Nationally ranked Simeon of Chicago highlights the Class 3A and 4A championship fields Friday and Saturday in Peoria, Ill. Super sophomore Jabari Parker’s all-around game leads Simeon at 16 points, five rebounds, four steals and three assists per game.
Simeon is the defending 4A champion and enters the final four as the top team in Illinois with a 27-2 record. Simeon's two losses were to perennial Chicago-area power Whitney Young and Benet Academy, an undefeated and top-ranked team in Illinois prior to being upset in the super sectionals.
In the Class 3A semifinals, one would consider North Chicago a Cinderella story based on record alone. At 17-13, the Warhawks entered playoff action with an under .500 record on the season. However, North Chicago, the top seed in their bracket, has won five consecutive games to reach the first final four in school history.
Simeon is favored, but their semifinal matchup pits them against another top team in the state in Glenbard East who enters the matchup at 25-3 and ranked fourth statewide.
Led by one of the state’s leading scorers, junior point guard Aaron Simpson averaged 22.7 points, 5.8 rebounds, 4.1 assists and 3.2 steals per game during the regular season. This total includes games of 44, 39, 38, and 32 points respectively. Even more impressive is that he hasn’t been held to single-digit points since the opening game of the season when he had nine.
Simpson is currently being recruited by a number of D1 basketball programs.
North Chicago is a dangerous team capable of forcing opponents into an up tempo contest which plays to their strength. This season, they have scored 80 or more points on a dozen occasions including three in triple digits leaving them the wild card team of the weekend.
The Illinois state championships will be broadcast live on IHSA.tv and ESPN3.
Illinois At A Glance - All Times CST
Friday, March 18
12:15 p.m. - Brooks of Chicago vs. Rock Island
2 p.m. - Centralia vs. North Chicago
6:30 p.m. - Glenbard East vs. Simeon of Chicago
8:15 p.m. - Normal vs. Warren
Saturday, March 19
12:15 p.m - Third-place game
2 p.m. - Championship
6:30 p.m. - Third-place game
8:15 p.m. - Championship