Michael O’Brien’s high school basketball notebook

Analysis, highlights and scores from the best games of the Thursday, Dec. 26, 2019

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Benet’s Jack Prock (15) gets an open look for a three point shot against Danveille in the opening game of the Pontiac Holiday Tournament.

Benet’s Jack Prock (15) gets an open look for a three point shot against Danveille in the opening game of the Pontiac Holiday Tournament.

Allen Cunningham/For the Sun-Times

PONTIAC—It didn’t take long for the first upset to occur at the 89th Pontiac Holiday Tournament.

Warren, which entered as a complete afterthought, knocked off No. 4 seed Peoria Manual 54-45 in the second game of the first round on Thursday.

The Rams were a controversial choice (to some of us) as the four seed, but no one saw 3-6 Warren pulling off the upset.

It does make some sense why it took the Blue Devils a long time to get things going this season though. Only two players scored for Warren in the fourth quarter: Juan Delacruz and Seamus Mellican. Both are football players that were key members of the Blue Devils’ squad that lost to Lincoln-Way East in the Class 8A state championship game.

Delacruz is an All-Area linebacker committed to Western Illinois Mellican played linebacker and fullback.

“Seamus played just about every down,” Warren coach Jon Jasnoch said. “You get beat up a bit, he played all the way to Thanksgiving.

“We’ve been waiting as they have slowly been getting their legs under them and their basketball timing. Mellican knocked down some free throws so that is a pretty good sign that he’s starting to get his shot back. We knew he could dunk, he just had to get that opening.”

Manual (8-4) led 41-39 after a bucket by Rolando Brown with 6:23 left. The Blue Devils responded with a 15-4 run to close out the game. Mellican and Delacruz scored all the points.

Mellican finished with 11 points and 11 rebounds and Delacruz had 15 points and six rebounds. Adnan Sarancic, a 6-5 senior, added 15 points, six rebounds and three assists.

Warren will face Benet in the quarterfinals on Saturday.

I’ll be tracking all the games listed below. There is a ton of basketball today. Highlights will depend on what the tournaments make easily accessible for me. I’ll probably update in big batches throughout the day and night.

Find the scores for all of today’s games right here:

First Round
Benet 66, Danville 62: Benet center Colin Crothers has been playing at the Pontiac Holiday Tournament since he was a freshman. He wasn’t about to allow an injury to keep him from missing the event his senior year.

“I’ve been working on getting back in shape,” Crothers, a 6-8 Johns Hopkins recruit said. “When I was injured the timeline was worrisome to get back before this. I love playing here, it is my favorite place to play.”

Bloom 61, Lockport 46: The Blazing Trojans put on a show with a dozen or more dunks, but the Porters managed to keep it close throughout. Christian Shumate scored 23 and Keshawn Williams added 17. Lockport actually out-rebounded Bloom 23-18. Tommy Ferriter led the Porters with 14 points.

Oak Park 66, Plainfield North 63: The Huskies led by 17 after a bucket by Josh Smith with 5:58 to play. Then everything went wild.

“It’s survive and advance here at Pontiac,” Oak Park coach Matt Maloney said. “We keep talking about the sense of urgency. When we get up we start taking crazy shots and making crazy turnovers instead of playing together.We revert back to really bad habits. It’s been a consistent theme throughout the season.”

The Tigers took a 62-61 lead on a three from Blake Ellinghaus and then a free throw from Colin O’Rourke put them ahead by three with 30 seconds left.

Oak Park pulled it out thanks to a huge three-point play by Justin Cross with 21 seconds left.

“Justin Cross was tremendous on both sides of the ball,” Maloney said. “He just made winning plays. He does so many things and covers up so many of our mistakes defensively. He was absolutely phenomenal.”

Smith led the Huskies with 17 points, seven rebounds and five assists. Isaiah Barnes had 14 points and nine rebounds and Cross finished with 13 points and 10 boards.

Ellinghaus scored 20 for Plainfield North and was 6-for-9 on threes.

St. Charles North 38, New Trier 32: This one was not pretty. The North Stars shot 14-for-42 and New Trier was 12-for-38. St. Charles North pulled away midway through the fourth quarter. Christian Czerniak scored 12 and Connor Linke added 10 points and eight rebounds.
Curie 68, West Aurora 41: Dominant performance from the Condors Ramean Hinton led the way with 24 and Armond Williams added 15.
Simeon 58, Pontiac 48: This one was close for a quarter and then the Wolverines pulled away. It wasn’t as close as the final indicates.
Joliet West 74, Bloomington 68: The Tigers pulled away in the second half and held on at the end. Trent Howland, the star running back, scored 22 and grabbed six rebounds. Jamere Hill scored 15 and had eight assists and three steals. Landon Moore was sensational at times for the Purple Raiders, finished with 23 points and four assists.

