CHICAGO -- Derrick Rose's shadow continues to loom over Simeon’s basketball program.
Simeon coach Robert Smith doesn’t let his 2011-12 team forget what Rose and his teammates did when they were wearing blue and gold earlier this century. If the current Wolverines are ever going to impress Smith, they need to exceed what Rose and company accomplished.
On Wednesday, Smith was again happy, but not ecstatic. While No. 1 Simeon defeated No. 11 Bogan 68-57 in a matchup of Red-West unbeatens, Smith still wasn’t completely satisfied with his team’s play.
“This team doesn’t have that killer instinct,” said Smith, whose team improved to 19-1 overall and 8-0 in conference. “When Derrick was here, if they had you down by 30, they wanted to get to it 50. They didn’t get bored.
“No, I don’t think we’ve played a complete game yet. I hope it comes. It would be scary if we could get firing on all cylinders and play all four quarters.”
For a half Wednesday, Simeon was at full tilt.
Simeon opened the game playing aggressive defense and contesting every Bogan attempt. After each Bogan miss, the Wolverines snatched the rebound, pushed the ball other way and quickly got the ball into the hoop.
Before five minutes had passed, Simeon already held a 16-3 lead. The Wolverines went up by as many as 15 points in the first quarter and extended it to a 34-12 advantage by halftime.
“That’s a good team,” Smith said. “They can shoot 3-pointers. We just wanted to get out in front and build a cushion before they started making them.”
From the other bench, Bogan coach Arthur Goodwin couldn’t believe his eyes. The Bengals were playing their worst basketball at the worst time. They shot 4-of-29 from the field and 3-of-13 from the free-throw line in the first half.
Goodwin thought his team was possibly intimidated by the packed crowd at Simeon.
“We didn’t play Bogan basketball in the first half,” said Goodwin, whose team fell to 19-2 and 7-1. “You got to hit free throws to beat a good basketball team. In the second half, we played Bogan basketball.”
Bogan was able to make it interesting in the final two quarters. The Bengals began taking the ball to the hoop for easy buckets and then went back to their outside shooting, which finally began to work.
Behind 10 points from Devonte Smith and two 3-pointers by Kendall Wesley, Bogan outscored Simeon 27-16 in the third quarter and cut the lead to 11.
Nunn, Taylor, Jabari Parker and Jaleni Neely each took turns stepping up for Simeon. Parker finished with 20 points, 12 rebounds and five blocks. Nunn had 20 points and eight rebounds. Neely had 11 points and Taylor had 10 points and seven rebounds.
“They each came through with big plays,” Smith said. “That’s nice to have.”
Smith had a team-high 13 points and nine rebounds for Bogan. Ronnell Buckner and Donte Jackson contributed 11 points each.