Michael O’Brien’s notebook: March 9, 2018

Bolingbrook's Kaleb Thornton (3) gets to the basket verse West Aurora, Friday 03-09-18. Worsom Robinson/For the Sun-Times.

Awesome atmosphere tonight in Romeoville. Jam-packed stands, good student sections and a nice old school feel with the Aurora and Joliet radio stations here broadcasting the game.

I had a feeling the West Aurora team had something special and they showed it tonight. For the past few years Bolingbrook’s pressure defense has destroyed teams. The Blackhawks survived. Senior big man Jared Crutcher was phenomenal.

Read all about West Aurora’s win over Bolingbrook.

I usually drive home and do the notebook, but that seemed silly tonight since all the games are all wrapped up. So I’m sitting in a classroom at Romeoville high school. Dick Goss of the Joliet Herald-News and Rick Armstrong of the Aurora Beacon-News are both in here writing.

I still feel a touch starstruck around them. I grew up reading Dick and Rick in the Herald News. They are a large part of the reason this is what I wanted to do with my life. So it has been a real honor to get to know them and it’s just cool to sit here and work next to them.

Tonight’s games

CLASS 4A
Larkin 60, Rockford Jefferson 55:
The duo of Anthony Lynch (24 points) and Jalen Shaw (17 points) gets the biggest win of their lives. The Royals have officially lived up to their preseason hype now. Can they get to Peoria?

Simeon 53, Marist 48: The RedHawks led for most of the second half but fall short of pulling of the upset of the season. Talen Horton-Tucker had 17. Jack Ellison led Marist with 14.

Evanston 69, New Trier 57: The Wildkits appeared to take a big lead early and stay in control. Freshman Blake Peters scored 19 and Lance Jones had 17.

Benet 67, Willowbrook 40: A bit surprised by the margin of victory in this one. Can anyone stop the Redwings?

Young 80, Curie 73: OT: The Dolphins trailed the majority of the game but pull it out at the end. Xavier Castaneda scored 23 points. Maurice Commander led Curie with 19 points.

Lake Zurich 69, Barrington 60: Ryan Kutsor scored 18. The Bears continue to make me look bad for not properly covering them this season (I was in the gym when they played once and watched).

Belleville West 67, Moline 47: EJ Lidell scored 16. Lawrence Brazil led the way with 19. Belleville hasn’t lost to an in-state school all season.

CLASS 3A
Morgan Park 101, Bogan 71: Wow, total domination. I saw this game earlier this year and it could have gone either way. Looks like the Mustangs are focused. Ayo Dosunmu scored 28.

Marion 71, East St. Louis 68 OT: Justin Saddoris led with 20 points. Terrance Hargrove Jr. had 16 for the Flyers.

North Lawndale 69, Farragut 57: Demetrius Douglas (21 points) and David Forrest (17 points) are a very underrated combo. The Phoenix lost a ton of close games to elite teams this year, they are much more dangerous than most people think. Great playoff run for a young Farragut team.

North Chicago 66, DePaul Prep 58: Small upset here, simply because the Warhawks are always tough at home. Rashaun Somoa led North Chicago with 17 points and 11 rebounds. Raheem Anthony had 20 for the Rams, who were hoping for a trip to Peoria this season.

Marian Catholic 61, Kankakee 50: About as expected. Ahron Ulis scored 19 points for the Spartans. Both of these teams are loaded with juniors and should be good next season. But the future is obviously now for Marian Catholic.

Rockford Boylan 57, Burlington Central 55: Heartbreak for Burlington Central, who fall to one of the state’s traditional powers.

CLASS 2A
Orr 60, Bloomington Central Catholic 49: The Spartans win the state semifinals and will face Winnebago in the title game tomorrow night. I’ll be there to see if Orr can repeat as champs.

Here is Tuesday’s supersectional schedule, in bracket order:

CLASS 4A
ISU
Belleville West vs. West Aurora, 7

NIU
Larkin vs. Benet, 7:30

SEARS CENTRE
Lake Zurich vs. Evanston, 8

CHICAGO STATE
Simeon vs. Young, 7

CLASS 3A
JOLIET CENTRAL
Morgan Park vs. North Lawndale, 7

NIU
Metamora vs. Marian Catholic, 6

SPRINGFIELD
Marion vs. Springfield Southeast, 7

SEARS CENTRE
North Chicago vs. Boylan, 6

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28 comments

  • chris

    Wow! Reviewed the BallisLife highlights video of Marist Vs. Simeon game! Was that the 4A state Championship game? Let’s see what Young has to say about it.
    Marist and Simeon game could be the state ship game.

  • Mr HS Basketball

    The Marist Simeon game was awesome i saw Marist play Benet Marion Catholic Bloom an Simeon an each game was great but when u watched them play Simeon it really showed the basketball IQ that Taylor kid has. When a team ranked 5 in the nation has to throw 5 of there players at 1 guard that tells me he is good that kid should of been at the free throw line in the 1st half his teammates stepped up an those boys played an played hard. I think at the end the coach of Marist got out coached they were in bonus let your all area player lead. That kid Taylor dished the ball off drove to lane an got his teammates the ball. D1 kid for sure will keep my eye on him he is special

  • Leegs1

    Did Rick Armstrong play for Joliet, back in the day? In my opinion, Dave Parker was the best sports writer the Herald News ever had. His dad, Ken, was a class act.