Hinsdale Central
Homewood-Flossmoor 83, St. Charles East 54: RJ Ogom had four dunks and scored an efficient 22 points for the Vikings. Guards Josiah Palmer and Joel Watts added 18 and 13 points respectively for H-F, which shot 61 percent from the floor -- including 53 percent from three-point range.
Stevenson 51, Oswego East 42: Solid victory for the Patriots. RJ Homes scored 14 and Matt Kaznikov added 12.
Marian Catholic 57, St. Rita 49: It was closer this time but the Spartans beat St. Rita for the second time in a week. Joe Green scored 16 and Ahron Ulis and Elijah Jones each added 11. Kevin Murney had 19 for the Mustangs.
DePaul Prep 61, Westinghouse 43: The Rams hold Devin Davis to just 15 points. Lance Mosley and Tyler Johnson both scored 17.

Proviso West
First Round
Morton 70, Leo 62: This was expected to be one of the best games of the first round in Hillside and it delivered. Jesus Perez led the Mustangs with 22 points and eight assists and Kendell Nichols added 21 points and 13 rebounds. Kendale Anderson had 19 points and nine rebounds for the Lions.
Hillcrest 68, Hyde Park 62: Huge win for the Hawks. Hyde Park is a better team than most people realize and was fully capable of pulling off the upset. Mar’Keise Irving led the way with 18 points and five rebounds. Hamahrie Bowers had a massive game with 17 points and 16 boards. Julius Rollins added 13 points and 12 rebounds. Junior Jalen Houston led the Thunderbirds with 20 points.
Uplift 62, Proviso West 58: Massive game from Kymeon Mayo. He had 22 points, 14 rebounds, five steals and two blocks for the Titans. Taijay Brown added 17 points and five assists. Josh Doxie led the hosts with 21 points.
Fenwick 69, Larkin 56: Bryce Hopkins, the biggest star in the field, delivered in the opener with 28 points, 15 rebounds and five assists. Eian Pugh scored 12 and Max Reese added 13 points, six rebounds and three assists.
Lane 45, St. Joseph 41: Forget everything else, advancing to the quarterfinals at Proviso West feels like a huge step forward for Lane. Louis Perona had 13 points and six rebounds and Aaron Varillia added 10 points including the game-tying three in the fourth quarter. Bryce Coleman led the Chargers with 13 points.
Bogan 72, Crete-Monee 31: The Bengals coast. Darrion Jones scored 14 and Ideary Mooney added 12.
Zion-Benton 84, Dunbar 67: Amar Aguillard hasn’t been talked about much lately. That might start to change. He scored 33 and grabbed 11 rebounds to lead the Zee-Bees in to the quarterfinals.

