Michael O’Brien’s notebook: March 7, 2018

Terrence Shannon fouls out late in the fourth quarter against Young. |Worsom Robinson/For the Sun-Times.
Terrence Shannon fouls out late in the fourth quarter against Young. |Worsom Robinson/For the Sun-Times.

It actually seemed like Lincoln Park was going to pull off the upset again tonight and beat Young. The Lions clearly came in confident, having beaten the Dolphins earlier in the year.

Their hopes just slipped away when star senior Terrence Shannon fouled out with three minutes to play. Who knows what happens if Shannon finishes the game?

Lincoln Park coach Pat Gordon was pretty sure his team would have won.

Read all about Young vs. Lincoln Park.

A big two days coming up. Tomorrow afternoon I’ll reveal the 2018 Chicago Sun-Times Player of the Year and the All-Area Team.

Then Friday is my favorite night of the year. Huge playoff games and the last night of the season in high school gyms. The full schedule follows tonight’s games.


Tonight’s top games

Rockford Jefferson 77, Dundee-Crown 48: The Fox Valley Cinderella squad had a nice run. Jack Orndahl led the Chargers with 20 points. That sets up a sectional final of Jefferson vs. Larkin. The two teams played way back in the first week of the season, Jefferson won 69-58.

Marist 61, Homewood-Flossmoor 47: The RedHawks took care of business nicely in this one. Morgan Taylor scored 23. Simeon is next. Great playoff run for the young Vikings, this experience will be huge for them next season.

West Aurora 70, Lincoln-Way East 58: Cam Donatlan and Jared Crutcher were in some foul trouble early but battled through it. The Blackhawks take on Bolingbrook in the sectional final. Not quite sure where I’m going yet but that should be a really great game.

New Trier 77, Niles North 72 2 OT: Well this game was something. Hearing the Vikings looked unbeatable in the first half and then it all slowly fell apart. This sets up a massive New Trier vs. Evanston rivalry sectional final game. Oh boy.

North Lawndale 58, Crane 38: The Phoenix roll into the sectional final against Farragut. That should be an excellent game on Friday at Little Village.

North Chicago 73, Carmel 61: I’ve been kinda high on the Warhawks’ chances in Class 3A all season and they are living up to that. Can’t say I expected them to pull this win out though. Tyrek Cooper, one of the area’s best shooters, scored 23. Next up is DePaul Prep.

Rockford Boylan 51, St. Francis 47: A really great run for St. Francis ends.

Kankakee 72, Rich East 71: Chris Pickett has done a heck of a job down in Kankakee this season. TJ Wicks, the junior big man, can really influence a game. Corey Tharpe led the way with 23 points. I have a feeling the Kays can give Marian Catholic a battle on Friday.

Friday’s schedule
Sectional finals in bracket order

Belleville West vs. Moline, 7

Bolingbrook vs. West Aurora, 7

Larkin vs. Rockford Jefferson, 7

Willowbrook vs. Benet, 7

Lake Zurich vs. Barrington, 7

Evanston vs. New Trier, 7

Simeon vs. Marist, 7

Curie vs. Young, 7

Morgan Park vs. Bogan, 7

Farragut vs. North Lawndale, 6

Sterling vs. Metamora, 7

Marian Catholic vs. Kankakee, 7

Marion vs. East St. Louis, 7

Springfield Lanphier vs. Springfield Southeast, 7

DePaul Prep vs. North Chicago, 7

Burlington Central vs. Rockford Boylan, 7


  • chris

    Simeon’s Talen Horton-Tucker has been snubbed twice.

    -Belleville West junior EJ Liddell won the Illinois Gatorade Player of the Year.

    -THT was not selected to the Jordan Brand Classic All-Star game.

    • Be real

      Snubbed by Gatorade POY cause EJ is working with less….Simeon got an all star team! Snubbed by Jordan cause the roster is full of forwards and no guards… That’s why they took Ayo instead! Not saying that’s right……Just my guess of why!!

