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Michael O’Brien’s high school basketball notebook

Scores, highlights and analysis from the top games of Tuesday, March 2, 2021.

Joliet West’s Terrance Moncrief (12) shoots the ball over Oswego East.
Joliet West’s Terrance Moncrief (12) shoots the ball over Oswego East.
Kirsten Stickney/For the Sun-Times

Joliet West coach Jeremy Kreiger said he was surprised to hear I was going to be in his gym tonight. He knew there were some big games in Chicago and figured I’d be at one of them.

My goal for the next two weeks is to see as many teams as possible. There may be some huge games that I decide to attend because Sun-Times readers will be especially interested, but I didn’t think Simeon vs. Kenwood and Young vs. St. Rita were quite there. Kenwood and St. Rita are just too young right now. They did make those games slightly closer than I expected.

But overall I’m heading out to see as many teams as possible, and the Public League will go a week later so the plan is to spend as much time in the suburbs as possible while I can. It’s always absolutely horrible trying to make All-Area decisions on players I haven’t seen. In a normal year that just doesn’t happen. I might only get around to see a player once (and consequently that game carries way too much weight) but at least I have an idea about what he is.

Frankly, I don’t trust the recruiting rankings or the scholarship offers one bit. They don’t have anything to do with high school basketball really, that is for the future. The All-Area and All-City teams are about now. And there just aren’t enough people out there focused on high school basketball alone that I can depend on other articles or opinions. It is always best to go see for yourself.

Tuesday’s top games

Hyde Park 53, Morgan Park 43: The Thunderbirds are off to a 4-0 start. Junior Davontae Hall had an excellent night with 15 points, seven rebounds and four assists. Sophomore Camron Williford added 13 and junior Malik Jenkins added 13 points and seven rebounds.

Plainfield East 66, Minooka 58 OT: The Bengals roared back from a double-digit deficit in the second half to pull out the win. Kobe Reed scored a career-high 33 points along with 10 reboundsa nd four assists. He drained a 35-footer at the buzzer to send the game to overtime.

No. 23 St. Patrick 51, Marist 48: Caleb Corro scored 17 and Nick Galati added 14 for the Shamrocks. But it is Marist that catches my eye. The Redhawks haven’t pulled off a big upset yet but they have played well against some good teams. Alex Knight scored 12 and Xavier Sulaiman added 10 points for Marist.

Hubbard 81, Richards 59: The Greyhounds are putting up big numbers again. Amarie Bowens scored 20 and Asean Johnson added 18 points.

No. 1 Simeon 65, No. 17 Kenwood 54: Junior Jaylen Drane scored 19 points for the Wolverines. JJ Taylor led the Broncos with 23 points. I watched almost all of this one. Kenwood led early but Simeon was in control during the second half. Impressive effort from a very young Kenwood team.

No. 2 Young 60, St. Rita 52: The Mustangs had a big lead early and things went back and forth for awhile but the Dolphins pull it out on the road. Xavier Amos scored 23 and AJ Casey added 17 for Young. Christian Henry led St. Rita with 19 points. Dalen Davis didn’t play for the Dolphins.

Riverside-Brookfield 75, McNamara 51: This makes it eight consecutive wins for the Bulldogs. Junior Joevonn McCottry led the way with 16 points. Juniors Cory Baker and JP Hanley added 15 each.

Neuqua Valley 74, Naperville Central 67: The Wildcats started the season ranked. This win improves them to 8-3. Things haven’t gone quite as planned even though the record is nice. But the shooting blues vanished tonight. John Poulakidas scored 27 and Connor Davis added 23 points and 10 rebounds.

Plainfield North 46, Romeoville 43: Carlos Conley led the Tigers with 21 points.

Joliet Central 63, West Aurora 48: Sophomore Troy Cicero led the Steelmen with 33 points. He’s a name to keep an eye on.

Palatine 74, No. 20 Barrington 67 OT: Big result here. Julian Campbell poured in 31 points.

Morton 91, Oak Park 78: Jesus Perez had a career-high night with 31 points and 12 assists. Joshua Downdell added 17 points and sophomore Daraki Durham added 18. The Mustangs are 3-0 in conference.

No. 3 Mundelein 69, Zion-Benton 54: SIU recruit Scottie Ebube posts another double-double with 21 points and 11 rebounds. Drake recruit Conor Enright added 20 points, six assists and five rebounds. Trey Baker scored 15 and Jack Bikus had 11 points and 10 rebounds.

No. 14 Homewood-Flossmoor 50, Lincoln-Way East 48: Jhei-R Jones is is back from injury and it has clearly made a major impact. The Griffins are 2-6 now, but look out. Christian Meeks one it for the Vikings on a last second putback.

Brooks 77, No. 18 Corliss 75 OT: Biggest win for Brooks in a long time. Chaz Harvey scored 29 and Amron Hammond added 18 points. Kyle McElroy contributed 10 points and 12 rebounds. It was the seventh game in seven nights for the the Trojans, but that is the way it kinda goes this season.

Thornton 58, Crete-Monee 42: Brandon Hall scored a career-high 30 points. Guard Sean Burress is back in a couple of days.

Benet 46, Marian Catholic 27: Large margin here for Benet against a team that knocked off St. Patrick last weekend. The Redwings also gave Notre Dame all it could handle. Tyler Van Eekeren scored 14 and Luke Nolan added 12. Hmm, wonder if that is Pontiac hero Jack Nolan’s brother?

No. 7 Curie 76, Bogan 65: I didn’t see any scorers for this one, but I’ve been curious what was going on at Bogan this season and this indicates the Bengals are pretty good.

No. 15 Kankakee 66, Rich 63 OT: The Kays remain undefeated. This shows the progress Rich has made since their opener though.