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Orr's Tyquone Greer is a key cog in the Spartans' attack this season. | Stacia Timonere~For Sun Times Media

No. 1

Might last Friday’s thrilling win over powerful Young at the buzzer be the springboard that puts Orr over the hump?

The Spartans are a team looking to shake the demons of last year’s regional loss, when they were a top seed.

The win over Young gave Orr the Red-West title, the No. 1 seed in the Chicago Public League playoffs and a top seed in the Class 3A Nazareth Sectional.

“It’s the biggest win ever at Orr,” Spartans coach Louis Adams said. “I’m not sure this team was getting the attention it deserved with the players we have.”

The star power comes from the junior trio of 6-6 Tyquone Greer, 6-8 Marlon Jones and 6-2 Louis Adams Jr. But the heart and soul of this team is the physically and mentally strong Jamal McDowell, a 5-10 senior point guard.

“He makes everything go,” Adams said of McDowell, who drilled the buzzer-beating three-pointer to beat the Dolphins. “He’s our leader — on the floor, in the locker room, in the hallways.”

No. 2

Bloom was the darling of the south suburbs last year, winning the McDipper Tournament and a conference title en route to 28 wins and a fourth-place finish in Class 4A.

This year, despite being first place in the Southland and sporting the same 19-3 record it did last year in the first week of February, the Blazing Trojans haven’t received anywhere near the fanfare.

But coach Jasper Williams’ team is setting up nicely for the stretch run. Bloom is balanced offensively and, more importantly, is as strong defensively as last year’s ironclad group. Through 22 games the Blazing Trojans are allowing fewer points this season (44 ppg) than last (46 ppg).

No. 3

This is a little like taking a band-aid off a wound, but what might have transpired at De La Salle if now-departed parts of its teams over the past three years had stayed put?

Big names and D-I talent don’t always guarantee high-level success, but with a potential roster featuring Jaylon Tate (now at Simeon), Alex Foster (Seton), Gavin Schilling (Findlay Prep, Nev.), Demarcus Richardson (Curie) and holdovers Alvin Ellis and Marcus White, it’s easy to think big.

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