Michael O’Brien’s Super 25 Chicago high school basketball rankings for Jan. 5, 2020

Three teams join after a strange week of action.

SHARE Michael O’Brien’s Super 25 Chicago high school basketball rankings for Jan. 5, 2020
Joliet West’s Jeremy Fears, Jr., (11) dribbles in the front court against Simeon.

Joliet West’s Jeremy Fears, Jr., (11) dribbles in the front court against Simeon.

Allen Cunningham/For the Sun-Times

Joliet West’s victory against Simeon at the Pontiac Holiday Tournament changed the public’s perception of the team and raised expectations about a possible deep playoff run this season.

Several juniors and seniors sparkled for the Tigers, especially senior Jamere Hill, but one of the biggest eye-openers was freshman point guard Jeremy Fears Jr.

Fears has had ups and downs this season, but first-year coach Jeremy Krieger has shown steady belief in his young guard.

‘‘Life is about learning from mistakes,’’ Krieger said. ‘‘If I at any moment yank him for a mistake, he never has the opportunity to rebound from those mistakes. He doesn’t make mistakes not going hard. If he was being lazy making mistakes, we would have an issue. But he makes plays for the team. He makes mistakes for the team, and I can live with those.’’

Fears’ contribution, especially mentally, to Joliet West this season has gone a bit too unrecognized. He’s clearly a kid who expects to win. It’s that belief, along with Krieger, that has changed this group of players from a five-victory team last season into a supersectional contender this season.

A strange week

It was an odd week of high school basketball. A couple of holiday tournaments ended, and a lot of teams had the week off. Ten of the teams in the Super 25 last week didn’t play at all.

Of the 15 teams that played last week, 11 lost. But only four lost to teams in the Chicago area.

Ranked teams lost to teams from Mississippi, West Virginia, Nevada, Kentucky and Florida (twice). It was a week in which Young and Morgan Park dropped a bit after accumulating so many losses against national teams.

Young is 3-5 against out-of-state competition. The Dolphins have local victories against Lincoln Park and Farragut.

Young traditionally has used the out-of-state games as a springboard to major success locally. It’s entirely possible the Dolphins will do that again this season, but they (and Morgan Park) have taken a bit of a rankings hit for now.

New additions

Bolingbrook (11-3): Easy call to add the Raiders back to the rankings. Darius Burford and Kai Evans were excellent in leading them to the title at York, with victories against Hinsdale South and the host Dukes along the way.

Oak Lawn (13-2): Sami Osmani, Trey Ward and the Spartans looked terrific in a running-clock victory Friday against Tinley Park. But a victory Friday against Oak Forest is a must to stay in the Super 25.

St. Charles North (11-3): One of the few teams with a big victory this week. The North Stars are back after knocking off Lake Park on the road.

Dropping out

Hinsdale South (11-2): Eleven consecutive victories, then two consecutive losses. The Hornets have the talent to get back into the Super 25 soon.

Lake Park (13-2): One week out, one week in and now back out. The Lancers still need a big victory in the area.

York (12-2): The Dukes couldn’t hang with Bolingbrook on New Year’s Eve. Their résumé is still solid, with victories against Cary-Grove, Benet and Schaumburg.

With record and last week’s ranking

1. Curie (12-1) 1
Lost to Callaway, Miss.

2. Evanston (13-0) 2
Hosts Niles North Tuesday

3. Notre Dame (15-2) 3
Hosts Fenwick Tuesday

4. Bogan (14-1) 4
At Curie Tuesday

5. Homewood-Flossmoor (11-1) 7
Josiah Palmer emerging

6. Thornton (14-0) 8
Beat Saginaw, Mich.

7. Bloom (14-4) 9
Went 2-2 in New Orleans

8. Morgan Park (7-5) 5
Faces Marian Catholic Saturday

9. Young (7-6) 6
At Orr on Friday

10. Mundelein (13-1) 10
Lost at Collinsville

11. DePaul Prep (12-2) 11
Hosts Deerfield Saturday

12. Lincoln Park (12-3) 12
At North Lawndale Wednesday

13. Joliet West (13-2) 18
Test at Oswego East Friday

14. Glenbrook South (13-2) 15
Lost to Peoria Notre Dame

15. Niles North (12-2) 17
Jalen Butler contributing

16. Waubonsie Valley (14-1) 24
Dominated Marian Catholic

17. Marian Catholic (11-4) 13
Struggling to score

18. Stevenson (11-3) 20
Hosts Mundelein Friday

19. Loyola (14-1) 14
Lost in Florida

20. Fenwick (12-2) 21
Had the week off

21. Kankakee (11-1) 22
Hosts Thornwood Tuesday

22. Bolingbrook (11-3) NR
Won Jack Tosh Tournament

23. St. Charles North (11-3) NR
Big win at Lake Park

24. Lincoln-Way East (10-2) 25
Hosts Providence Tuesday

25. Oak Lawn (13-2) NR
Trey Ward is a factor

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