Michael O’Brien’s Super 25 high school basketball rankings for Feb. 6, 2022

Glenbard West remains on top and Glenbrook South is back in the No. 2 spot.

SHARE Michael O’Brien’s Super 25 high school basketball rankings for Feb. 6, 2022
Sierra Canyon’s Amari Bailey (10) embraces Bronny James (0) after winning the game against Glenbard West.

Sierra Canyon’s Amari Bailey (10) embraces Bronny James (0) after winning the game against Glenbard West.

Kirsten Stickney/For the Sun-Times

High school basketball owned the Chicago sports scene on Saturday night. There was a sold-out crowd at Wintrust Arena and a nice crowd for the Donda Homecoming event at UIC.

Both events were televised. For the first time in more than two years, there were big events that caught the eye of the casual sports fan.Amari Bailey and Bronny James lived up to the hype in Sierra Canyon’s win over Glenbard West. But the Hilltoppers captured the hearts of Chicago sports fans.

It’s impossible to overstate the impact Glenbard West’s fan base had made on this season. The Glen Ellyn community has ferociously backed its team and breathed life back into a sport that desperately needed an infusion of energy and attention after two years without state championships.

The Illinois High School Association will release its playoff pairings on Friday. Imagine thousands of Hilltoppers fans converging on the state finals in Champaign in March? The Illinois High School Association couldn’t possibly hope for a better start to its new finals format.

But that is a long way off. Glenbard West still has four regular-season games left, conference matchups with Hinsdale Central, Oak Park, and Proviso West, and then a newly scheduled game against Simeon on Feb. 18 at Proviso West.

The Hilltoppers’ quest for an unbeaten season ended on Saturday, but their major focus has always been on a state title. That’s still very possible. They are the clear favorites.

JJ Taylor delivers for Donda

Amari Bailey wasn’t the only homegrown talent to have a successful homecoming game on Saturday. JJ Taylor, who transferred to Donda Academy from Kenwood in the fall, led the Doves to an 85-62 win against Chicago Prep at UIC’s Credit Union 1 Arena.

Taylor led Donda with 23 points and five rebounds. Julio Montes, a Lincoln Park graduate, led Chicago Prep with 25 points.

Milestones

St. Patrick coach Mike Bailey picked up his 600th win with a 63-53 victory against Marist on Saturday. Bailey took over as Shamrocks head coach in 1994.

Several successful high school coaches started their careers on Bailey’s staff at St. Patrick, including Benet’s Gene Heidkamp, Waukegan’s Ron Ashlaw, and Matt Monroe at St. Ignatius.

The big man

Morgan Park’s Lidell Miller has quietly become one of the best big men in the Public League. He’s averaging 19 points and 15 rebounds this season and was fantastic against Westinghouse in the second round of the city playoffs.

He’s the only player that didn’t transfer away after Nick Irvin left to coach at Western Illinois. Miller, a 6-7 senior, gained weight during the pandemic but has been rapidly shedding it. He’s down to 248 pounds and Gardner thinks 230 is possible.

“He can be a really nice stretch four for somebody at the next level,” Morgan Park coach Chris Gardner said. “They need to come see him. The colleges have fallen asleep. If they watch him play and talk with him they will understand. He’s just a great kid. I love him to death. I’d do anything for him.”

Super 25 for Feb. 6, 2022
With record and last week’s ranking

1. Glenbard West (26-1) 1
Lost to Sierra Canyon

2. Glenbrook South (25-2) 3
Dominated Curie

3. Simeon (22-3) 2
Wes Rubin is back

4. Kenwood (21-6) 6
Handled Hillcrest easily

5. Hillcrest (23-3) 5
Rough start Saturday

6. New Trier (24-3) 4
Stumbled vs. Evanston

7. Leo (18-3) 14
Took down Brother Rice

8. Wheaton Warrenville South (25-2) 9
At St. Francis Saturday

9. Curie (21-5) 7
Hosts Lane Monday

10. Rolling Meadows (24-3) 10
Hosts Glenbrook South Tuesday

11. Hyde Park (19-6) 11
At Young on Tuesday

12. Oswego East (27-1) 13
Patrick Robinson is a leader

13. Young (17-9) 8
Lost to Vashon

14. Thornton (17-5) 16
Ty Rodgers is dominating

15. Bolingbrook (22-6) 18
Playing very well again

16. Homewood-Flossmoor (16-7) 20
Beat Brother Rice

17. Larkin (24-3) 17
Hosts East Aurora Friday

18. Clark (19-3) 24
Into the city elite eight

19. Mount Carmel (23-3) 25
Beat DePaul Prep

20. Lyons (20-5) 15
Lost to Oak Park

21. Benet (21-5) 21
Seven consecutive wins

22. Brother Rice (21-4) 12
Lost to Leo, H-F

23. Burlington Central (24-3) 22
Handled Cary-Grove

24. St. Rita (18-8) 23
Beat Loyola

25. Yorkville Christian (14-13) 19
Lost to Peoria Notre Dame

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