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Chicago Sun-Times
Chicago Sun-Times
Michael O'Brien

Michael O’Brien’s Super 25 high school basketball rankings for Feb. 13, 2022

Young’s AJ Casey (0) reacts with teammates after winning the game against Curie. | Kirsten Stickney/For the Sun-Times

The preseason seems like a long time ago. It’s easy to forget that Young was expected to be Glenbard West’s equal back in November. Picking which team was the preseason No. 1 wasn’t an easy task.

The Hilltoppers have dominated from the start. Young struggled. Tyrone Slaughter’s team had to deal with injuries and some missing players in key games, but that has been the case for nearly every team in the state this season.

Young entered the city tournament with a resume that wasn’t worthy of being ranked at all. The Dolphins’ best win was a 73-70 victory against Proviso East and they weren’t competitive against Glenbard West. Young lost to St. Louis Vashon 58-50 on Feb. 5. Joliet West, with a freshman and two sophomores making varsity debuts, lost to Vashon by two points on the second day of the season.

Slaughter’s strategy over the last decade has been to travel around the country, play the best teams possible and not worry too much about his team’s record. It’s been an extremely successful formula. But just a week ago, it didn’t appear it was working with this group of players.

Things look different now. Young knocked off Kenwood, Curie, and Hyde Park to win the city title. AJ Casey and Dalen Davis, two players that have faced tremendous criticism and doubts over the past two years, have a city championship that cannot be denied. It was a sweet moment of redemption for the pair.

The city title win isn’t enough to crack the suburban stranglehold on the top two spots, but it’s clear the Dolphins are a major threat in the Class 4A state tournament.

The brackets are set up to allow a Young vs. Glenbard West matchup in the state championship. That would be a fantastic finish to the season.

Deep CCL

For most of the season, it appeared that Brother Rice, Mount Carmel, and St. Rita were the best teams in the Catholic League. The Caravan and Crusaders amassed large win totals and the very young Mustangs went through some highs and lows.

Over the past few weeks, it has become clear that Leo and DePaul Prep, two Class 2A schools, are right there with the Catholic League powers. Leo won the league title this week, finishing a perfect 13-0. DePaul, which has always looked the part, picked up wins against St. Rita and Brother Rice.

This is as deep as the Catholic League has been in recent memory. Tom Livatino’s Loyola team doesn’t have its usual stellar record, but the Ramblers are still very dangerous. They knocked off Mount Carmel this week.

Future star

Slaughter took a moment to acknowledge Curie sophomore Carlos Harris after the city title game.

“[Harris] is a player that this state is going to know about the ensuing years,” Slaughter said. “He’s a superstar in the making.”

Harris plays with Meanstreets, the club basketball team the Slaughter is affiliated with, but that doesn’t make him wrong. Harris is one of the few sophomores that has made a major impact on a ranked team’s season. He’s athletic, confident, and fearless.

Super 25 for Feb. 13, 2022

With record and last week’s ranking

1. Glenbard West (28-1)

Faces Simeon Saturday

2. Glenbrook South (28-2) 2

At Deerfield Wednesday

3. Young (20-9) 13

City champs

4. Simeon (23-4) 3

Will be pumped for Hilltoppers

5. Kenwood (22-7) 4

Hosts Thornton Wednesday

6. Hillcrest (24-3) 5

Isaiah Green is a force

7. Curie (24-6) 9

Future is bright

8. Leo (21-3) 7

Unbeaten in CCL

9. New Trier (26-3) 6

At Maine East Tuesday

10. Wheaton Warrenville South (28-2) 8

Handled St. Francis

11. Rolling Meadows (26-4) 10

At Barrington Wednesday

12. Hyde Park (19-7) 11

Gave Young all it could handle

13. Oswego East (29-1) 12

Earned top sectional seed

14. Thornton (20-9) 14

Can Ty Rodgers beat Kenwood?

15. Bolingbrook (24-6) 15

Beat Lockport, Neuqua Valley

16. Homewood-Flossmoor (18-7) 16

Christian Meeks is a difference maker

17. Larkin (26-3) 17

Will be a tough out in playoffs

18. Clark (19-4) 18

Took Curie to OT

19. Mount Carmel (24-4) 19

Beat Brother Rice

20. Lyons (22-5) 20

Survived Hinsdale Central

21. DePaul Prep (20-4) NR

Beat Brother Rice, St. Rita

22. Brother Rice (21-6) 22

Struggling at the wrong time

23. Burlington Central (26-3) 23

Hosts Huntley Friday

24. Bloom (19-5) NR

Beat Marian Catholic

25. Yorkville Christian (15-13) 25

Hosts St. Ignatius Tuesday

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