Michael O’Brien’s notebook: Nov. 20, 2018

Thornwood's Donald Coats (2) boxes out Bloom's Emani Burgess. Worsom Robinson/For the Sun-Times.
Thornwood's Donald Coats (2) boxes out Bloom's Emani Burgess. Worsom Robinson/For the Sun-Times.

It was a very interesting night in Chicago Heights. I saw Bloom barely survive against Thornwood and Hillcrest beat Vocational. READ ALL ABOUT IT HERE.

Some quick thoughts:

-Bloom had zero spark. The legendary Bloom Fans kept yelling at them to get going but it never really happened. The Blazing Trojans will likely come out with more fire against Hillcrest on Wednesday.

-Thornwood was impressive. Christian Simmons and Zachary Carr are a nice senior backcourt and big man Jeremiah Tarver is solid. The Thunderbirds should give teams some trouble this season.

-Hillcrest coach Don Houston said his team was very deep and he is right. Dylan West and Jeremiah Staten were really good and Julius Rollins, a 6-6 sophomore, showed a lot of potential. I think the Hawks are definitely better than they were last season.

-Vocational guard Naashar Banks-Carter can play and 6-3 senior Seth Williams plays like he’s 6-7. It will be interesting to see how the Cavaliers develop over the course of the season.

I’ll be back in Chicago Heights tomorrow night, but at Marian Catholic. The Homewood-Flossmoor vs. Marian Catholic game usually has a fantastic atmosphere and has become a Thanksgiving Eve tradition for me.

A brand new episode of No Shot Clock dropped this morning. LISTEN HERE

Tuesday’s top games

Downers North 68, Streamwood 51: Nice win for a team I’m really looking forward to seeing this season. I think the Trojans have a shot to be pretty good based on the high points of last season.

Rolling Meadows 68, Francis Parker 34: Sophomore Max Christie began his season in a big way with 25 points, 6 rebounds, 5 assists and four steals.

North Lawndale 68, Rockford Boylan 67 2 OT: The Phoenix pull it out. Demetrius Douglas scored 23. Javantae Brackens had 16 and Jalen Thorpe added 15. Anthony Brown led Boylan with 19.

No. 25 Notre Dame 70, Taft 54: Heard some raves about sophomore Troy D’Amico over the summer and he’s playing up to them so far. He led the way with 26 points. Anthony Sayles had 17 and Jason Bergstrom added had 10. Big one on Wednesday against DePaul Prep.

Momence 64, Earlville 57: I did not forget about Lamarius Lillard. And he wasn’t about to let me anyway. He scored 33 tonight.

Fenwick 68, Hope Academy 51: Sophomore Bryce Hopkins had 24 points and senior Solomon Oraegbu scored 15. Hope Academy is always talented and scrappy.

No. 10 Oak Park 61, Morton 55: Anthony Roberts led the way with 13. Looks like the Mustangs can play.

No. 19 Benet 71, Westinghouse 64: A little closer than I might have expected. Big game from Colin Crothers with 18 points and 11 boards.

West Aurora 68, DeKalb 61: People seem to have a lot of questions about the Blackhawks this season, but this is a really nice win. Hezekiah Salter and Marquise Walker each scored 18. DeKalb led 45-42 going into the fourth quarter.

Carmel 83, Schurz 65: Reports from Grant about the Corsairs are very positive. Johnny Roeser scored 21, Damone Williams-Gray had 18.

Matt Harness is doing write-ups from the St. Viator Joe Majkowski Thanksgiving Classic again this year. Here is his stuff on tonight’s two games:

No. 2 Evanston 77, Conant 45: The Wildkits shrugged off a slow start Tuesday and rolled to a season-opening win over the Cougars on the second day of the Joe Majkowski Thanksgiving Basketball Classic.

Down 10-0, Evanston scored 36 points in the final 10 minutes, 41 seconds of the first half to go into intermission ahead 36-14. Sophomore guard Blake Peters, a starter on last season’s team that took third place in Class 4A, made five 3-pointers in the second quarter on his way to a game-best 23 points.

“After not playing our best first quarter, it was good to see our guys recognize that and realize what needed to be done,” Evanston head coach Mike Ellis said.

Senior guards Ryan Bost and Lance Jones, who signed with Southern Illinois University this week, came off the bench to each score 13 points. Senior guard Jaheim Holden and sophomore guard Jaylin Gibson both had six points.

“Our defense kept the ball in front of us,” Ellis said. “We covered well, on and off the ball. We did a nice job there.”

Senior forward Raj Mittal scored a team-high 16 for the Cougars (1-1).

Prospect 59, Libertyville 45: Four players scored in double figures as the Knights won their first game of the season. Senior guard Sam Murray had a game-high 15 points. Senior guard Ben Zellmer finished with 13 points, while senior forward Jon Kreidler added 12 points and senior guard Ben Miller contributed 10 points.

Prospect (1-1) led the Wildcats 32-19 at the half and went up by as many as 19 in the third quarter. But Libertyville (0-2) got within five points in the fourth before Prospect pulled away.

Senior guard Josh Steinhaus scored 13 points, and junior forward Will Moore added eight points for the Wildcats.

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