Michael O’Brien’s Super 25 Chicago high school basketball rankings

Niles North and Loyola join and Evanston makes a big jump

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Evanston’s Jaylin Gibson (0) dribbles the ball as Notre Dame’s Louis Lesmond (23) defends.

Evanston’s Jaylin Gibson (0) dribbles the ball as Notre Dame’s Louis Lesmond (23) defends.

Allen Cunningham/For the Sun-Times

Joliet West had the undefeated record, the ranking and an 11-point lead late in the third quarter, but none of that fazed Niles North

“[Coach Glenn Olson] always tells us before the games to ride the rollercoaster so that’s what we did,” Vikings senior Aquan Smart said. “I trusted my team, they really came through tonight.”

Smart scored a career-high 38 points and had 18 in the fourth quarter. 

“I feel like I’m under the radar a bit, that happens,” Smart, an East Tennessee State recruit, said. “But everyone will start waking up soon.”

Niles North (7-1) also won at Deerfield this past week.

“These two wins change a lot for us,” Smart said. “People are going to look at us differently now and realize we are a real contender. We have a lot of dedicated players, so this is a team that can do something.”

New additions

Niles North (7-1): See above. Quite a week for the Vikings.

Loyola (6-0): Coach Tom Livatino is closing in on 300 wins, 200 at Loyola and is already the winningest coach in Ramblers history. They are off to a 6-0 start and it appears Vaughn Pemberton is making the same major impact he did in football. 

Dropping out

Joliet West (6-1): The Tigers are deep and athletic but are still figuring things out under new coach Jeremy Kreiger. They built an 11-point lead twice against Niles North on Sunday but ended up losing by five. 

Oak Lawn (5-1): There is no shame in losing at home to a very talented Hillcrest team, but it knocks the Spartans out of the rankings for now.

With record and last week’s ranking

1. Bloom (7-0) 1
Passed all the tests so far

2. Bogan (7-0) 8
Knocked off Morgan Park

3. Morgan Park (3-1) 2
Beat Christian Brothers in OT

4. Evanston (6-0) 9
Sparkled vs. Notre Dame

5. Young (2-2) 3
Two shots from undefeated

6. Stevenson (5-0) 5
Faces Oak Park Saturday

7. Marian Catholic (5-1) 6
At Notre Dame on Tuesday

8. Curie (4-0) 11
Nice win in Kentucky

9. Simeon (1-1) 4
Hosts Bogan Tuesday

10. Lincoln Park (6-1) 10
Beat Westinghouse, Kenwood

11. Notre Dame (6-1) 7
Young team still jelling

12. Orr (2-1) 12
Hosts Lincoln Park Wednesday

13. Homewood-Flossmoor (5-1) 13
Handled Stagg

14. Thornton (5-0) 14
Could prove a lot vs. Bloom

15. Mundelein (6-0) 15
Jack Bikus stepping up

16. Hillcrest (3-2) 16
Mar’Keise Irving is back

17. Bolingbrook (3-1) 17
Beat Lincoln-Way West

18. Fenwick (5-1) 19
Trey Pettigrew can score

19. DePaul Prep (5-1) 20
At Mount Carmel Tuesday

20. St. Charles North (6-1) 21
Knocked off DeKalb

21. Lake Park (6-0) 23
Took down Batavia

22. Glenbrook South (6-0) 24
Survived against New Trier

23. Niles North (6-1) NR
Aquan Smart is a force

24. Loyola (6-0) NR
Vaughn Pemberton is a bull

25. Benet (4-1) 18
Lost to St. Patrick

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