High-SchoolIllinois: Boys Basketball

POWERADE hoops rankings: Final

March, 20, 2012
3/20/12
5:07
PM ET
The question at the beginning of the season was simple. Everyone knew Simeon would start out at No. 1 in the POWERADE state rankings, but could the Wolverines hold off every challenger and finish the year on top? Against such a deep, talented field? With every team gunning for them?

The answer is yes. Simeon closed out a dominant season by beating Proviso East in the Class 4A state championship game to earn a third consecutive IHSA title. It wasn't the Wolverine's most dominant performance, as they had to overcome a fourth-quarter deficit, but there's no denying that this team was special. Simeon's only loss came to out-of-state Findlay Prep, the No. 2 team in the POWERADE FAB 50.

Proviso East suffered just one loss on the season, to Simeon in the finals, and so the Pirates slide in at No. 2. Peoria, which survived a loaded bracket to win the Class 3A title, ends the year at No. 3.

Looking forward to next year, you can go ahead and mark Simeon down for the top spot. With superstar forward Jabari Parker and guard Kendrick Nunn returning for their senior years, the Wolverines may even be stronger in 2012-13.

POWERADE State Basketball Rankings
  1. Simeon (33-1) — Last week: No. 1
  2. Proviso East (32-1) — Last week: No. 2
  3. Peoria (25-3) — Last week: NR
Click for complete POWERADE state rankings.

Follow Mike Grimala on Twitter (@ESPNHSGrimala).

POWERADE hoops rankings: Week 14

March, 13, 2012
3/13/12
4:24
PM ET
In the second-to-last edition of the POWERADE state rankings, Simeon remains where it has for the first 13 weeks of the season: at No. 1. With a super-sectional matchup with Evanston looming, followed by a semifinal contest against the winner of Edwardsville/Bloom, the Wolverines are well-positioned to march into the state championship game this weekend.

No. 2 Proviso East is on the other side of the bracket, two wins away from a potential meeting with Simeon in the state finals. At 30-0, Proviso East is the last undefeated team in 4A.

POWERADE State Basketball Rankings
  1. Simeon (30-1) — Last week: No. 1
  2. Proviso East (30-0) — Last week: No. 2
  3. Warren (26-3) — Last week: No. 3
Click for complete POWERADE state rankings.

Follow Mike Grimala on Twitter (@ESPNHSGrimala).

POWERADE hoops rankings: Week 13

March, 6, 2012
3/06/12
1:23
PM ET
With Curie being upset at the hands of Marist last week, Simeon's path to another Class 4A state championship may have gotten a little easier. Curie played the Wolverines tough earlier in the season, so removing that potential roadblock can only help -- not that Simeon needs the help. At 28-1 and with no in-state losses, the Wolverines are still locked in at No. 1 in this week's POWERADE state rankings.

POWERADE State Basketball Rankings
  1. Simeon (26-1) — Last week: No. 1
  2. Proviso East (26-0) — Last week: No. 2
  3. Warren (24-3) — Last week: No. 4
Click for complete POWERADE state rankings.

Follow Mike Grimala on Twitter (@ESPNHSGrimala).

POWERADE hoops rankings: Week 12

February, 28, 2012
2/28/12
4:38
PM ET
With the state playoffs beginning this week, the picture remains as clear as it has been all year. Simeon is locked in at No. 1, and the rest of the state is chasing the Wolverines. Junior forward Jabari Parker is pretty much a lock to win Gatorade State Player of the Year honors, and he makes Simeon the heavy favorite to remain atop the rankings through the end of the playoffs.

No. 2 Proviso East closed out an impressive undefeated regular season by handling Oak Park-River Forest and Marquette (Milwaukee, Wisc.), and No. 3 Curie is waiting to get another crack at Simeon after losing the regular-season meeting.

POWERADE State Basketball Rankings
  1. Simeon (26-1) — Last week: No. 1
  2. Proviso East (26-0) — Last week: No. 2
  3. Curie (24-2) — Last week: No. 3
Click for complete POWERADE state rankings.

