Friday, Jan. 28, 2011
By Michael O'Brien
Before the season began, Simeon coach Robert Smith said his team had a chance to be better than the Derrick Rose and Tim Flowers-led Simeon squads that won back-to-back state titles.
Even with those lofty expectations, Smith didn't imagine the Wolverines would be able to make it through the tough Red-South conference unscathed, but that's exactly what happened on Thursday as top-ranked Simeon defeated Bogan 69-60.
"I thought we would slip up here or there," Smith said. "The conference was really tough this year. I didn't think we would make it through undefeated."
Bogan did its best to throw the Wolverines, starting the game over an hour early. As soon as Simeon arrived at the school the varsity team had to play. Bogan usually has the sophomores play before the varsity.
"I'm not going to say they did it on purpose," Smith said. "But this is the first time in the six years I've been coming here that the varsity played first."
Bogan led 28-23 at the half, as Simeon star Jabari Parker shot just 2-for-11 from the field. Parker came alive in the third quarter, scoring seven of his game-high 17 points. Simeon closed the third quarter with a 8-2 run to take the lead for good.
Sophomore Kendrick Nunn (10 points) drained two three-pointers during the run.
"It's an experienced team," Smith said. "Stuff doesn't bother them. We don't panic. We don't get rattled."
Darien Walker scored 13 points and Steve Walker added 10 for the Wolverines (18-0, 9-0) who clinched the Red-South title with the victory.
Ronnell Buckner and DeVaughn Johnson each scored 16 for the No. 21 Bengals (17-6, 8-1) and Stanley Malcom added 13 points.
"The kids talk about going undefeated," Smith said. "We are taking it game by game. But the kids goal is to be national champions. You can't do that if you lose."
Simeon is currently ranked fourth in the nation by USA Today.