Michael O’Brien’s notebook: Jan. 5, 2017

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Waukegan and Zion-Benton get into a shoving match in the second quarter. Worsom Robinson/ For the Sun-Times.

I fell in love with high school basketball in the 90’s, watching the great Joliet vs. Lincoln-Way (there was just one of each back then) rivalry.

Nothing in Joliet seemed as significant or as charged as the basketball battles against neighboring New Lenox.

I got another taste of that great action tonight in Zion. There just isn’t anything like two neighboring basketball loving towns in a big rivalry game. It’s better than two sides of town playing (but I’ll be at St. Charles North vs. St. Charles East on Saturday) or two Public League powers colliding or two neighborhood rival private schools going at it (sorry St. Patrick vs. Notre Dame).

Carson Newsome was incredible tonight for Waukegan. The refs had enough and called the game with three seconds to play. Read all about it.


Thursday’s top games:

No. 5 Bolingbrook 64, Stagg 55: The undefeated Raiders trailed for most of the game. Read on Twitter that Bolingbrook’s full-court press caused the Chargers some trouble late in the game. Kaleb Thornton led the way with 23 points. Malik Binns had 13 and Joseph Yesufu 12. John Contant (the reason Stagg is always dangerous) scored 30.

Grayslake North 51, Grayslake Central 50: The Knights are 9-2. They were undefeated at this point last year. I have to get around to see them at some point this season.

Stevenson 64, Libertyville 50: The Patriots have been on a major roll since losing to Hinsdale Central in the first round over the holidays. This win gives them a nice 11-2 record, the Wildcats fall below .500. Another big game for Justin Smith with 28 points and 10 boards. Willie Herenton scored 16. Drew Peterson led Libertyville with 20.

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