Marist’s Malik Onyeali (1) drives toward the basket as Brother Rice’s Jack O’Connor (10) defends, January 17, 2017 Allen Cunningham / for Chicago Sun-Times

Michael O’Brien’s notebook: Jan. 23, 2017

SHARE Michael O’Brien’s notebook: Jan. 23, 2017
SHARE Michael O’Brien’s notebook: Jan. 23, 2017

The wild week led to a brand new top-ranked team, undefeated Bolingbrook.

The Raiders are deep and athletic. Nebraska recruit Nana Akenten is a tough guard for anyone, he’s a 6-6 shooting guard. Morgan Park transfer Malik Binns, a force in the post, is well-known around the area.

Bolingbrook entered the season with high expectations, but the Raiders have surpassed even those thanks to the contributions of their younger players

Junior Kaleb Thornton has led Bolingbrook in scoring the past few games. Sophomores Joseph Yesufu and Tyler Cochran were excellent in last week’s win against Homewood-Flossmoor.

“The older guys accepted us right away,” Yesufu said. “We are like a big family and I really enjoy them.”

Raiders coach Rob Brost has risen to the challenge of molding together several age groups and a handful of transfers. Bolingbrook has beaten five teams that have been ranked at some point and opened the season with three wins against good central Illinois teams.

“The best thing about [Yesufu and Cochran] is they are sophomores,” Brost said. “They are two of the best sophomores in the state and I’m going to like coaching them for two more years.”

The Raiders won’t have much time to sit back and enjoy the lofty new ranking. They host No. 8 Joliet West on Tuesday.


Stevenson: The Patriots are back after a convincing win against Waukegan on Saturday. They’ve won seven consecutive games since dropping back to back games to Prospect and Hinsdale Central, neither of which look very bad with the way those teams are playing.

TF North: As usual, the Meteors entered the season as a bit of an unknown. Michael Williams Jr., Joel Deere and Jadacus Dixon have proven to be rock solid. They haven’t lost to an area team yet this season.

Bogan: All six of the Bengals losses were to quality teams and the young group knocked off Simeon by 19 points on Thursday. That will get you ranked.

Willowbrook: The Warriors aren’t dominating teams, but they just keep winning. Ethan Schuemer has the led the way all season and Iman Reynolds is a strong new addition.


No. 8 Joliet West at No. 1 Bolingbrook, Tuesday: If the Tigers could make half of their free throws they would probably be the area’s top-ranked team. These former conference rivals know each other well and should enjoy stealing some of the spotlight away from the Public League this week. The game will be televised on tape delay on U-Too.

No. 5 Morgan Park at No. 2 Simeon, Tuesday: Wolverines coach Robert Smith said he saw the Bogan loss coming. Simeon played seven games in nine days and traveled to Memphis and Milwaukee. Evan Gilyard and company will be well-rested to take on their rivals, but the Battle of Vincennes is never dull. Morgan Park will be looking to make a statement.

Larkin at No. 15 Geneva, Friday: The Vikings are still undefeated, but fairly unrespected. Larkin is just 12-10, but the Royals have size with 6-9 Jalen Shaw and perimeter talent with junior Anthony Lynch and could provide a stern test.

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