Soaring DaJuan Gordon leads Curie into Pontiac title game

SHARE Soaring DaJuan Gordon leads Curie into Pontiac title game
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Curie’s DaJuan Gordon (3) gets a tip dunk over Simeon, Saturday 12-29-18. Worsom Robinson/For Sun-Times

PONTIAC — Curie’s high-flying senior DaJuan Gordon had a shoe fall off twice in the Condors’ 62-55 win against Simeon on Saturday in the semifinals of the Pontiac Holiday Tournament.

Gordon’s specialty is the tip dunk. The higher a missed shot bounces the better. He had three of those rim rockers against the Wolverines, flying so high that landing gear may be more appropriate on the end of his legs than those loosely attached shoes.

“I jump for every [shot], even the ones that look like they are going in,” Gordon said. “I get up high enough and my arms are long enough that I can usually grab it.”

Gordon, a Kansas State recruit, scored 21 points and grabbed 10 rebounds for the Condors (13-0). Damari Nixon scored 14.

“That is how [Gordon] got his scholarship,” Curie coach Mike Oliver said. “He’s an energizer bunny, always jumping around and getting offensive rebounds. He was huge for us down the stretch. He and Nixon came up with some big baskets.”

The game was tied at 50 with five minutes to play. The Condors forced Simeon into turnovers on four consecutive possessions and took a seven-point lead to pull away.

“That was the key to the game,” Oliver said. “We knew we could turn them over. We were trying to find an opportunity. We got some deflections early but they were bouncing Simeon’s way.”

Curie point guard Trevon Hamilton had 10 points and took care of the ball. Curie had just eight turnovers compared to Simeon’s 18.

“Hamilton settled us down and made free throws down the stretch and controlled the game in the fourth quarter,” Oliver said.

Senior Kejuan Clements led the Wolverines (5-7) with 17 points and five rebounds. Senior Antonio Reeves scored 14 and junior Sincere Callwood added 12 points and six rebounds off the bench.

Simeon played without two injured star players, sophomore Ahamad Bynum and 6-9 freshman AJ Casey. Both are expected to return soon. The Condors beat Simeon by 12 at home on Dec. 13.

“The game was ugly,” Oliver said. “Simeon, despite their record, is a good team. They have a lot of talent they are just still putting it together. I told my guys they had to take them seriously.”

Curie will face undefeated, No. 2 Bloom in the title game on Saturday at 9 p.m.

“Words can’t explain how excited we are for this,” Gordon said. “They play just like us. They aren’t individuals. They play team ball and do whatever it takes to win.”

Curie lost to Simeon in the championship game last season. The Condors won the tournament in 2015 and 2013.

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