  • Leegs1

    IN 3a, Springfield Lanphier plays Springfield Southwest. Southwest has beaten them twice by 6, and more recently, by 21. Southwest lost to Champaign Central who lost to Lanphier by 2 in the semis. Lanphier beat Bolingbrook by six earlier in the season. Bolingbrook played without Thornton in that game.

  • Fan

    Coach Olsen does a great job with all of his teams. If you dont know him, then dont bash him on this site. He is one of the best coaches in the state.

    • NT FAN

      “One of the best coaches in the state” does not lose a Sectional game of that magnitude with a 20 point lead in the 4th. That game was over… NN was completely unprepared to handle the same style of pressure that they use to win. NT by no means is a team that is known for causing turnovers or for scoring at an extreme high volume. Yet they forced an obscene amount of turnovers in the 4th and scored 28 points!

      • chris

        Niles North can sure dish out that defensive pressure and New Trier sure turned the table on them and applied their own very high impact 1-3-1 trapping defensive pressure out of desperation to get back into game. Funny how desperation can bring about Opportunity when you least expect it.
        I have seen this before in previous NT/NN match up many years ago in Sectional. Though to criticize the men in the arena from the stands. Get on the court and deal with it and it will give you different perspective. Not so easy. Basketball can be a real sick game, just ask some of the great players from Niles North Vikings!

      • Recap

        Same thing happened last March; ND runs off 16 in a row and N North blows a 13 point lead with 3 minutes left and loses by 3!

    • Jimmy Jones

      He did a really nice job when the D’Andre Williams story came out of passing the buck to his assistant John Clancy who ended up getting fired from the school. He did a nice job when Donte Stephens transferred to Niles North but lived in Maine East district to get him moved into Skokie. He did a nice job of Abdul Nadar transferring from Maine East to Niles North when Olson left Maine East with no penalty to his eligibility.

  • B max

    ooooo Marist v Simeon and Curie v Young. 4A is soooo deep. Great Sectional matchups all around.

  • mikenike

    Was at the West-LWE game (which was interesting in itself – Donatlan played 4 minutes in the first half and Crutcher probably didn’t play 10 minutes the entire game due to fouls and they still won going away against a very good Lincoln Way team. Shafer is as good as advertised) but I had to watch the NN-NT final quarter and OT’s on NFHS. Down by 20 in the 4th q and to come back like that against a team that’s been in the top 10 most of the season was incredible. Unraveled is the perfect way to describe what happened to Niles — for about 5 minutes it looked like they’d never been on the same court with each other. Bad passes, bad decisions, sloppy ballhandling — totally snowballed. Most surprising thing was the entire comeback was without Brayboy. He injured his ankle in the 3rd and didn’t come back until the 2nd OT. I’ve seen big comebacks but not sure I’ve seen it against a top tier team with the other team’s best big man on the bench. Awesome game. Love the high school state tournament!

    • chris

      1:17 4th Niles North 59, New Trier 54 Griffin Ryan triple to cut it to 5. Timeout Trevians.

      Ok, this had to be the critical crunch time in the NN/NT game. NN has the ball and they are in the bonus. Time out so both teams can discuss their final game end strategy. What happened next? We need the play by play for the last 1:17 of regulation. Anyone out there have it?

      • chris

        NN had to turn the ball over a couple of times and Kirkpatrick goes WILD for 7 ridiculous end of regulation points. 1 three and 2 drives for lay ups. Kirkpatrick was STOIC and CALM out there and he was MVP and Player of the GAME!

        Kirkpatrick saved his club’s season with clutch shooting in the final 1:03 of regulation, tallying seven in the span, including a trey to close the Vikes’ gap to 59-57.
        He then tied it at 59 with a basket and knotted it again (61-61) with another basket with seven ticks left.
        OT would be needed to decide this one.
        “We were running everything to him at the end of the quarter; we just let him go,” Fricke said of Kirkpatrick. “He’s been taking and making big shots for a long time.”

