Michael O’Brien’s notebook: Feb. 13, 2018

SHARE Michael O’Brien’s notebook: Feb. 13, 2018

Morgan Park coach Nick Irvin tries to talk to the official. Tuesday 02-13-18. Worsom Robinson/For the Sun-Times.

Today was Morgan Park coach Nick Irvin’s birthday. It didn’t go the way he wanted, but seems like a good day to give him the notebook picture.

Impressive win by Young tonight. It’s easy to get on board with Young after seeing that performance. Can the Dolphins beat Simeon? Who knows, but seeing the Wolverines look sorta human today against Uplift certainly makes things more interesting.

One of my criticisms of Young this season has been its defense. They have stretches where it just seems to disappear. That happened in the first half tonight, but the Dolphins really buckled down in the second half.

Young coach Tyrone Slaughter acknowledged the problem.

“I think part of that is how we have tried to play all year,” Slaughter said. “We’ve looked to play faster and that allows people to get shots they normally wouldn’t. But now it is the playoffs and I think historically our team has always played better once we got to this time of year.”

That makes sense. And Slaughter’s teams certainly have been excellent down the stretch the past few seasons. Friday at Chicago State is going to fun. No. 4 Young plays No. 1 Simeon at 7 and No. 2 Curie plays No. 3 Orr at 5.

One last thing about Young-Morgan Park. Do not underestimate Tyler Beard. Young’s sophomore guard missed most of the season with eligibility issues, but he is clearly going to challenge Morgan Park’s Adam Miller and Fenwick’s DJ Steward for the top spot in the class of 2020.

Read all about Young’s win over Morgan Park (and watch the ending).

Tonight’s top games

Curie 77, Kenwood 64: Dajuan Gordon continues to emerge. His potential was clear all season but he’s becoming a real force lately. He had 17 points and five rebounds. Treavon Martin added 12 points, 14 rebounds, five blocks and three assists and Marquise Walker scored 11.

Orr 59, Bogan 57: This turned out to be a nail-biter. Ty Mosely had 18 points and eight rebounds, he is finishing the season strong. Dannie Smith added 14 points and six rebounds and Raekwon Drake had nine points, 13 rebounds and six blocks. The Bengals only play one senior, so look out next season.

Simeon 86, Uplift 77: Uplift led early. I wouldn’t want anything to do with them in the Class 2A playoffs. I think the Titans and Leo could both give Orr a real challenge in March. Talen Horton-Tucker had 27 points and 14 rebounds. Kenny Pittman really came to the rescue with what I think is a career-high 20 points. Kejuan Clements scored 14 and Messiah Jones added 14 points and 11 rebounds.

Proviso West 48, Downers Grove North 46: The Panthers win it on two free throws by Deveon Bryan with 1.9 seconds left. He’s Robert Covington’s brother and was recently offered a football scholarship to Tennessee State. Ronnie Allgood, John Young and Willante Williams all scored in double figures. Semaj Henderson had 26 for the Trojans. Big win for Anthony Longstreet, Downers North is a good team.

Metea Valley 57, Wheaton-Warrenville South 54: Oh this is going to upset an awful lot of the commenters under the Super 25. Cory Adams scored 15 and Holden Rank added 14 for Metea. Matt Brodhead led the Tigers with 14.

St. Viator 50, Bartlett 49: The Lions survive. Jeremiah Hernandez scored 20 and Peter Lambesis added 15. When I talked with Hernandez after the Marist game on Saturday he expressed concern about Viator’s penchant for playing up or down to the level of competition.

St. Joseph 38, Loyola 33: Jalen Boyd scored 14 for the Chargers. Kevin Cunningham had 15 for the Ramblers. I know I’m coming off as some huge Loyola hater on No Shot Clock. I’m not! I promise. But yes, I’ve been careful not to let them get too high in the rankings.

Morton 72, Proviso East 71 OT: It’s too late and this notebook is too long for me to go back and get specifics, but it appears Morton is playing really well lately. Stephon Jordan had 18 points and eight rebounds and Vinny Belcaster added1 5 points. The Mustangs are 12-12.

Rolling Meadows 64, Maine East 60: The freshman went off. Max Christie scored 34.

Conant 58, Larkin 50: This is probably the game I would have went to if not for the Public League playoffs. Gotta see a big man battle when you can. Ryan Davis won this one. He scored 23 and had 14 rebounds, three blocks and four assists. Ben Schols added 20 for the Cougars. Anthony Lynch led Larkin with 25 points.

St. Charles East 55, Glenbard West 53: The Fighting Saints win a close one. Justin Hardy had 22 points and 11 rebounds. Hilltoppers junior Evan Taylor scored 17.

Lemont 68, Bremen 58: Big man Paul O’Leary scored 27 for Lemont.

New Trier 47, Maine South 44 OT: The Trevians escape. They have won some big close games this season. Evanston on Friday.

St. Rita 59, De La Salle 57: Junior Jeremiah Oden led the Mustangs with 16 points and six rebounds. He’s the guy that intrigues the prospect watchers, good to see him producing.

Andrew 79, St. Laurence 48: The shocking score of the night. As an old SICA West guy I never imagined Andrew basketball would be this interesting. The Thunderbolts drained 13 threes. Troy Murphy scored 25 and Evan Yerkes scored 19.

Notre Dame 63, Lincoln Park 54: Big man Dusan Mahorcic had a huge night with 26 points and 17 rebounds. The Lions continue to struggle. Apparently Terrence Shannon didn’t dress for this one and Chris Roberts only played a few minutes. Freshman Julian Montes led Lincoln Park with 25 points, he had seven three-pointers.

Schurz 55, Taft 49: This was a White Conference playoff game. The Bulldogs are now in the semis. I’d like to cover the White title game on Thursday, if I can figure out where and when it is. Jaland Mitchell scored 18.

And just FYI, courtesy of Legal Prep, these are the eight teams still alive in the Blue Conference playoffs: Legal Prep, Austin, Amandla, Dyett, Sullivan, Senn, Tilden, Catalyst.

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