Michael O’Brien’s high school basketball notebook

Scores, highlights and analysis from the top games of Friday, February, 12, 2021.

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Rich Township’s new gymnasium on opening night as the Raptors host Kankakee.

Rich Township’s new gymnasium on opening night as the Raptors host Kankakee.

Allen Cunningham/For the Sun-Times

It’s clear that the Rich Township community has a lot of pride and optimism around the new, consolidated high school. Or at least the athletic programs do, I didn’t get to talk to any actual community members because the old Rich South gym was basically empty.

But Rich Athletic Director Matthew Shank was literally wearing a red shirt that emblazoned with “Rich Township Pride” and basketball coach Cornelius Crossley was decked out in Raptors gear, including his mask.

Shank said it plainly, he expects the new program to “start putting us on the map with the bigger schools in the area.”

The school’s enrollment is just short of 3,000 now, so it is one of the 20 biggest schools in the entire state. That does not always lead to athletic success. It appears to be pretty much a tossup if you look at the top 20.

Lets be frank: Rich and all of the South Suburban public high schools have been decimated by the Public League powerhouses and, to a lesser extent, some Catholic high schools.

There is an opening now though. It is unlikely that Morgan Park will have the same draw as it did over the past decade. That could help keep some talent home.

Tonight’s Kankakee-Rich game was hard-fought. It was the most intense game I’ve seen so far this season, the kids were going at it tooth and nail. The Raptors lost, but did not give in until the buzzer. That’s a good sign for Crossley.

It’s the first big Friday night of the season, which feels pretty good to type. I am starting to get a little less thankful that basketball is back and more annoyed at not having a crowd. Tonight would have been so much fun with the usual crowd. But I’m going to try and squelch that whining, especially since I’m so lucky to get to see basketball live.

Friday’s top games

Hersey 78, Buffalo Grove 68: A really nice win for Hersey. Ethan Roberts had a massive game with 42 points, 10 rebounds and seven assists. Also need to mention that Kam Craft finished with 40 points and 11 rebounds in the loss.

Fremd57, Conant 44: The Vikings are becoming one of the most dependable programs in the entire area. Eli Schoffstall scored 19 and Chris Smyros added17 points.

No. 16 Bolingbrook 69, Bradley-Bourbonnais 54: Kyonte Thomas had 20 points, Kai Evans scored 16 and Mekhi Cooper added 12 points and eight assists.

Mount Carmel 81, Providence-St. Mel 40: All 10 players scored for the Caravan. Elijah Jointer led the way with 17.

Providence 52, Leo 50: The Celtics pull out a tight win. Hunter Dauparas, a player that emerged earlier this week, had 14 points and 10 rebounds. Jack Wajda scored 15 and James Arentz hit the game-winning three-pointer.

Proviso East 75, Proviso West 53: I didn’t see any highlights from this one, but the Proviso battle is always notebook worthy.

York 64, Willowbrook 37: New coach Mike Dunn picks up his first win. Nick Hesch and Alex Sherman each scored 12.

Marian Catholic 46, Carmel 37: Jeremiah Jones finished with 15 for the Spartans and Asher Jackson led Carmel with 18. Loyola is up next for Marian.

No. 11 Glenbard West 70, Downers Grove South 31: Yikes, the Hilltoppers are posting some scores so far this season. Will anyone stop this juggernaut? I can’t wait to get a look at Glenbard West, considering most of us expected them to maybe be a year away from major success. Braden Huff scored 20.

Lincoln-Way Central 67, Lincoln-Way West 60: I just read Steve Soucie’s story on this one. LWC coach Bob Curran said he isn’t even sure which guys he should be playing yet. That’s kinda scary considering the Knights are already 3-0 and have knocked off both district rivals. James Ogrodnik scored 16 and Frank DeCarlo added 14.

Oak Lawn 47, TF North 20: Beat the Meteors by 27 points and you have my attention. Rodney Washington led the way with 10 points and check out senior Rafael Bou’s line of nine points, eight rebounds and five assists. That’s a game.

Lockport 65, Sandburg 46: The Porters had nine different players score, led by junior Ethan Gallagher’s 12 points. Julius Smith and Matas Deksnys each added 11 points. Lockport had assists on 21 of 27 buckets. I’ll get a look at them tomorrow in Joliet.

No. 15 Glenbrook South 55, Maine South 33: I never seem to see Glenbrook South stats until the next day. I’m starting to think it might be a plan. This is a really nice win, one of the best of the season so far. Both teams were 4-0 heading in. But get this....the teams play each other tomorrow at 2 p.m. That is wacky, but everything seems to be these days.

Indian Creek 68, Serena 47: The Timberwolves advance to the Little Ten Tournament title game for the sixth consecutive season. They will face Somonauk, who beat Newark 55-45. Cam Russell led Indian Creek tonight with 21 points, Brennen McNally scored 19 and Drew Gaston added 16.

No. 9 Fenwick 76, De La Salle 53: The Friars are 3-0. Bryce Hopkins scored 27 and Denium Juette added 18.

St. Ignatius 67, St. Laurence 49: The Wolfpack bounces back from last night’s loss at Loyola. Parker Higginbottom led the way with 19 points, sophomore Richard Barron scored 17 and juniors AJ Redd and Kolby Giles each scored 12.

Naperville Central 60, No. 19 Neuqua Valley 40: A ranked team goes down. Better get Naperville Central on the radar and in my scores book.

Joliet West 46, Plainfield East 44: The Tigers squeak one out. They have Bolingbrook tomorrow, which will be a major test.

No. 17 Homewood-Flossmoor 75, Lincoln-Way East 60: I’m hearing raves about the Vikings so far this season.

Lyons 69, Morton 61: Very nice win for Lyons, I’m high on Morton this season.

Timothy Christian 57, St. Edward 25: There are too many teams I need to see and not enough nights of the season. It’s starting to stress me out. Ben VanderWal had another big game with 14 points, nine rebounds and four steals. Josh Harris had seven points and four assists and Ben Jones added nine points and four assists.

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