Michael O’Brien’s high school basketball notebook

Analysis, highlights and scores from the best games of Thursday, Jan. 9, 2020.

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Dunbar’s Damione Howard (5) battles Phillips’ Davion Jordan (2) over a loose ball.

Dunbar’s Damione Howard (5) battles Phillips’ Davion Jordan (2) over a loose ball.

Worsom Robinson/For the Sun-Times

It usually feels like I’m taking a bit of a risk when I cover a non-Red Division Public League game. There are no big star players or built-in storylines. I worry that the game might not be interesting to the Sun-Times’ overall readership.

It’s probably time to totally stop worrying about that. The basketball culture in Chicago is ridiculously strong. It’s kind of mind-blowing to think about how many people are watching high school basketball every day in Chicago between 5 and 9 p.m.

There was an excellent crowd of mostly students on Wednesday at Northeastern Illinois for the Taft vs. Von Steuben game. I was there to see Ola Ajiboye, the Panthers’ star 6-8 junior.

Shortly after arriving I learned Ajiobye was injured and wouldn’t play. Uh oh. There goes that story. But then the basketball gods rewarded me with a terrific finish, one of the best I’ve seen all season.

There were no worries tonight. The Dunbar gym was rocking and both teams played well. Phillips and the Mightymen will be a factor in Class 2A this season.

Thursday’s top games

Simeon 73, Hyde Park 39: Probably the most interesting score of the night. The Thunderbirds are good. Simeon took them down pretty easily apparently. A very good sign that the Wolverines are turning the corner and a big game from Jeremiah Williams. The senior had 24 points, 11 rebounds and four assists. Ahamad Bynum added 14 points and seven rebounds and Fred Poole scored 13.

Hubbard 67, Solorio 57: There hasn’t been much buzz around Hubbard yet this season but this is a nice win for the Greyhounds. Jumario Johnson had 22 points and eight rebounds for Hubbard. Amareye Davis added 17 points and 17 boards and Juan Rodriguez scored 11.

No. 1 Curie 74, Kenwood 46: Another big game for transfer Saiveon Williams who is clearly starting to find his groove. He had 17 points and 10 rebounds. Josiah Hammons scored 13 and Ramean Hinton added 10 points and 11 rebounds.

Glenbard South 47, Glenbard East 45: Huge one in the Upstate Eight. A balanced effort wins it for South on the road. Jacob Folkerts and Nick Plaso each scored 13. DaRon Hall led the Rams with 19.

UP-Englewood 63, Kennedy 53: The Lions are 4-2 and right in the thick of things in the White-Central. Core’del Lott scored 21 and Donovan Turner added 16 points and 10 rebounds.

Corliss 43, Lindblom 32: Trojans win one on the road and are an impressive 5-1 in the Red-South/Central. Jadon Williams had 12 points and eight rebounds and junior Javonte McKenzie scored nine.

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