After its victory over conference rival Morgan Park and an upcoming game with highly-regarded Archbishop Carroll (Pennsylvania) at the Hoophall Classic in Springfield, Massachusetts on Saturday, it would have been easy for Simeon to overlook Vocational on Thursday.
It looked that way for the first half, but the No. 2 Wolverines gathered themselves and ran away with a 51-31 Red-South victory over the host Cavaliers.
Simeon (15-1, 7-0) led 9-8 after the first quarter and trailed 17-13 at halftime 17-13.
In the first half, the Wolverines shot 6-for-28 from the floor, but the second half was a different story after a few choice words from coach Robert Smith.
The team responded at the beginning of the third quarter with a 15-0 run as Zach Norvell drained two three-pointers. Isaiah Moss added five points during the run while Edward Morrow had three blocks and a dunk. The third quarter ended with Simeon back in control and leading 30-19.
During the third-quarter run, the Wolverines defense not only limited the Cavaliers (8-6,1-4) to one basket in the final 29 seconds but forced ten turnovers.
Smith said he was very disappointed with his team’s first-half performance.
“This is one of those trap games if there ever was one, and I told them that,” Smith said. “Morgan Park was a big game and we’re going out of town for another big game on Saturday and I told them that losing this game would make all the hard work and effort go down the drain.”
Morrow was the only Simeon player that scored in double figures with 10 points. He added seven rebounds and seven blocks. Moss contributed nine points and Norvell finished with eight.
Jakobe Barker scored a team-high 10 points for the Cavaliers.
Norvell said the message was plain and clear from Coach Smith at halftime. “He told us to share the ball,” Norvell said.
Vocational coach Chris Pickett saidhis team got away from its game plan in the second half. “In the second half things just got away,” Pickett said. “They turned up the defense and forced us into a lot of turnovers (27) and you can’t stay in a game with a team like Simeon turning the ball over.”