Follow Mike Grimala on Twitter (@ESPNHSGrimala)

POWERADE hoops rankings: Week 11

February, 21, 2012
2/21/12
2:11
PM ET
Simeon continues to prove it has no peers in the state of Illinois, as the No. 1 Wolverines claimed the Public League tournament championship with a win over No. 3 Curie (Simeon's second win over Curie).

Proviso East remains at No. 2 after beating Warren in the City-Suburban Showdown. Because their losses came against such quality opponents, Curie and Warren remain at Nos. 3 and 4, respectively.

POWERADE State Basketball Rankings
  1. Simeon (26-1) — Last week: No. 1
  2. Proviso East (24-0) — Last week: No. 2
  3. Curie (24-2) — Last week: No. 3
Click for complete POWERADE state rankings.

Follow Mike Grimala on Twitter (@ESPNHSGrimala).

POWERADE hoops rankings: Week 10

February, 14, 2012
2/14/12
3:42
PM ET
The Illinois POWERADE state rankings remain unchanged from last week, due to the fact that all the teams in the top 10 won their matchups over the past seven days.

There were some scares, however. No. 4 Warren had to overcome a fourth-quarter deficit to beat Glenbrook North, while No. 5 Orr had to scrap for a 62-60 overtime win over Foreman. Lanphier also had to hold its breath before earning a 57-55 win over Glenwood.

There promises to be much more movement in next week's rankings, as a number of top 10 teams are set to face off in playoff matchups.

POWERADE State Basketball Rankings
  1. Simeon (23-1) — Last week: No. 1
  2. Proviso East (21-0) — Last week: No. 2
  3. Curie (23-1) — Last week: No. 3
Click for complete POWERADE state rankings.

Follow Mike Grimala on Twitter.

POWERADE hoops rankings: Week 9

February, 7, 2012
2/07/12
1:52
PM ET
It was a light week for many of the teams in the POWERADE state rankings, especially City League schools which spent the week gearing up for the playoffs. No. 1 Simeon is obviously the favorite, but No. 3 Curie would love to get a rematch after falling to Simeon on Dec. 30.

POWERADE State Basketball Rankings
  1. Simeon (20-1) — Last week: No. 1
  2. Proviso East (19-0) — Last week: No. 2
  3. Curie (20-1) — Last week: No. 3
Click for complete POWERADE state rankings.
After eight weeks of regular season play, only two undefeated teams remain in the Illinois POWERADE state rankings. No. 2 Proviso East improved to 17-0 last week, while Andrew currently sits at 16-0.

No. 1 Simeon has one loss, coming to out-of-state opponent Findlay Prep (Henderson, Nev.) two weeks ago. Findlay Prep is No. 2 nationally in the POWERADE FAB 50, while Simeon is No. 9 nationally.

POWERADE State Basketball Rankings
  1. Simeon (20-1) — Last week: No. 1
  2. Proviso East (17-0) — Last week: No. 2
  3. Curie (20-1) — Last week: No. 3
Click for complete POWERADE state rankings.
With Manual falling to Peoria 67-63 last week, it opened up a spot in the POWERADE state rankings. Previously No. 7, Manual dropped out and Lanphier now checks in at No. 9. Lanphier senior guard Everett Clemons dropped 20 points in the Lions' 62-54 win over Sacred Heart-Griffin.

POWERADE State Basketball Rankings
  1. Simeon (18-1) — Last week: No. 1
  2. Proviso East (16-0) — Last week: No. 2
  3. Curie (17-1) — Last week: No. 5
Click here for complete POWERADE state rankings.


SPRINGFIELD, Mass. — There will likely be a new team atop the next POWERADE FAB 50 rankings after No. 1 Simeon (Chicago, Ill.) fell to No. 6 Findlay Prep (Henderson, Nev.), 75-50, at the Spalding Hoophall Classic on Monday.

Simeon never found its offense, frequently forcing bad shots and allowing Findlay to run out on the fast break after misses. For the game, Simeon shot just 4 of 24 on 3-point attempts (16.7 percent), while Findlay Prep shot 66.7 percent from downtown (61 percent overall).

