Throughout the 2013-14 boys basketball season, there were a number of high-level games that we caught with our CSN Chicago cameras for High School Lites. As CSNChicago.com's IHSA basketball contributor, I had the opportunity to be at many of those top games and here are five of the best games that I saw this season.
This was the best game of the season and one that Chicago basketball fans will be talking about for quite some time as the Condors prevailed, 69-66, over Whitney Young in four overtimes. Although Cliff Alexander vs. Jahlil Okafor was the initial point of focus for this game, with Okafor saddled with foul trouble it quickly became about two great teams battling for a city title. The lasting legacy of this game will be impacted by the late-season Curie academic scandal that ultimately stripped the Condors of this title, but the memories of this game will last forever. Who can forget senior guard Miles Reynolds' ridiculous tying three-pointer for Whitney Young to force overtime? Or Curie's Kamar Marshall hitting the game-winning three-pointer? How about the standout performance from Dolphins' senior forward Paul White? A truly tremendous game that lived up to its substantial hype.
This game wasn't supposed to be as close as it was, with Whitney Young capturing the Class 4A state title with a 46-44 win, but Benet came out tough and was able to hang with the heavily-favored Dolphins. The Redwings furious second-half rally was fantastic to witness and Benet's fanbase was going crazy in Peoria. But Whitney Young was able to hold on as Okafor, White and Reynolds captured their first state title and the third in Whitney Young program history. Benet, meanwhile, earned the lasting respect of everyone that witnessed a fantastic Class 4A title game.
With two top teams clashing in the North Suburban Lake, this was one of the most hyped early-season matchups of the 2013-14 season. Zion Benton senior forward Milik Yarbrough's contested three-pointer with under 10 seconds remaining forced the game into overtime and from there it was an intense, back-and-forth extra frame as each team scored a go-ahead bucket with under 30 seconds left in overtime. It was ultimately Zion-Benton junior Fred Calvert's game-winner that put the Zee-Bees on top and gave them an early lead in the North Suburban Lake. Stevenson would go on to win the rematch in Lincolnshire and the North Suburban Conference title by the end of the season.
The Lions had no business coming back and being in this game, but despite trailing for nearly the entire game, St. Viator was able to hold off Benet for the 71-68 victory. Sean O'Mara hit two free throws with 28 seconds left to give the Redwings the lead, but St. Viator senior Ore Arogundade hit the go-ahead runner for the Lions on the ensuing possession to give St. Viator the lead. O'Mara was fouled with 2.8 seconds left and had a chance to tie or win the game with the Redwings trailing by a point. The Xavier commit missed both free throws, however, as the incredibly loud home St. Viator crowd clearly affected the senior center. Roosevelt Smart closed out the game for St. Viator with two more free throws as St. Viator won this East Suburban Catholic Conference clash.
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This was another back-and-forth Friday night contest that saw the Pirates escape with a 66-60 win over Morton. The Mustangs had a chance to tie this game, trailing 63-60, with under a minute left, but Proviso East's defense forced a held ball and the possession arrow went in its favor. Even with a so-so outing from senior guard Jevon Carter, the Pirates had big plays from junior guard Kalin Fisher and sophomore guard Antonio Williams to seal the West Suburban Gold road win. Morton would later get revenge with a road win at Proviso East later in the season.
Highlights from other memorable games from this season of High School Lites:
Have your own memories of the 2013-14 boys basketball season? Did you see an overtime thriller or a buzzer-beater? Be sure to share your memorable game experiences from this season in our comments section.