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Simeon demolishes Oak Park, establishes itself as the favorite at Pontiac

It was a dominant performance that firmly established Simeon as the favorite to take home the Pontiac trophy tomorrow. 

Simeon’s Wesley Rubin (10) dunks the ball against Oak Park.
Simeon’s Wesley Rubin (10) dunks the ball against Oak Park.
Allen Cunningham/For the Sun-Times

PONTIAC, Ill. — Curie received the top seed at the 90th Pontiac Holiday Tournament. Simeon has been the more highly regarded team this season, but the tournament organizers felt the Condors deserved the top seed. They are undefeated and are the two-time defending champions.

Neither Public League team was especially impressive in the first round Tuesday. That left most believing there wasn’t a true favorite for the tournament title. New Trier looked just as capable of winning it all as Curie or Simeon based on the openers.

That all changed Wednesday morning. The Wolverines demolished Oak Park 79-45 in the first quarterfinal. It was a dominant performance that firmly established Simeon as the favorite to take home the Pontiac trophy tomorrow.

The Wolverines have some impressive and effective long players. Wes and Miles Rubin, 6-8 juniors, transferred from Homewood-Flossmoor to join 6-7 Lance Rogers.

That length completely disrupted Oak Park’s offense and was nearly impossible for the Huskies to stop on defense.

Wes Rubin had 13 points and seven rebounds, and Miles Rubin added 12 points, seven rebounds and six blocks.

“They are improving every day,” Simeon coach Robert Smith said. “They are getting better every time we step on the court. And they are still learning the system. They are real talented, and they understand what is going on.”

Simeon junior Jalen Griffith, who plays on the same club basketball team as the Rubins, is especially effective at feeding the brothers in the post.

“We definitely have a good connection,” Wes Rubin said. “Miles and I know to be in the right spots when he cuts into the paint, and he finds us.”

Griffith finished with 10 points and five assists. Jaylen Drane led the Wolverines (8-1) with 18 points.

“It all started on the defensive end,” Smith said. “If we can guard two guys of that caliber and hold them down, then we have a chance. Our big guys are rebounding and blocking shots.”

Oak Park’s two high-caliber talents are Denver recruit Justin Mullins (eight points, five rebounds) and junior Sam Lewis (14 points). Mullins fouled out late in the third quarter. The Huskies (5-4) trailed 23-9 after the first quarter and 43-18 at halftime.

Simeon will face New Trier in the semifinals Thursday.