It looked like it would be another blowout for Simeon over visiting Bogan, but the No. 3 Wolverines ended up having to scrap for a 55-48 Red-South victory Thursday.
Simeon (17-2, 9-0) jumped out to an 18-6 first-quarter lead as Bogan only sank one of nine field goals in the quarter. Enter Antonio Thomas, who sank his first shot as the No. 9 Bengals cut the lead 22-20 after a 3-pointer by Luwane Pipkins during a 14-4 run.
Simeon was bailed out by Ed Morrow, who scored 10 of Simeon’s 12 points, blocked three shots and grabbed four rebounds in the second quarter as the Wolverines held a 30-22 lead at the half. Simeon held a 37-30 lead at the end of the third quarter.
The Bengals (15-6, 5-4) mounted one last furious charge with a 12-4 run and took their only lead of the game with 4:25 remaining on a offensive rebound putback by Thomas. Simeon gained control of the game in the final two and half minutes, leading 45-43 after Morrow and Arrion Fitch were battling for a rebound and Fitch was assessed a foul and technical for protesting the call. Simeon was able to turn that into a five-point swing, effectively ending the game.
Simeon coach Rob Smith said his team was rusty. “The starters haven’t really played in over a week and their timing was definitely off,” Smith said. “This was a great game and the type of game you need going into the playoffs. There are very few blowouts in the playoffs. But when the game got close, the team responded and we didn’t panic.”
Morrow also admitted the Wolverines may have overlooked Bogan. “Last time we played them, we beat them by 18,” Morrow said. “Coach [Smith] told us that Bogan was not going to lay down, but it took about a quarter for it to sink in and then we got back to playing Simeon basketball.”
Morrow scored a game-high 20 points, 10 rebounds and 6 blocks. Moss added 15 and D.J. Williams finished with 12.
Pipkins had a team-high 15 points and Tom Johnson chipped in with 10 for the Bengals.
Bogan coach Arthur Goodwin said he was quite pleased with his team’s effort. “What I saw out there was Bogan basketball again — unselfish, tough, hardnose defense,” Goodwin said. “This is what I have been looking for going into the playoffs.”