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The last letter of his first name is silent, the only possibly quality about Luwane Pipkins considered quiet or closed in.
Everything about the 5-10 junior Bogan guard speaks volumes of talent, drive and a desire to wipe out the past.
The junior guard scored 18 of his 33 points in the second half and added four assists and three steals as No. 9 Bogan beat No. 8 Simeon 59-51 to maintain its grip on first place in the Red-South on Tuesday.
Coming off a school-record 40-point performance against T.F. South on Sunday, Pipkins stayed smoldering. He drilled four three-pointers and also showed his magnificent ability to get to the lane to finish or find his teammates for layups.
Bogan (16-2, 4-0) has now defeated defending Class 3A state champion Morgan Park and four-time defending Class 4A state champion Simeon on their home courts. “We’re consistent winners,” Bogan coach Arthur Goodwin said. “We’re not going to fall off this year or next. We’re young but very talented.”
The Wolverines had success in the past shadowing Pipkins with big players and forced him to shoot over. “That’s the key, ‘Back then,’ because I was a freshman or sophomore in the past,” Pipkins said.
“Every player on Simeon is a high jumper, the whole team plays above the rim, but those big guards can’t stick me,” he continued. “Once they try to bend down, I just go right past them.”
Playing without sophomore guard Zack Norvell, who missed the game after leaving school due to a medical issue, the Wolverines flashed tremendous defensive intensity to start the game. Simeon blocked six shots in the opening four minutes and held the Bengals scoreless for more than three minutes at the start.
Simeon led by as many as seven points in the first quarter. Pipkins missed his first four shots and then scored on a drive in the lane with 1:35 to go. Pipkins scored 15 points in the first half as Bogan posted the narrow 29-27 advantage at the break.
Junior 6-7 wing forward Antonio Thomas fought through foul difficulties to post a double-double with 10 points and 11 rebounds. “We came out a little tense at the start, probably from the nerves of playing on their home floor, but then just started to settle down,” Thomas said.
Thomas hit two short jumpers and Pipkins converted a three-point play off a steal as Bogan extended its lead to eight points late in the third quarter.
“Luwane’s really matured a lot,” Goodwin said. “In the past he’d force it shot sometimes, but today you saw the improvement, he knocked down free throws and ran the team.”
Simeon (10-3, 3-2) again experienced serious ball-control issues. Bogan forced 26 turnovers, including 14 in the first half. “We had [nine] missed free throws and 26 turnovers, and you can’t beat good teams like that,” Simeon coach Robert Smith said.
“Right now, we’re a selfish team, we’re terrible, because nobody wants to pass the ball. We’re talented but we’re not playing as a team. Just because everybody wears the same uniform doesn’t mean you’re a team.
“Right now everybody just wants to score, and that’s all they care about.”
Simeon 6-8 junior center Edward Morrow scored 14 points and added nine rebounds and three blocked shots for the Wolverines. Senior guard Donte Ingram added 11 points. The two keyed an 11-3 fourth quarter run that cut the Bengals’ 10-point lead to two points.
Bogan used its three-guard attack to spread the floor and force the taller Wolverines to chase them. Bogan converted 13 of 15 free throws in the fourth quarter. Pipkins made 8 of 9 free throws down the stretch.
Simeon was just 7-for-12 from the foul line in the final quarter and 15-for-24 in the game.
Junior guard Tom Johnson and junior forward Antoine Boyd added seven points apiece for the Bengals.
“It was a great game,” Goodwin said. “They were ranked, we were ranked, some of my kids were upset that they were ranked higher and I just told them to play and forget about the rankings. Simeon worked hard but we were worked harder.
“If there’s a harder working team in the state, I want to see them.”