Michael O’Brien’s notebook: March 13, 2018

Young's Justin Boyd (5) grabs a rebound and pushes it down for two points in the IHSA class 4A Super Sectional at Chicago State, Tuesday 03-13-18. Worsom Robinson/For the Sun-Times.

Everyone noticed Simeon’s playoff scores, so I guess we should have seen this coming. Robert Smith kept saying his team wasn’t playing well. I can’t remember the score of tonight’s game but I remember the Wolverines only beat Crete-Monee by 11. Then came the legit scares from Brother Rice and Marist.

At one point in the third quarter Young led Simeon by 10 points. That may have been more shocking to me than the Dolphins actually winning the game.

It’s extremely difficult to win the double-digit amount of elimination games necessary to do the double and win city and state. But this Simeon team sure looked like a squad that could do it.

Read all about Young’s upset win over Simeon

Tonight’s games
Larkin 53, Benet 46: Exciting times in Elgin. The Royals are making their first trip to state. Pierre Black came off the bench and hit five threes. He scored 18 to lead the way. I went and watched Larkin play Young in Rockford the first week of the season. The Dolphins won in overtime. They could meet again in the state championship game on Saturday.

Evanston 78, Lake Zurich 52: The young Wildkits are heading to Peoria. Jaheim Holden scored 23. Evanston will face Young in the semis. The Dolphins beat them in the supersectional last season.

Belleville West 81, West Aurora 43: Wow. Total destruction of one of the Chicago area’s best teams. Belleville West and EJ Liddell impressed everyone that made the trip to Illinois State.

Marian Catholic 49, Metamora 46 OT: Marian Catholic was trailing for a lot of this one but it is finally making a trip to Peoria. Ahron Ulis has now done something his NBA player older brother Tyler never did.

North Chicago 69, Rockford Boylan: The Warhawks! I really like North Chicago basketball, always a fun team to watch. But it always haunts me when I don’t cover a team in the regular season and they make it Peoria. There were about three different times I almost saw them. Oh well.

Morgan Park 71, North Lawndale 59: The Mustangs dominated this one early and then it tightened up. That’s not a shock to anyone that saw the Phoenix play this season. Ayo Dosunmu and Cam Burrell each scored 17. Tamell Pearson, the big man that has had multiple eye surgeries, played his first game of the season.

Springfield Southeast 56, Marion 51: Kobe Medley scored 19 for Southeast, which is expected to be Morgan Park’s biggest threat this weekend.



  • mary clements

    I think coach Smith is a great coach

  • Jimmy Jones

    Nice to see an ESCC school make it!! With all the turnover in the conference its nice to see one school that it affected come through. When is the IHSA going to step in and mandate a true transfer rule. CPS schools like Simeon/Whitney Young/Morgan Park and Orr have all had transfers this past year with no penalty. Certain players on these teams would not have been eligible if it was reversed. Time for CHANGE

    • Red South Alumnus

      Kids transfer schools all the time for various reasons. The kid shouldn’t be bound to a school for all 4 years or penalized if circumstances require change. Fred Cleveland at Leo transferred from the Public League but I don’t hear folks mention that.

  • Shogun29ppg

    Robert Smith doesn’t know how to spell coach. Unbelievable talent, results aren’t that great. I watched him at Batavia quite a few times, not impressed. That’s why the Illini coaches don’t pay him any mind. He could have NBA all-stars and still not win. This guy is just blessed to be able to coach at that school, that’s all. If he were anywhere else he’d have been fired long time ago, his coaching keeps the other teams in the game. Get rid of this clown ASAP. Tired of him complaining for not being consulted regarding Illini recruiting and all that. They win in spite of him

  • T Cole

    Malik Tidwell from Marian Catholic is a special player that does not get enough recognition. I love watching this kid play the game of basketball the right way. He can drive to the basket at an elite level, plus he has a pretty jump shot. It was only right that he hit the game winning shot tonight. Congrats Marian Catholic!!!

  • Tony

    At some point you gotta question Coach Smith…This is the 3rd year in a row he has had a team that should have won the State title…And he has gotten out coached..each time…

    • South ‘Burbs

      I’ve been saying this for years…what’s he done when his teams didn’t have Derrick Rose or Jabari Parker? He’s got enough talent to DOMINATE the state every year, but when he doesn’t have an NBA player on the roster, Simeon comes up short

  • Adam

    Xavier Pinson was my favorite player to watch this year. I can see him doing big things at the next level. Anyone else think Robert Smith isn’t that great of a coach? He has unbelievable talent at his disposal and is continually outcoached in the biggest games. He doesn’t run plays. What gives?

    • chris

      Very astute and interesting comments. I totally agree with you about Xavier Pinson and I wish that Coach Smith would have trained and coached Xavier to be more vocal leader that he will become in college for sure. Pinson has ridiculous handles and Basketball IQ off the charts. Pete Maravich style, silky smooth. Was very tough to see him foul out tonight in 4th quarter and that really hurt Simeon at that time. Coach Smith had big challenge to get 7-8-9 superstars to play as 1. Give credit to Whitney Young who now have beat Lincoln Park, Curie in OT and Simeon in OT , the most ridiculously difficult path to Peoria!

      Where is Xavier Pinson going to college? First class player and CALM!

  • chris

    Sauce it Up Top 25

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

    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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