From now until the state championship trophies are handed out in Peoria, I’ll be dropping three random thoughts on Illinois high school boys basketball nearly every day.
1. Simeon’s Jabari Parker continues to amaze. Despite being without Kendrick Nunn, Jaylon Tate and Jaleni Neely in Sunday’s Public League quarterfinal game, the Wolverines defeated Marshall 73-63 thanks to Parker. He scored 24 points in the first half to give Simeon a 14-point halftime lead and finished with 33 points, 12 rebounds and five blocks. With the Public League semifinals and possibly championship ahead for Simeon and the City-Suburban Showdown against De La Salle also this week, we may be talking about a new level of special for Parker next Monday.
2. The four teams expected to be in the Public League semifinals were the four teams which advanced on Sunday. Orr was the only team that struggled, needing overtime to put away Foreman in the quarterfinals. Otherwise, Simeon, Curie and Bogan rolled in their games. Both semifinal games on Wednesday should be interesting, but Curie and Bogan may be the closer affair.
3. Glenbrook North could be a team to keep an eye on in March. The Spartans were ranked early in the season and then lost 6-foot-8 junior Andrew McAuliffe to an injury. After missing two months, McAuliffe recently returned to the lineup and has made an immediate impact for Glenbrook North. While McAuliffe is still only 60-70 percent and his teammates are again learning how to play with a big man, you could see Glenbrook North’s potential in Saturday’s narrow loss to Warren. The Spartans will be in the same sectional as New Trier, which has struggled recently. Glenbrook North is 17-6 overall and in first place in the Central Suburban North with a 7-2 record.