First Round
Highland Park 66, Solorio 56: Val Oplchenski had 19 points and 13 rebounds. He’s clearly a name to keep an eye on. Nate Fleischer scored 15 and Billy Rudman added 12. The Sun Warriors, making their tournament debut, were led by Jordan Hill with 15 points. The Giants dominated the boards 29-15.
Schaumburg 47, Downers Grove South 46: The Mustangs held Schaumburg star Chris Hodges to just three points and one rebound and nearly pulled off the upset. Vaurice Patterson led the Saxons with 17. The stats say Schaumburg only had 12 rebounds in the game, which is insanely low. Tai Butler led Downers South with 12.
St. Laurence 77, St. Francis 73 OT: Dairus Wilson led the Vikings with 21 and Finn Walsh scored 19. Sebastian Miller scored 23 for Wheaton Academy and made 8 of 10 three-pointers.
Lyons 64, Sandburg 45: Grant Niego posted a double-double with 19 points and 10 rebounds. John Wall added nine points and 11 boards
Batavia 67, Andrew 50: I’m a little surprised by this margin. Good sign for the Bulldogs. Jayden Johnson scored 25 and Kyle Neibch added 11 points. Jolo Amoranto finished iwth 16 for the T-Bolts.
Rolling Meadows 68, Conant 52: It looks like Max Christie put on a show in Elmhurst. The junior scored 24 and had 10 rebounds and eight assists. Jonah Ogunsanya and Orlando Thomas each added 12 points. Devon Ellis led the Cougars with 21 points.
St. Ignatius 55, Nazareth 51: AJ Redd scored 16 and Parker Higginbottom added 11.
Hinsdale South 72, Elk Grove 45: There are some lofty expectations for the Hornets this week. First test was passed. James Ruzicka scored 15 and big man Aaron Tims had 13 points and 11 rebounds.
Providence 54, Lemont 52: The Celtics win a close one. Joe Alfirevich scored 22 and Jack Ruddy added 15 points and 11 rebounds.
Riverside-Brookfield 65, Stagg 48: Richards transfer Paul Zilinskas with a big game. The senior had 28 points and John Hanley added 10. Aurstin Stone paced Stagg with 12.
Wheaton North 57, Palatine 36: Julian Campbell had 25 and nine for the Pirates but a balanced effort won it for Wheaton North. Ben Bonga scored 15 and Zack Lorentsen added 12.
Brother Rice 82, Glenbard East 76: Daron Hall scored 33 and Deon Clark scored 31. But that was for the Glenbard East. The Crusaders shot 12-for-23 from three to win it. Luke Moustakas and Deandre Hagan each scored 14.
St. Patrick 48, Naperville North 47: Nick Galati scored 13 and Caleb Corro added 12 as the Shamrocks snuck away with a nice first-round win.
Timothy Christian 47, Lake Forest 43: Josh Harris scored 13 to lead Timothy, which shot 57 percent.
Bolingbrook 79, Minooka 49: The Raiders cruise in their tournament debut. Darius Burford scored 21 and Kai Evans added 19. Trent Hudak led Minooka with 15 points.
York 61, Montini 44: Nate Shockey just continues to get it done. He scored 23 and had four assists. Jeff Grace added 13 points, six boards and six steals.

Maine West 63, Libertyville 55: I admit to knowing pretty much nothing about Maine West. Nice run so far, better do some research. Jared Pearson scored 27 to lead the way.
Notre Dame 63, Prospect 45: Troy D’Amico scored 19 and Louis Lesmond added 16. Anthony Sayles is back and the Dons, the heavy favorites here, are apparently firing on all cylinders.
Niles North 63, Fremd 56: The Vikings are living up to expectations so far at Wheeling. Aquan Smart scored 33. You can be the college coaches are lining up for the unsigned senior.
Glenbrook South 36, St. Viator 35: Ok, I would have bet that if a team held Dom Martinelli to eight points that they would beat the Titans. I’d be wrong.

First round
Wheaton-Warrenville South 47, Plainfield South 32: Ben Bastian scored 12 and Parker Brown added 11 for the Tigers, who always seem to play well over the holidays.
North Lawndale 72, Mahomet-Seymour 69: Tight win for the Phoenix, who are expected to make some noise in the tournament. Daequan Davis had 26 and Charlie Harris added 12 points.
Peoria Central 50, Joliet Central 46: The Steelmen head backwards at State Farm, possibly for the first time since they joined the tournament a few years ago. Ashawn Pitchford scored 12 and Kee Hargrow added 10.

First Round
Chatham Glenwood 49, Marist 36: Dan Reed led the Redhawks with 10 points.
Evanston 70, Cahokia 34: The favorites cruise in their opener. Blake Peters had 17 points, seven rebounds and five steals and Jaylin Gibson added 13 points and five rebounds for the Wildkits.
Carmel 67, Champaign Central 63: Kimahri Wilson, who has been flying under the radar lately, had 17 points, five assists and four steals. Nice win for the Corsairs.
Romeoville 67, Mount Vernon 59: Destin Whitaker dropped 25 points and seven rebounds and Keedan Foster added 17.
Alton 78, TF North 62: The Meteors lose in the first round. Julius Byrd scored 17.

First Round
Washington, Ill. 58, Lake Zurich 43: The Bears go down in the first round. Will tucker scored 16 and Brady Orton added 11.
Boylan 74, Mount Carmel 32: Rough one for the Caravan.
Hersey 62, Moline 55: Ethan Roberts scored 11 and Daniel Clawson and James Nolan added 10.
Pekin 44, Plainfield East 29: The hosts take down the Bengals.
Lake Park 47, Limestone 79: Luke Sgarbossa scored 18 and Montrell Perry added 12.

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