Simeon starts playoff run with win


Simeon starts playoff run with win

By Dan Ruane
Simeon started its journey to winning a third straight state title by brushing off the cobwebs. The Wolverines were rusty to begin with but eventually shook free of host Oak Lawn for a 64-25 victory in the opening game of the Class 4A regional semifinal.You could tell early on that we were a different team, Simeon coach Robert Smith said. Weve been going at each other for the last week and a half and (Oak Lawn) was a physical team that didnt let us get wide open shots.If not for Steve Taylor, the top-ranked Wolverines (27-1) would have trailed for most of the first quarter. Taylor made five of his first six shots while the rest of his teammates went 0-for-9 to start the game. That helped to stake Simeon to a 12-8 lead at the end of the quarter. He would finish with 16 points and 10 boards.Oak Lawn managed to stay close behind the play of Lyndell Johnson and Jacob Campbell at the guards. The pair combined to score all of the Spartans (16-11) first quarter points.Johnson and Campbell have just been exemplary as seniors for our program, Oak Lawn coach Jason Rhodes said. They did every single thing we asked of them and they set the example for our program moving forward.Smith had seen enough of his starters with the exception of Taylor so he benched the other four including Jabari Parker (15 points) and Kendrick Nunn for more than four minutes of the second quarter. His bench did not disappoint.Reggie Norris (10 points), Dennis Williams, Jaylon Tate and Dwaun Stewart came in to outscore Oak Lawn 9-2 and take a 19-10 lead before the starters eventually came back in.Thats the beauty of this team, Smith said. Jabari and Kendrick started off slow and the other guys came in and picked it up for us.The height advantage that Simeon held figured prominently in the game getting away from the Spartans in the second half. Simeon grabbed 13 offensive rebounds and started making its shots more consistently to pull away.We turned the ball over too much, Rhodes said. Their length bothered us around the glass. With that time, you need to give one shot and thats it otherwise you have no chance.Campbell led Oak Lawn with 16 points.

In wake of first-round playoff sweep, Patrick Kane talks about the Blackhawks' 'reality check'

In wake of first-round playoff sweep, Patrick Kane talks about the Blackhawks' 'reality check'

It’s been just over a month since the Blackhawks were eliminated from the playoffs in swift fashion. And as Patrick Kane told WGN Radio on Tuesday morning, the bitter taste hasn’t gone away.

“I think a lot of us didn’t figure we’d be in the situation we’re in right now,” Kane told Steve Cochran and Dave Eanet on Tuesday. “All of us can work this offseason to get better. It’s a long time to wait to get back to that opportunity to play in the playoffs again, so we’ll have a sour taste in our mouth for a while.”

The Nashville Predators, who made quick work of the Blackhawks in the first round, eliminated the Anaheim Ducks on Monday night to earn the first Stanley Cup Final appearance in franchise history. Kane told WGN he’s been watching the playoffs and said Nashville “has a pretty good system going.”

“They come at you, they play aggressive. I don’t think any of us would be a big fan of the way they defend in the neutral zone, just sitting back and playing that 1-3-1. But at the same time they come at you,” said Kane, who added that the Blackhawks “weren’t even close in that (first-round) series.”

“Maybe we had a chance in Game 3 when we were up 2-0, but it was a clean sweep and that’s probably how it should’ve been,” he said. “So now it’s time to regroup.”

When the Blackhawks had their wrap-up media session on April 22, general manager Stan Bowman was asked if some players, having won three Stanley Cups since 2010, had lost some of the hunger. Bowman didn’t buy that and neither did Kane.

“Four sounds a lot better than three, right?” he said. “It’s a long time away and a lot of work, but sometimes you go through those situations and you realize you won three Cups and it’s almost like you’re going to be there again. That’s where the reality check is for us now, realizing how hard it is to get back in that situation, how hard it is to win a Cup or go deep in this league. There’s a lot of work to be done.”

94 Days to Kickoff: Oswego Panthers

94 Days to Kickoff: Oswego Panthers preps reporter "Edgy" Tim O’Halloran spotlights 100 high school football teams in 100 days. The first 75 team profiles will focus on teams making strides across Chicagoland and elsewhere in the state. Starting Jul. 31, we’ll unveil the @CSNPreps Top 25 Power Rankings, leading up to kickoff on Friday, Aug. 25.

School: Oswego

Head coach: Brian Cooney

Assistant coaches: Marc Kersting, Karl Hoinkes, John Harazin, Steve Gregory, John Hugunin, Greg Verdino, Ben Wilson

How they fared in 2016: 10-1, 9-0 in Southwest Prairie Conference

2017 regular-season schedule:

Aug. 25 — vs. Minooka

Sept. 1 — at Plainfield North

Sept. 8 — vs. Joliet West

Sept. 15 — at Plainfield East

Sept. 22 — vs. Romeoville

Sept. 29 — vs. Oswego East

Oct. 6 — at Joliet Central

Oct. 13 — vs. Plainfield South

Oct. 20 — at Plainfield Central

Biggest storyline: Can the Panthers reload, especially on the offensive side of the football with just four starters back from the 2016 season?

Names to watch this season: offensive and defensive lineman Noah Shannon (a Minnesota commit), defensive back Josh Shodipo, quarterback Levi Olson

Biggest holes to fill: The Panthers will look for help at the offensive skill positions this summer.

EDGY's Early Take: Oswego has won 46 straight Southwest Prairie conference games, and the Panthers remain the team to beat in that league. Oswego has some serious star power, and this remains a hard-nosed, tough football team that is always a tough matchup in Class 8A.