      • chris

        1:17 NN ball and full court press by NT
        1:10 Turnover ny NN just past half court
        1:00 Kirkpatrick for 3-points 59-57 NN leads
        :50 Turnover by NN
        :36 Kirkpatrick with driving 2 point shot – all tied at 59
        :20 Foul by NT on Franklin who make 2 clutch free throws 61-59 NN leads
        :07 Kirkpatrick with driving 2 point shot – all tied at 61
        :02 NN misses a pretty good look 3-ball – OT

        Captain Kirk and NT goes on to win in double OT against Deflated NN team

    • Leegs1

      Mikenike: who you picking in the W. Aurora, Bolingbrook game?

      • mikenike

        Haven’t seen Bolingbrook this year and all I can think of is that juggernaut of last year. If they’re getting close to that again, I’d have to pick them. Cheering for the Blackhawks of course. They’re playing really good ball since Pontiac, team ball. Hope it’s a good one.

        • Leegs1

          I don’t think it will be close

          • mikenike

            I see Joe Hoops is predicting Bolingbrook by 3 and that sounds about right. I was emailing with Mike early in the season and told him I thought West could win 23 or 24 games if Donatlan stayed healthy and focused and they’re at 24 so even if they lose I can’t be too disappointed. A good year for the kids.

  • Jimmy Jones

    Nice to see Niles North go down! Coach Olson may have coached his last game at NN. He has gotten away with a lot stuff while there and would be great karma for it to end at the place he left to coach at NN.

  • chris

    New Trier put up 27 points in 8 minutes in the 4Q of a high school basketball game. That’s on pace for 160 points in a 48 min NBA game which would be the second most by any team in NBA history. The NBA has a 24 second shot clock

    • Just the facts

      That’s impressive for a quarter. Tuesday night Bolingbrook averaged 25 points per 8 minutes after the half. That’s 75 points in 2 qtrs and 2OT.

      • chris

        That is some Ridiculous Offensive Firepower. You have to like Bolingbrook over West Aurora? Winner of this game to face the Mighty Belleville West if they do not get upset by the Giant Killer: Moline!

  • Juswatchin

    Great games tues, and wed… Which Friday game will be the best most entertaining game? Bolingbrook vs West Aurora/ Evanston vs New Trier/ Currie vs Young/ Simeon vs Marist/ Springfield Lanphier vs Springfield southeast/ Morgan Park vs Bogan/ Marian Catholic vs Kankakee……opinions pick 1. !!

