Simeon stifles Morgan Park star Blackshear
BY MICHAEL O’BRIEN firstname.lastname@example.org February 10, 2011 10:30PM
Updated: September 24, 2012 6:25AM
The biggest moments of Jabari Parker’s high school basketball career are still to come, but Thursday at Simeon, the Wolverines sophomore phenom came up huge in the final 40 seconds.
He grabbed a crucial rebound, dished off an assist and then drained the free throws that sealed a 52-45 win over visiting Morgan Park in the second round of the Public League playoffs.
Parker also played a huge role in holding Mustangs star Wayne Blackshear to 13 points. Blackshear managed just two points in the second half.
“Jabari asked to guard Wayne as soon as we heard we would be playing Morgan Park,” Simeon coach Robert Smith said. “He wanted the challenge.”
Parker finished with 14 points and seven rebounds for Simeon (22-0). Blackshear also had 11 rebounds and four blocks.
“That was a state championship atmosphere,” Smith said. “Two of the best programs in the city going at each other.”
Simeon built a 10 point lead late in the third quarter, but third-ranked Morgan Park (15-6) scored nine points in a row, cutting the lead to one on a 3-pointer by Billy Garrett Jr. with 6:02 to play. The Wolverines missed five free throws in the fourth quarter, allowing the Mustangs to stay close.
“We were up by 10,” Smith said. “Usually we would make those free throws to ice the game.”
Parker rebounded Adrian Jeffries’ missed free throw with 48 seconds to play. He found Rashawn McElrath on the other end for a dunk and then was fouled on the next two Simeon possessions. The 6-foot-7 sophomore drained three of the four free throws to seal the win.
Morgan Park showed up more than an hour late for the game. Mustangs coach Nick Irvin was battling the flu, he had been in the hospital earlier in the day.
“My two young sophomores (Markee Williams and Garrett) didn’t come to play today,” Irvin said. “They were going too fast. The need to understand that Wayne and Jerome Brown are the leaders. (Brown) took two shots. We can’t win with that.”
Garrett Jr. scored 14 for the Mustangs and Jeffries added 10 points and 10 rebounds.