Saturday, Jan. 22, 2011
By Michael O'Brien
There was plenty of talk between Morgan Park coach Nick Irvin and Simeon coach Robert Smith this week about which of them would be alderman, governor or president based on the outcome of Saturdays game.
So it was fitting that during the actual game Saturday at Chicago State, there were two possible future mayors Gery Chico and Rahm Emanuel sitting courtside.
Emanuel spoke with Simeon before the game and sat next to Simeon star Jabari Parkers mother during the game. He backed the winner, as the top-ranked Wolverines knocked off No. 5 Morgan Park 60-51.
Rahm talked with them before the game, said Jabaris dad, Sonny Parker. We knew he was coming out to support the kids in the community.
Morgan Park led for the majority of the first half, but Simeons physical defense seemed to wear down the Mustangs in the second half.
That probably surprised them, Smith said. Everybody thinks we are a soft team, but we can be physical.
Billy Garrett Jr. drained a three at the start of the third quarter to put the Mustangs ahead 36-30. Simeon responded with a 17-2 run to take permanent control of the game. Steve Taylor, a 6-7 center, drained two threes and scored eight during the run.
Steve shot the ball well, Smith said. Hes been getting pretty consistent with that this season.
Sophomore Kendrick Nunn sparked Simeon (16-0, 7-0) off the bench with 19 points and five rebounds, including a crowd-pleasing tip dunk. Taylor added 14 points and five rebounds and Parker scored nine and grabbed eight boards. The Wolverines dominated the glass, outrebounding Morgan Park 32-24.
Blackshear led the Mustangs (12-2, 5-1) with 16 points and seven rebounds, but managed only two free throws in the second half.
We were able to shut Wayne down in the second half, Smith said. Hes a great player, we knew he was banged up a little.
Blackshear has been nursing an injured knee, but didnt use that as an excuse.
No excuses, Blackshear said. I was able to play. Its a tough loss, but thats basketball. We started strong and then in the second half just lost it.