By Clyde Travis
The Bogan-Curie matchup was a game that rivalries are made of. Both teams are on Pulaski Avenue, with two all-city players each, and who suffered a loss to top-ranked Simeon. As expected, it was a battle to the finish with Curie outlasting Bogan 50-47 in the semifinals of the Public League Playoffs Wednesday at DePaul University.
The Condors scored the first points and never relinquished the lead in the defensive battle. A free throw by Jabreel Jackson proved to be the magic number as Jackson shot the back end of a two-shot foul to give the Condors a 48-45 lead with 1:36 remaining in the fourth quarter. The lead was cut to 49-47 with 33 seconds remaining but another made free throw by Malcolm Hill-Bey made it 50-47 with 12.1 seconds.
Bogan set up a play and appeared to have an open three-pointer to tie the score but 6-9 Cliff Alexander came off his man and blocked the shot. Alexander said he felt that they were going to go for the three-point play instead of the two so he left his man. It was just a feeling and I took a gamble and it worked out for us, said Alexander.Curie coach Mike Oliver said it was team defense that got the victory. No matter whether our offense is clicking or not, we are always going to play tough defense. Thats what we hang our hat on, said Oliver. Bogan is a tough tenacious team and we knew we had to be up for a physical game.Devin Foster led Curie with 13 points and eight rebounds. Alexander had nine points and 16 rebounds and five blocks. But the X-factor in the game was Curies two-sport star Maurice Fleming. After missing the entire football season, Fleming, a starter last year, saw his first action of the season and contributed with three crucial three pointers and some tough man to man defense. It felt good to be playing and even better to contribute, said Fleming. Bogan is a very physical team and I was glad I was out there. Bogan coach Arthur Goodwin said his team has nothing to hang their heads about. We played a horrible first half, but as a coach I know my kids gave me everything that they had, said Goodwin. Devonte Smith led the Bengals with 19 points. Ronnell Buckner scored 10.