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Michael O’Brien’s notebook: Jan. 30, 2016

Really glad that I made the trip down to Country Club Hills today. The game was even better than I expected. Homewood-Flossmoor pulled out the win over Hillcrest.

The Vikings may have a higher ceiling than I previously thought. I wouldn’t be surprised to see them in a sectional final, and at that point who knows. They take care of the ball and make free throws.

Hillcrest continues to just fall a little short. They will be a top ten team next season.

The first half of Riverside-Brookfield vs. St. Joseph was rough. Ragged play, no flow and not much scoring. The second half was much better. Nick Rakocevic pretty much dominated and Joffari Brown played very well.

On to R-B. I’ve had a ton of Bulldogs fans and neutrals asking me what’s up with the team. I’ve only seen them three times and I’ve yet to see them win, so I’m far from an expert. Something has been off in the games I’ve seen though. Last season the team was more than the sum of its parts. This year it isn’t even the sum of its parts. Too much hero ball from all of the guards. The ball just isn’t moving like it did last year. The Bulldogs excelled in the plucky underdog role. It’s taking some time to learn how to be an alpha dog. Luckily they have another month to figure it out. I wouldn’t give up on R-B’s chances to win the sectional yet (remember, they host it) but it’s hard to see them beating Kenwood or Curie (and plenty of other teams) the way they are playing now.

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Today’s top games

Farragut 62, No. 22 Hyde Park 52: If you’ve seen Farragut you know there is potential. The Red-West was just an all-out battle every night, disregard the records of all the teams, they can all play.

Batavia 66, No. 18 Lake Zurich 64: Big, last shot win for the Bulldogs at the Night of Hoops. Canaan Coffey is the hero.

No. 7 Curie 69, Lincoln Park 48: Solid win for the Condors. They have all the pieces to win a city title.

Deerfield 75, Conant 57: Big win for the Warriors, who are now 20-3.

Jeremy Sernick scored 13 points.

No. 5 Evanston 68, St. Ignatius 32: Massive blowout for the Wildkits. Nojel Eastern scored 11 points.

Stevenson 64, Zion-Benton 51: Bit of a rough stretch for the Z-B’s all month. Ryuji Aoki had 20 points for the Patriots, who continue to be up and down.

Loyola 54, Notre Dame 45: Remember last night when I got all excited about JCA’s win over Notre Dame? Hmm.

North Lawndale 74, Comanche, Iowa 60: The Phoenix went and played in Iowa for some reason. And they won.

Simeon 50, Milwaukee Washington 48: The Wolverines were up big, then let Washington back into the game. Josh Thomas scored 18 points. Illini commit Te’Jon Lucas scored 19, I heard mixed reviews about him.

St. Charles East 46, St. Charles North 45: It was fun spending a lot of time in St. Charles last year. Big win for the Saints.