHSA, your refs are intimadated easily. Lets be professional! Better team won, no lock, however.

  • Duke Carnoustie

    Gotta feel for Providence-St. Mel. Some great players came through there. I always root for them. Back in the day, there were some great games on the playgrounds at Garfield Park. Even ol’ Duke was down for some of that action and was good for a bucket or two. Some great memories

  • Juswatchin

    On the verge…….GIVE OSWEGO EAST SOME RESPECT

  • Juswatchin

    Belleville west vs Simeon? Summer don’t matter but Bolingbrook beat Belleville West at the Morris shootout and all hands were on deck… Basically what I’m saying is don’t be so sure Belleville West will make it that far!! #no guarantees

    • Just the facts

      I agree. Bellville West is probably the favorite, but these guys were also super impressed by Danville and Champaign Central, both of whom I tried to warn Mike and Joe about, both of whom have been eliminated already. I didn’t see the game last night but from what I understand the 2nd half looked like the team we know and love.

  • chris

    Consensus Sauce it Down Top 25

    1. Simeon – 28-3
    2. Orr – 28-4
    3. Curie – 26-4
    4. Young – 24-7
    5. Morgan Park – 21-9
    6. Evanston – 24-5
    7. Benet – 26-4
    8. West Aurora – 23-4
    9. Niles North – 26-4
    10. New Trier – 24-5
    11. Marist – 26-4
    12. DePaul Prep – 24-6
    13. H-F – 21-6
    14. Marian Catholic – 23-5
    15. Bolingbrook 22-6
    16. Willowbrook – 26-5
    17. Bogan – 21-8
    18. Larkin 24-8
    19. Lincoln Park 19-9
    20. LWE – 23-5
    21. Naperville North – 26-3
    22. Loyola 24-7
    23. Joliet Central -23-6
    24. Proviso East 20-9
    25. Corliss 23-5

    On the Verge:

    Rich East 17-10, Lake Zurich 25-7 , Barrington 24-6, Dundee Crown 17-12, Farragut 18-10

    Honorable Mention:

    Fenwick – 20-8, 8-0
    St. Viator – 24-6, 9-0
    Hillcrest – 22-6,13-0
    OPRF – 23-6, 12-0
    Jacobs 25-4, 16-0
    Prospect 22-6, 10-0
    Hope Academy 26-5 , 6-0
    Leo – 20-6, 8-0
    Northridge – 22-6, 12-0
    Aurora Christian 25-2, 10-0

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