Michael O’Brien’s high school basketball notebook

Analysis, scores and highlights from the best games of Tuesday, Jan. 28, 2020.

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Bloom’s Dante Maddox, jr., (21) powers his way around Thornton’s Sean Burress (5).

Bloom’s Dante Maddox, jr., (21) powers his way around Thornton’s Sean Burress (5).

Allen Cunningham/For the Sun-Times

I’ll admit there are some nights in a nearly empty gym watching a dreary high school basketball game with a score in the 30’s when I wonder why in the world I didn’t take a pro or college beat.

This was most definitely not one of those nights. The energy in Bloom’s gym could have powered all of Chicago Heights for a few hours. It was spectacular.

The Blazing Trojans stepped up and played as most people expected them to this season. I haven’t soured on Thornton at all, despite picking up that first loss. Brandon Hall, the Wildcats’ most talented player, hasn’t been himself the last few games. He’s been battling an injured ankle and didn’t contribute much.

It was a big night, lets get into the action.

Tuesday’s top games

Orr 70, No. 7 Young 58: First off, well done Tyrone Slaughter and Lou Adams. There were a lot of rumors that this game wasn’t going to be played since it didn’t really impact the conference standings. I ranted about that on this week’s episode of No Shot Clock (Curie and Morgan Park won’t be playing for the same reason). It’s great that the Dolphins made the trip to Orr, despite taking the loss. Demarius Splunge scored 21 and Bryce Hall added 14 for the Spartans. It’s clearly too early to count Orr out, despite the overall record. This team was always going to take awhile to jell together.

No. 11 Marian Catholic 55, Nazareth 37: Mike Taylor picks up win No. 300. Congrats to Mike, who is one of those coaches that answers the phone or responds to a text even when it is an unpleasant situation. And then he tells me the truth, unlike more coaches than you would imagine. Ahron Ulis scored 20 for the Spartans.

No. 19 Kankakee 57, Rich East 56: The Rockets put a scare into a ranked team again. They led by 10 with just 4:28 to play. Lavell McIntosh led the Kays with 12 points and nine rebounds.

No. 17 Loyola 41, No. 3 Evanston 33: Huge win for the Ramblers, especially for the sectional seeds. This one was in Evanston as well. It’s the second time in four games the Wildkits have been upset. Bennett Kwiecinski led the way for Loyola with 11 points and six rebounds. The Ramblers have only lost to one in-state team so far this season, Homewood-Flossmoor.

Oswego 65, Romeoville 59 OT: Joey Niesman scored 26 and grabbed 10 rebounds. Jack Kahoun added 24. We haven’t talked about the Panthers a ton this season but they are 17-3.

No. 22 Glenbrook South 52, Prospect 40: The Titans grab a solid resume-builder. Dom Martinelli scored 31.

Timothy Christian 64, Stagg 42: Josh Harris scored 23 and Matt Owens added 19 points and six assists. The Trojans are 17-3.

Leyden 52, Argo 44: As long as I’m handing out kudos in this notebook, here is one for Argo’s Twitter account, which included Leyden’s leading scorer in their tweet. That is good, helpful stuff and deserves a spot in the notebook. JaQuet Hardimon scored 24 for the Eagles and Shallah Davis led the Arognauts with 20.

Huntley 54, No. 21 Cary-Grove 46: I really wish this one had been on a night I could have made the trip up to the Fox Valley. It was the game I was wondering about in that conference. The Red Raiders get the eye-opening upset and even things up in the FVC.

Glenbard West 50, Naperville Central 49 OT: Balanced scoring effort for the Hilltoppers in a really nice win.

Leo 77, Richards 70: This is a scary result for all of Class 1A. The Bulldogs are a solid team. Do not sleep on the Lions’ chances to win a state title.

Lincoln-Way Central 63, Hinsdale Central 61: The Red Devils have now dropped a pair recently after a red-hot streak. Lincoln-Way Central is another team to keep an eye on, especially for next season. Bob Curran has a group of juniors gaining a ton of experience.

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