Winston Shepard
J. Anthony Roberts/ESPNHSWinston Shepard finished with high-flying dunks all night against Simeon.
The game was also billed as a matchup of two of the country’s top players — Simeon junior Jabari Parker and Findlay Prep senior Brandon Ashley. Parker, the No. 1 player in the ESPNU 60, was solid with 24 points and 12 rebounds, but the smooth superstar felt he could have done more to stop Findlay from pulling away in the second half.

“I waited too long to get it going,” said Parker. “I didn’t do a lot of scoring in the third quarter. If I don’t show up, my team’s going to lose by a lot of points.”

Ashley, the No. 4 player in the ESPNU 100, posted 13 points and nine boards, including back-to-back dunks to seal the game in the fourth quarter. He also received more help from his teammates.

Findlay Prep junior guard Nigel Williams-Goss chipped in 18 points, and senior guard Dominic Artis (No. 72 in the ESPNU 100) earned Player of the Game honors with 21 points, eight assists and seven rebounds.

The 6-foot-2 Williams-Goss also drew plenty of attention with his defensive performance, even switching onto the 6-foot-8 Parker at times and doing a good job.

“Obviously, our focus was on [Simeon junior guard] Kendrick Nunn and Jabari Parker,” said Williams-Goss. “I took it personally, because I knew I’d have to defend both of them during the game.”

Williams-Goss also said that Findlay Prep felt it had something to prove at Hoophall.

“We had a slip-up earlier in the season with our loss to La Lumiere,” he said. “But it was motivation to us that Simeon was ranked No. 1. We feel we’re still the best team in the country. Being No. 1, that put a bull’s-eye on their back and we were coming for them.”

Findlay Prep’s victory was even more impressive considering that the team was without senior forward Anthony Bennett, the No. 7 player in the ESPNU 100. Bennett sat out the game with a hamstring injury.

Simeon dropped to 14-1 with the loss. The Wolverines have spent the entire season at No. 1 in the POWERADE FAB 50, but the blowout loss is likely to drop them at least several spots. Findlay Prep improved to 16-1 with the win.

There were plenty of top college coaches on hand, presumably to get a close look at Parker, who is still uncommitted. Among those in the crowd were Duke's Mike Krzyzewski and Kentucky's John Calipari.

After the game, Parker said he hasn’t formed any list of college favorites yet. “I’m wide open,” he said.

Mike Grimala covers high school sports for ESPNHS. Follow him on Twitter @ESPNHSGrimala or email him at michael.grimala@espn.com.

Gonzaga College rolls past Whitney Young

January, 8, 2012
1/08/12
10:39
PM ET


WHEELING, W.Va. -- Things couldn’t get any worse for Nate Britt.

Here his Gonzaga College High School (Washington, D.C.) team was lucky to be down three to Whitney Young (Chicago) at the half and Britt had contributed just one steal and one foul.

“It was my worst first half of the year I’d say,” said Britt, a junior point guard who is committed to North Carolina and ranked No. 15 in the ESPNU 60. “I knew we needed to pick it up, but I just couldn’t get it going. I’ve been in a slump the last few games. We were gonna need someone else to step up.”

Enter Kris Jenkins.

The junior forward used his quickness and relentless motor to dominate Whitney Young’s frontcourt to the tune of 21 points and seven rebounds to help Gonzaga (10-0), ranked No. 11 in the POWERADE FAB 50, roll past the Dolphins (6-4) 54-44 Saturday night at the Cancer Research Classic in Wheeling, W.Va.

Jordan Abdur-Ra’oof chipped in with 10 points for Gonzaga, and Jahlil Okafor, who is ranked No. 3 in the ESPNU 25, led Whitney Young with 16 points and eight rebounds.

“I definitely noticed that we needed a boost,” said Jenkins, who was named Most Valuable Player. “They were a lot bigger than me, but I felt like I could beat them with my first step and that worked for me. That was a tough win, but we found a way to get it done.”

