High school basketball: Michael O’Brien’s Super 25 rankings for Feb. 12, 2023

Forget all that worry about the top-ranked team. Simeon cemented itself as the No. 1 team by winning the city title. It took five overtimes to dispatch Curie and Kenwood, but the Wolverines got it done.

There were a a lot of losses in the second tier of teams. Hillcrest, Brother Rice, Rolling Meadows, Bolingbrook and Mount Carmel all lost to unranked or lower ranked teams. That’s a group that has a very established track record, so none of them fell too far but it is concerning to see teams with very high playoff aspirations losing games they should be winning this late in the season.

Downers Grove North jumped all the way into the top ten. The Trojans picked up solid wins this week against Waubonsie Valley and Glenbard West, but the major factor in the rise was so many teams losing winnable games while Downers Grove North appears to be improving. The Trojans haven’t lost since a two-point defeat to Hinsdale Central on Jan. 7.

Time to bring the state finals to Chicago?

The Public League’s championship week was an overwhelming success. Fans and coaches raved about the overall setup and the crowds turned out. Chicago Public Schools say that more than 5,000 fans attended the games at UIC on Saturday.

“[CPS] did a great job,” Simeon coach Robert Smith said. “Everything was top notch, even the little things for the teams that everyone doesn’t see.”

Smith has been so impressed with the new CPS administration that he’s taking things another step.

“This experience was better than last year at state,” Simeon said. “If I was Chicago I would be trying to get the state championship here. Here at UIC or Wintrust you have everything you need. You have the hotels and stuff to do for people comoing to town. Champaign is cool but there is no better place for basketball than Chicago.”

Injury woes

Glenbrook North guard Josh Fridman is out injured and will likely miss the playoffs. Fridman helped the Spartans knock off Rolling Meadows earlier this week but without him they were trounced by New Trier.

Fridman is one of the area’s best point guards and it will be extremely difficult for Glenbrook North to replace him. It’s a devastating injury for the Spartans as they head into the playoffs.

Jeremy Fears Jr. alarmed fans at Joliet West by walking out to accept his McDonald’s All-American jersey on Saturday with his shoulder iced up.

Fears didn’t play in the game against Joliet Central on Friday. His father, Jeremy Fear Sr., said Fears will likely sit out this week but should be good to go for the state playoffs.

The Tigers are the top seed at the Bolingbrook sectional, which has probably been underrated. Joliet West, the host Raiders, Lincoln-Way East and Oswego East are not only ranked but have been some of the area’s most consistent teams this season. There are two major darkhorses as well. Romeoville, the No. 6 seed, has won 20 games and Neuqua Valley, the No. 5 seed, knocked off Bolingbrook last week.

Super 25 for Feb. 12, 2023With record and last week’s ranking

1. Simeon (26-3) 1City champions

2. Benet (27-1) 2Handled Marist

3. Kenwood (23-6) 3Jaden Smith is a factor

4. Joliet West (24-5) 4The top seed at Bolingbrook

5. Curie (19-10) 7Nearly took down Simeon again

6. Young (21-6) 5Still a major threat

7. Hillcrest (25-3) 6Stumbled vs. TF North

8. Hinsdale Central (27-3) 10Hottest team in the area

9. Brother Rice (26-4) 8Lost to Lemont

10. Downers Grove North (25-3) 16Has improved steadily

11. Oswego East (24-5) 13Dominating the Southwest Prairie

12. New Trier (26-4) 14Beat Glenbrook North

13. Rolling Meadows (25-5) 9Lost to Glenbrook North

14. Bolingbrook (22-7) 11Lost to Neuqua Valley

15. Mount Carmel (23-6) 15Still unpredictable

16. St. Rita (19-10) 20Promising signs lately

17. Proviso East (21-6) 17At Leyden Tuesday

18. Lincoln-Way East (23-4) 18Beat Homewood-Flossmoor

19. Marist (23-6) 19So many talented underclassmen

20. Lyons (22-5) 22Fell short vs. Hinsdale Central

21. Hyde Park (22-6) 12Dark horse in Class 3A

22. Marian Catholic (22-7) 23Big test vs. De La Salle Thursday

23. Yorkville (24-5) 25At Lincoln-Way East Tuesday

24. Lemont (24-6) NRCastillo twins back, doing damage

25. Glenbrook North (24-4) 21Must overcome a key injury

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