By Michael Wojtychiw
The Chicago Public League’s boys basketball final four became more of a Red South/Central conference playoff when Curie, Kenwood, Simeon and Phillips met at UIC’s Credit Union 1 Arena on Thursday, Feb. 8.
Three of the four had become mainstays in the final four, while Phillips was looking to crash the party.
Kenwood 71, Phillips 62
This was the game of the night, and quite possibly the game of championship week so far. The final score isn’t indicative of how close the game actually was. In the closing minutes, Phillips had gotten the Kenwood lead down to one point before the Broncos pulled away.
It didn’t always look that way though. Kenwood jumped out to a 21-11 lead after one quarter, limiting the Wildcats to 4-of-19 shooting.
But Phillips clawed its way back, outscoring Kenwood in both the second and third quarters by scores of 14-3 and 26-19.
It was the third-quarter run, however, that brought the Wildcats back. the team hit 10-of-17 shots in the third quarter, including 3-of-4 from deep. Amari Edwards and LJ Horton led the way with 11 and 8 points in the quarter, respectively. Edwards would finish with 18 points, while Horton had a team-high 19 points.
It wasn’t enough to defeat last season’s city runner-up, though. The Broncos got big nights from Alek Alston and Calvin Robins Jr. in the win. Alston had nine points, 16 rebounds and 10 assists, while Robins had a game-high 25 points and pulled down 11 boards.
A big change for the Broncos can be attributed to two things: getting healthy and transitioning to a bigger lineup.
Kenwood moves on to face Curie, which handed the Broncos a 68-49 loss back on Jan. 11.
Curie 75, Simeon 51
When Curie and Simeon met on Jan. 25, the two teams combined for an exciting 60-57 Condors win. And for the first three quarters of the first CPL semifinal at Credit Union 1 Arena, it looked as if a repeat was in store.
After being down 23-10 after the first quarter, the young Wolverines fought back to make it an eight-point deficit at halftime and 10 points at the end of the third quarter.
But It was not to be as the Condors outlasted Simeon 75-51 to move on to the championship Saturday evening. The Condors last won the title in 2019.
Will Gonzalez led the way for the Condors with 17 points, while Carlos Harris, who was playing on his future college court at UIC, added 13 points.
Rashad McKinnie and Lorenzo Shields both had 15 points to lead the way for the Wolverines.
Photos by Brandon Parker/OSA