The Dolphins jumped on Gonzaga early by pumping the ball inside to Okafor, who overpowered the Eagles' front court scoring 10 points in the first half to give the Dolphins a slim 32-29 lead at the half.

Gonzaga couldn’t get anything going offensively in the first half. They shot just 34 percent from the floor and went 1-of-8 from the 3-point line.

The lone bright spot was Jenkins whose 16 first half points kept them within striking distance.

“We couldn’t hit anything,” Britt said. “We’re usually a lot better shooting the ball so I don’t know what was going on there. Jahlil was killing us in the first half so what we really talked about was turning it up defensively in the second half. We felt like that’s where we’d have the best chance to win.”

By the end of the third quarter, Gonzaga’s intense defensive pressure had caused Whitney Young to commit 18 turnovers. The Eagles only had three.

Midway through the fourth quarter they’d turned those giveaways into a 19-6 run, a deficit the Dolphins couldn’t recover from.

“We know that Whitney Young is a great team and Jahlil is a great player,” Jenkins said. “And they play a tough schedule so we knew that their record didn’t mean anything at all. We are really happy to come away with the win. It’s huge for our program and to do it on national TV was really special.”

Jason Jordan is the basketball editor for ESPNHS. He can be reached at jason.x.jordan.-ND@espn.com. Don't forget to follow him on Twitter: @JayJayESPN.

Simeon pulls out squeaker over Miller Grove

January, 8, 2012
1/08/12
10:35
PM ET


WHEELING, W.Va. -- Jabari Parker couldn’t have cared less about Miller Grove’s (Lithonia, Ga.) recent shortcomings.

Sure, he was aware that just 23 days ago Miller Grove was ranked No. 2 in the POWERADE FAB 50 and, yeah, he’d heard about Miller Grove's four-game losing streak. But the only thing Parker was concerned with was making certain he and his top-ranked Simeon (Chicago) squad extended that streak to five.

“I don’t care who we’re playing or what that team’s situation is,” said Parker, a junior swingman who is the No. 1 player in the ESPNU 60. “All we care about is leaving with a win.”

They did.

Parker scored 20 points and snagged six rebounds to keep No. 1 Simeon (13-0) undefeated with a 59-56 win over No. 34 Miller Grove (6-5) Saturday night at the Cancer Research Classic in Wheeling, W.Va., in a game televised on ESPN2.

Kendrick Nunn added 19 points and Steve Taylor pumped in 11 for Simeon. Tony Parker led Miller Grove with 20 points and 12 rebounds.

“This was a great win for us over a great team,” said Jabari Parker, who was named Most Valuable Player. “We knew that we’d have to come out and execute well early, and I feel like we did that. That carried over to later in the game and it helped us pull out a close one. We’re really happy with this win.”

Parker had the hot hand early for Simeon, reeling off 10 points in the first quarter to give his squad an early 18-14 lead. Simeon extended that lead by capitalizing off of Miller Grove’s turnovers. Simeon turned six second-quarter turnovers into 10 points and cruised to a comfortable 35-20 lead at the half.

Simeon’s swarming defense caused Miller Grove to shoot just 36 percent from the field in the first half.

“We executed well in the first half,” Simeon coach Robert Smith said. “But we know that basketball is a game of runs, and we knew that they’d make a run. They’re too good not to make a run.”

That started in the third quarter.

Miller Grove shot 8 of 11 and put together a 24-8 run to grab a 44-43 lead early in the fourth quarter.

That’s when Simeon displayed its full array of offensive weapons. Four different players scored during Simeon’s 16-13 run to seal the win.

“That’s the special thing about this team,” Smith said. “We have so many guys that can score the ball that it’s hard to key in on one player. This was a huge win for our program. Coach (Sharman) White does a great job with that program, and we feel great to have pulled this one out.”

Jason Jordan is the basketball editor for ESPNHS. He can be reached at jason.x.jordan.-ND@espn.com. Don't forget to follow him on Twitter: @JayJayESPN.

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