  • chris

    3:35 1st Niles North 10, New Trier 3
    3:27 1st Niles North 13, New Trier 3 Vikings have forced 4 turnovers, and hit two 3’s. Exactly the start they needed.
    End of 1st: Niles North 16, New Trier 6 Jamal Stephenson with 8 for Vikings. Ciaran Brayboy has 4 for Trevians.
    6:05 2nd Niles North 19, New Trier 8 Dravon Clayborn nails his 2nd triple, he has 8 pts. Timeout Vikings after the make.
    2:17 2nd Niles North 29, New Trier 15
    Half: Niles North 33, New Trier 20 Demarion Bariffe-Smith and Dravon Clayborn have 12 each, Jamal Stephenson with 8 for Vikings. Ciaran Brayboy carrying Trevians, has 12.
    Vikings have hit 5 triples, and only turned the ball over 4 times. Trevians are 0-for from 3, and have 7 turnovers. Difference-maker.
    5:06 3rd Niles North 40, New Trier 24 Damaria Franklin with a steal and a slam, Brayboy comes right back with a poke of his own.
    3:57 3rd Niles North 45, New Trier 29 Andrew Kirkpatrick with a lay-in and a triple for Trevians. Vikings still shooting well from perimeter. Timeout Trevians.
    End of 3rd: Niles North 53, New Trier 34 Vikings have played stellar ball thru 24 minutes. Clayborn and Bariffe-Smith have 19 pts each. Trevians have yet to really get it going.
    6:51 4th Niles North 54, New Trier 38 Signs of life for Trevians.
    5:42 4th Niles North 54, New Trier 45 Vikings on the verge of a total meltdown. Brayboy has been on the bench with a leg injury. Boehm, Ryan, and Kirkpatrick picking up the scoring. Timeout Vikings.
    2:39 4th Niles North 56, New Trier 50
    1:17 4th Niles North 59, New Trier 54 Griffin Ryan triple to cut it to 5. Timeout Trevians.
    33.6 4th Niles North 59, New Trier 59 BEDLAM!!!!!
    21.2 4th Niles North 60, New Trier 59 Damaria Franklin at the line for one more. Tough to describe what just happened. Gotta be here!!!!!
    End of Regulation: Niles North 61, New Trier 61 Andrew Kirkpatrick hitting everything he’s putting up. Tough kid! One hell of a comeback. Trevians were dead in the water. Forced 8 Vikings turnovers in the 4th, only had 7 first 3 quarters.
    3:09 OT Niles North 61, New Trier 61 Some nervous teenagers on the floor right now. This has been remarkable. There were fans leaving with 2 minutes left in Regulation.
    1:59 OT New Trier 63, Niles North 61 Brian Conaghan with the go-ahead layup. Then fouls out next trip down the floor. Franklin at the line.
    1:22 OT Niles North 63, New Trier 63 Franklin back at the line for Vikings.
    28.2 OT Niles North 65, New Trier 65 Vikings with the rock. Ball at halfcourt. TV Timeout.
    End of Overtime: Niles North 65, New Trier 65 Vikings turn it over, then Trevians miss at tough look at the horn. Double OT.
    3:36 2OT Niles North 65, New Trier 65 Brayboy has returned.
    1:53 2OT New Trier 69, Niles North 67 Brayboy at the line for the And-1.
    1:23 2OT New Trier 70, Niles North 67 Vikings with another turnover. Trevians have the ball. A seven nation army couldn’t hold me back.
    58.6 2OT New Trier 72, Niles North 69 Squads trade lay-ups. Trevians ball. Timeout Vikings. I can make your hands clap.
    25.0 2OT New Trier 73, Niles North 72 Scuffle at midcourt, Clayborn comes up with it a drills a 3. Timeout Vikings, their last. Here comes the boom!
    16.5 2OT New Trier 73, Niles North 72 Clayborn theft again, misses lay-up. Kirkpatrick at the line for two.
    16.5 2OT New Trier 75, Niles North 72 Kirkpatrick makes both. Vikings ball. Timeout Trevians.
    3.0 2OT New Trier 75, Niles North 72 Franklin had a good look, missed it. Boehm at the line.
    Final in 2OT: New Trier 77, Niles North 72 Andrew Kirkpatrick 21, Ciaran Brayboy 19, Griffin Ryan 16, Spencer Boehm 12 for Trevians. Demarion Bariffe-Smith 22, Dravon Clayborn 22, Jamal Stephenson 12, Damaria Franklin 11 for Vikings.
    Trevians trailed 51-29 with a few minutes left in the 3rd.
    Vikings had 15 turnovers in the 4th quarter and OT’s. Only 7 in the first 3 frames.
    Still sitting here tryna figure out just exactly how that happened. Trevians extended their 1-3-1 to just beyond half-court, disrupted everything for the Vikings.
    Brayboy was out with leg injury for all of 4th quarter and the first OT. Didn’t matter for the Trevians. Relentless warriors.
    Absolute heartbreaker for Vikings. They played extremely well for 3 quarters. The errors started to snowball quickly at the beginning of the 4th.
    Both teams played extremely hard. It was one of those games where the loser wasn’t gonna wanna get outta bed for a week.

    One of best Games in History of Illinois High School Basketball

  • Norm

    I wasn’t at the Niles North/NT game. Does anyone know how the officiating was? Just wondering. NT usually gets the calls

    • chris

      Officials were outstanding and one of the best Ref crews in Illinois. They were very fair and did a great job!

