Boys Basketball: Rough start doesn’t slow SimeonJabari Parker of Simeon puts one on the board against United Township. Patrick Gleason ~ For the Sun-Times
Updated: December 29, 2011 5:44PM
PONTIAC, Ill. — It wasn’t the start that Simeon coach Robert Smith was hoping for. Star junior Jabari Parker was even briefly benched and admonished after a turnover in the first quarter. But in the end, Simeon rolled to a 71-33 win over United in the quarterfinals of the Pontiac Holiday Tournament.
“In the first half we keep coming off sluggish and then in the second half we come out strong,” Smith said. “We have to get off to a better start. Guys are coming out lackadaisical. Jabari didn’t start well.”
Damon Overton’s basket with 3:23 to play in the second quarter cut Simeon’s lead to six, but from then on it was all Simeon. The Wolverines (10-0) ended the half on a 10-2 run and the third quarter consisted of a 23-6 run.
“Kendrick Nunn was hot,” Smith said. “He had a really good game, really shot the ball well. He and Steve have stepped up when Jabari hasn’t played his best. That’s what makes this team.”
Nunn shot 3-for-4 from three in the game, providing Simeon with valuable baskets in the first half. He finished with 11 points and six rebounds.
Parker scored 12 and grabbed eight rebounds. Steve Taylor, who has played two very strong games in the tournament, he led the way with 19 points.
“I think he’s the third best player in the state,” Smith said. “Jabari and then [Young sophomore Jahlil Okafor] and then Steve. He can match up with anybody.”
Tyre Washington and John Gardner have both cracked Simeon’s rotation lately, helping to give the Wolverines some added depth.
Tayvian Johnson led United (9-4) with 14 points and Overton added 12.