Bogan coach Arthur Goodwin publicly demanded more of Rashaun Agee last season. He felt Agee wasn’t living up to his potential.
The 6-8 senior has now developed into a game-dominating force. Agee had 27 points and 15 rebounds to lead the No. 5 Bengals to a 66-62 overtime win against No. 10 Simeon.
“All he ever needed was the confidence and he’s playing with it now,” Bogan guard Jeremiah Washington said. “Every day we remind him that he’s the best big in the city. We just need him to keep playing the way he’s been playing.”
Bogan (7-1, 2-1 Red-South/Central) started slow and trailed Wolverines 26-23 at halftime. It’s widely believed that the Bengals’ loud, hot and crowded gym is a massive home court advantage. Apparently it doesn’t always work that way.
“The crowd and the atmosphere just gets us over excited,” Agee said. “We like the energy and sometimes focus too much on keeping that going.”
“It seems to always be like this when we first get back home,” Goodwin said. “So much excitement, music, banging and then it just took a little time to figure out what they were doing.”
Simeon (1-4, 1-1) was using a box and one defense to deny Bogan guard Jordan “Tiger” Booker the ball. Booker scored just eight points. He was there in the clutch though, draining four of four three throws in the final 11 seconds of overtime to seal the win.
“We are so used to Tiger having the ball in his hands it just made it different,” Agee said. “We have so many talented guards though, and they can all handle pressure.”
Jeremiah Washington, Booker’s backcourt mate, scored 18 points. The athletic, 5-9 senior lit up the gym with dunk in the fourth quarter that gave the Bengals a 53-50 advantage.
“As far as dunks, with the way the crowd came on the court I would rank it number one in my career,” Washington said.
Bogan briefly played up to its full potential last week against Morgan Park. The Bengals built a 16-point third quarter lead but went on to lose the game.
“That was hard,” Goodwin said. “It is still on my mind right now because we could be undefeated. But I just want us to keep getting better until the end. I want to get a trophy this year.”
Senior Antonio Reeves led the Wolverines with 17 points and five rebounds. Sophomore Ahamad Bynum scored 17.
“We’ve been getting better every game,” Simeon coach Robert Smith said. “I’m just trying to keep these guys positive. They are so young, I don’t want them to get discouraged.”
The Wolverines lost two games at a high-profile national shootout in Arizona this weekend and play at Curie on Thursday.
“I can’t put it all on them,” Smith said. “I have to do a better job scheduling. This wasn’t the best schedule for this group.”
Simeon has an experienced backcourt with Reeves and senior Kejuan Clements. Its weakness was expected to be the bigs, but they played well against one of the tallest teams in the state.
Jeremiah Stamps, a 6-7 senior, had nine points and 11 rebounds. Junior Sincere Callwood had six points and 11 rebounds and 6-8 freshman AJ Casey added seven points and four boards.
“They have been battling all season,” Smith said. “Our guards have to step up and do some other stuff. That’s what it is right now.”