      • Norm

        Thanks for the report. I missed a great one!

        • Eric

          Officials did a nice job. NN plays more physical in open space and I’d probably say NT would have liked more calls early on. This one will be on Comcast Channel 100 starting tomorrow…highlights are already on our Facebook page (CN100 Sports). Definitely an instant classic!

          • chris

            Two Great Championship Warrior Teams treated all of us to the Game of the Year! First Class by all involved with this game. Unbelievable level of First Class Top sportsmanship by all players and coaches! Maine East High School doing a great job hosting one of best Sectionals in Illinois!

        • Eric

          Chris…Maine East Sectional, also known as the CSL Conference Tournament, LOL! 🙂 Agreed, tonight was all the “good” in high school sports…definitely one to remember!

        • Eric

          BTW, this was Scott Fricke’s 200th win…I don’t think this game will get lost in the memories!

    • Bob

      Ryan and Kirkpatrick on NT were literally attacked and beaten with the ball in the last minute of the 2nd overtime with no calls. Watch the tape tomorrow. Plus Evanston got all the calls at NT earlier this year in their OT win.

      • chris

        Yep, we all saw that at the game. And here is the deal. Good refs are not going to call these fouls at the end of the game when it is on the line. They let the kids play and decide it for themselves. As a player, you have to know this at end of very close game. The defense will be allowed to rough you up to steal the basketball. You better be prepared to get mugged and no foul called.

      • chris

        By the way Kirkpatrick knew that he was fouled, yet he did not lose control of the basketball even though he was mugged. he was looking for a foul and NONE was called. Most fans do not understand this part of the game. The Refs will eat their whistles and give the defense all kinds of room to steal the ball at end of close game without blowing the whistle. The game suddenly changes at this moment from the rest of the way the refs have been calling it for the entire game. It is part of the GAME!

        • CSL Fan1

          Some calls could have gone New Trier’s way sure, but the game was pretty fairly officiated. It was a 10-4 foul difference in the first half in favor of NT, which doesn’t make a ton of sense considering how aggressive NN was. 2nd half there were a lot of missed calls. Every time North went to the rim, they couldn’t get a foul. Clayborn could have shot way more free throws. There was also a play on the right sideline where Stephenson was mugged and that no call led to a key NT bucket.

          Regardless, NT deserved to win. North collapsed down the stretch and New Trier hit big shots. It was a great game and Friday will be an awesome match up.

        • Bob

          Chris, totally agree with you. That’s what I love about Kirkpatrick. Never gets phased. Also agree that refs should swallow the whistle at the end. My only point was about NT getting calls…I kind of see it the other way, but of course may be biased. Should be a great game Friday. Can’t wait.

          • chris

            The players on the floor decided the Niles North and New Trier game and not the refs as the way it should be.

        • Bob

          FYI…just heard Kirkpatrick got his tooth chipped on that play. I get the whole let them play but when you start losing teeth that is another issue. Have to call a foul there. Luckily didn’t change the outcome of the game and the players did decide the game ultimately.

          • chris

            good point. The refs swallow their whistles thingy at end of real close game can get way out of hand. The better team won this game.

    • NT FAN

      C’mon Norm! NT never gets the officiating edge. If anything, it’s the other way around. NT/Evanston for the Sectional title is the way it should be… Can’t wait!

      • Norm

        Interesting how every fan thinks their own team gets the wrong side of the calls. Should be a great one Friday.

    • CP3

      Officiating had nothing to do with NT winning. They played poised, discplined ball from laye 3rd qtr through dbl OT. NN had the game at hand. Started out looking like they were the senior dominated team they were. Did everything right for 2 1/2 qtrs. then they fell started getting careless, unraveled, and just fell apart. Great game I imagine for those in attendance to witness. On tv, you wouldn’t have believed how the tide started turning in this one, and then NT’s big fella came back for the 2OT, and went to work in the paint.

  • 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

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