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Simeon's Jabari Parker slam dunks over Bogan defenders. | Patrick Gleason~For Sun-Times Media
There’s a serious case to be made that Wednesday’s Public League semifinals will feature the four best teams in the state. With the Illinois High School Association’s four class tournament format, it will be the only place those four teams will compete against one another this season.
No. 1 Simeon, No. 2 Morgan Park, No. 3 Orr and No. 4 Young all won quarterfinal games Sunday at Chicago State. Simeon and Young will play in the Class 4A state playoffs, Morgan Park and Orr are Class 3A.
“We probably have the four best teams here,” Simeon coach Robert Smith said after the Wolverines knocked off Red-South rival Bogan 59-49. “It’s probably the best city tournament since we played against [Marshall star] Patrick Beverley and [Crane star] Sherron Collins.”
Simeon senior Kendall Pollard, a strong and fast 6-7 forward, absolutely dominated Bogan’s best player, 5-10 sophomore Luwane Pipkins.
Pipkins managed 14 points in the game, but shot just 2-for-16 from the field.
“He’s our best defensive player,” Smith said. “We just wanted to take [Pipkins] out of the game. That’s our motto, make other guys beat you.”
Pollard was also the Wolverines leading scorer, with 14 points. Jabari Parker scored 13 and grabbed 14 rebounds. Russell Woods had a double-double, with 11 and 10 and Kendrick Nunn added 12 points.
Senior Juwan Henry led Bogan (16-7) with 15 points.
Simeon (22-2) has already beaten Morgan Park and Young this year. The Wolverines will face Morgan Park in the semifinals on Wednesday, with a possible Young rematch in the championship game on Friday.
Orr, a team Simeon has not played, stands in the way of that rematch. The Spartans’ roster is loaded with Division I talent: Tyquone Greer, Marlon Jones and Louis Adams have college coaches trailing them all over the Midwest.