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Bogan's Juwan Henry dribbles past Hyde Park's Cashel Dixon. A heavy police presence can be seen in the background at Hyde Park. | Patrick Gleason~For Sun-Times Media

Bogan sophomore guard Luwane Pipkins is one of this season’s breakout stars. He’s proven himself in the rugged Red-South, displaying his high-major skills against some of the top players in the country.

There is just one thing left to work out though, his sluggish first half starts. Pipkins was at it again Thursday at Hyde Park. He managed just four points in the first half, shooting 1-for-10.

As usual, he lit it up in the second, scoring 20 to lead the Bengals to a 73-57 win over the host Thunderbirds in the second round of the Public League playoffs.

“This year has been great,” Pipkins said. “I’ve definitely proved a lot, established myself.”

He acknowledges that the cold starts are a habit.

“I just need to get in the flow of the game and it takes awhile sometimes,” Pipkins said. “I was a little nervous in the first half. [Coach Arthur Goodwin] gave me a good talk at halftime.”

The game was tight for three and a half quarters, until Pipkins scored nine consecutive points to give Bogan a 54-47 lead late in the third. Pipkins finished with 24 points and five rebounds.

As good as Pipkins was, the Bengals 52-28 rebounding advantage was just as important. Hyde Park ended up settling for just one shot on most possessions.

“We just wanted it more,” Bogan senior Juwan Savage said. “We knew we had to come in to their place and go after it.”

Savage had 13 points and nine rebounds and Brandon Berry added 11 points and 11 rebounds. Senior guard Juwan Henry scored 14 and grabbed seven rebounds.

Phillip Lee led Hyde Park (19-7) with 16 points and Marcus Smith added 14. Moshawn Thomas, still struggling with a knee injury, added eight points, five rebounds and three blocks.

Bogan (16-8) will play Simeon in the quarterfinals on Sunday at Chicago State.

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