  • Deerfield CSL Fan

    I’ll admit Evanston is a pretty solid team, that has good guard play, but Lance Jones is the man in that team. He does several things for them, and it’s pretty accurate in saying he’s a great teammate and team player.

    • chris

      yes indeed! Evanston playing real nice team basketball, taking care of the ball and sharing it! Blake Peters has stepped up big time. Very composed and calm. Have to cheer for Wildkits to make it to Peoria! They have that rare combination of blazing speed and quickness with ability to hit high % of 3-point shots.

  • chris

    Congrats to Marist on great game against the Simeon, the best .

  • chris

    Simeon now listed as #5 team in the country by USA today. Watched some highlights of this team and they look like college team playing with little kids.

    Has Simeon just been playing around? I saw the highlights from the Brother Rice game and they were just running up and down scoring at will and not really playing any defense except to block some layups.

    Like to see some highlights or the entire game film from Simeon versus Marist game tonight.

    • chris

      saw some game video and Marist really played well and slowed Simeon down with their 3-2 zone defense. That looked like a college game with floor loaded with D1 talent. Taylor is also special and so smart!

  • chris

    Lance Jones is D1 and just a matter of high D1 he can go. All Chicago Area Player for sure. Stay Thirsty and Hungry Mr. Lance Jones.

    Blake Peterson was on fire in first half and this was his best game with so much at stake and the big stage at Maine East. Place was sold out and rocking good time. The dancing New Trier Trevian Mascot stole the show at half time.

    Evanston versus Lake Zurich with E-town the heavy favorite could bring Peoria Match up of Evanston versus Simeon or Young if they don’t look past Lake Zurich.

    • CP3

      LanceBuckets is best jr guard in the state. Expect to see the ‘Kits in Peoria!

      • Norm

        In a tough Maine East Sectional Kits won all of the games by double digits! Impressive! Can’t afford a letdown in the supersectional.

      • chris

        Coach Collins from NWU was in the stands to watch Evanston and New Trier.
        Lance Jones can know down the 3 , Jumper off the dribble , and drive to the rim for More Buckets. Solid Defender and outstanding Athlete with solid and mature skill set. High IQ and very good court vision. Evanston took care of the basketball at end of game. Love to see them in Peoria. One more game to win to get there.

        • CP3

          Collins made a HUGE mistake letting Nojel get out of his own backyard and to a top team in his own conference. Now is the time to shut the gate….and go after Lance….before another B1G team comes a calling.

          • chris

            Lance Jones might like to play with Nojel Eastern at Purdue .

          • Wscfantoo

            Are you implying NU passed on offering Eastern, or that Eastern would rather play at a better school?

          • chris

            Purdue has a much better basketball program and history than NWU. Why settle for less when you can get more!

    • chris

      Blake Peters*

    • Duke Carnoustie

      This Evanston team continues to rise to the occasion. Impressive two games in the sectional. All the focus has to be on Lake Zurich, we can’t take anything for granted having come this far. There’s no time to exhale.

      I only wish I could have snagged a ticket for tonight’s game. They went fast. But I won’t be shut out at Sears Centre.

      • Norm

        Getting a ticket for Tuesday shouldn’t be a problem

      • chris

        why wait for next year when you can eat this year. Yep!

      • NT FAN

        Congrats to Evanston. They were fantastic last night and Jones and Peters were great. NT didn’t play great but I’m not sure it would have mattered with Evanston shooting the 3 the way they did. Those will be some great games next year. Brayboy is going to be a monster next year

  • chris

    Consensus Sauce it Down Top 25

    1. Simeon – 29-3
    2. Orr – 29-4
    3. Young – 26-7
    4. Morgan Park – 22-9
    5. Curie – 26-5
    6. Evanston – 25-5
    7. Benet – 27-4
    8. West Aurora – 25-4
    9. Marian Catholic – 24-5
    10. Larkin 25-8
    11. Marist – 27-5
    12. New Trier – 25-6
    13. Bolingbrook 22-7
    14. Niles North – 26-5
    15. Naperville North – 26-3
    16. H-F – 21-7
    17. Lincoln Park 19-10
    18. Joliet Central -23-6
    19. Willowbrook – 26-6
    20. Bogan – 21-9
    21. Corliss 23-5
    22. Lake Zurich 26-7
    23. North Chicago 21-8
    24. DePaul Prep – 24-7
    25. North Lawndale 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

    • Adam

      Lawndale are a top-15 team and Farragut deserve to be ranked after the season they just had. There isn’t a coach in America at any level who gets more out of less than Wolf Nelson.

      • chris

        Lawndale is not done yet and can move up some more.
        If Farragut goes on to top 25 , which team comes off?

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