A TOWERING ACHIEVEMENT
Wolverines outlast Condors, thanks to stout defense
Curie had chances to beat Simeon at the end of regulation, at the end of the first overtime and at the end of the second and third overtimes.
The Condors couldn’t get it done.
“I always tell the guys that you can’t throw a rock over the Sears Tower,” Curie coach Mike Oliver said.
Miles Rubin is the Sears Tower. Simeon’s 6-10 senior was a dominating force, blocking six shots, including a potential game-tying bucket by Curie junior Carlos Harris in the fourth overtime.
Rubin and senior Kaiden Space each drained two free throws in the final 17 seconds to finally seal a 64-60 victory for the Wolverines in a four-overtime classic Public League semifinal game at UIC’s Credit Union 1 Arena.
“I was getting a good feel for the game as it went on,” Rubin said. “Guarding the rim was a big focus because they like to go to the basket a lot. We tried to stop them.”
Oliver said Curie’s game plan was to draw the bigs out from under the basket and then attack the rim. That didn’t happen. It wasn’t just Rubin who was blocking shots as Simeon had 14 blocks in the game. Rubin’s twin brother, Wes, had two, Sam Lewis had two and Space had two.
“Defensively we did a great job,” Wolverines coach Robert Smith said. “We were locked in.”
Simeon has been troubled by turnovers all season and the story was the same in this game. The Wolverines had 23 turnovers and were unable to keep possession of the ball for the final shot in any of the overtimes.
Twice Curie players missed wild shots at the buzzer (regulation and the second overtime). Twice Curie dribbled out the final minute and didn’t get a shot off (first and third overtimes).
“That’s what is so frustrating,” Condors coach Mike Oliver said. “We didn’t get a good shot off at the end even once.”
Jalen Griffith led the Wolverines (25-3) with 21 points and four steals. Miles Rubin finished with 10 points and eight rebounds and Sam Lewis added nine points and four assists for Simeon.
The Wolverines beat Curie 67-58 in Pontiac in late December. Harris didn’t play in that game. The Condors beat Simeon on Jan. 26 on a last second game-winner by Harris.
“At this point, after three games and four overtimes, the X’s and O’s are thrown out the window,” Smith said. “They know us, and we know them. So, we couldn’t do anything different. We just had to play great defense.”
Harris led Curie with 17 points. He was 7-for-21 shooting and had seven shots blocked.
“It was my fault,” Harris said. “I just kept going at them.”
Jeremy Harrington Jr. scored 16 for the Condors (19-10) and Kros Barrett added 13.
Curie, which is playing as well as any team in the state, learned after the game that it was given the No. 3 seed in the Class 4A Hinsdale Central sectional. The Condors have beaten Young and Simeon and taken the topranked Wolverines to quadruple overtime in the last three weeks.
“I don’t know what to say about that,” Oliver said. “It’s not fair with these coaches seeding it that don’t understand who you’ve played and just look at your record.’’
Simeon moves on to play Kenwood, a 5642 winner against Perspectives-Leadership, in the Public League championship at 4 p.m. Saturday at UIC.