A tournament matchup between neighborhood schools Gordon(6-5) and Taft(9-5) might not garner as much attention or interest as Simeon-Warren, De La Salle-St Ignatius, or Proviso East-New Trier, However, the finals of the Luther North tournament will be just as exciting and intense because there are two area schools playing for more than bragging rights. It will be must see TV tonight.
Gordon is hoping to win the Luther North title for the first time in school history after beating Chicago Academy(8-4) 56-44.
“It’s a great feeling(to play in the finals),” Gordon head coach Shay Boyle admitted after the win. “That’s why we came here. We want to play for a championship.”
The Rams are rolling with four straight wins after losing three straight games in the Catholic League.
Taft is seeking its ninth title after topping Maine East(4-8) 59-37.
“It would mean a lot(to win at Luther North again),” Taft head coach Brett Nishibayashi said. “That was certainly the objective and it was the goal when we started the tournament. We wanted four victories.”
Luther North decided to have an eight-team event with pool play. Gordon won the Blue pool while Taft captured the Gold pool with three victories over Luther North, Guerin, and Maine East.
The Rams reached the finals after beating Jones, Mather, and Chicago Academy.
Gordon turned in another solid effort on defense. After holding Mather to only 22 points, the Rams limited Chicago Academy to only basket in the first half as the Cougars missed 40-of-54 shots at the basket.
The Rams nearly blew a 15-point lead in the final quarter. Chicago Academy cut the deficit to eight points before Gordon connected on four foul shots to seal the victory.
“The clock ran out,” Boyle stated after the win.
“I didn’t think we could comeback and win,” Chicago Academy head coach Randy Stonewall. “I just wanted us to play hard and take our time possession by possession. I’m extremely proud of them. We lost the game. My guys kept fighting. That’s what they did.”
Dave Andrews led a balanced attack for the Rams with 17 points including five three-pointers. Devanchey Bell came off the bench to score 13 points while guards Jerry Davis and Mahlike Graham added eight points each. Junior Sam Rarick finished the night with nine points.
“Dave Andrews is one of the best shooters I’ve seen in the state,” Stonewall said.
Darrick Scott led Chicago Academy with 18 points and 13 rebounds before fouling out.
Chicago Academy is currently leading the Blue North section.
These two teams could see each other again in the Class 2A state playoffs.
Taft had an easier time against Maine East as Tim Reamer led the Eagles with 20 points.
Now, it will be Gordon’s three-guard offense of Graham, Davis, and Andrews against Taft’s twin towers Reamer and Siudut in the finals at Luther North.
Reamer and Siudut have combined for 76 points in three wins while the Rams have been led by the shooting of Andrews who has 13 three-pointers in three games.
“We don’t have to do anything special,” Taft head coach Brett Nishibayashi said. “We have to play our basketball game. Gordon is a good team. They have some good players.
It could be a memorable matchup.
Maybe former Weber star Kevin Geredine can change the fortunes of Public League basketball on the North side. Geredine is currently the assistant basketball coach at Mather.
Foreman, Taft, Steinmetz, and Von Steuben have advanced to the city semifinals, but no team from this area has won the Public League championship since Roosevelt in 1952. In fact, the last time a team from the North side advanced to the championship game was Lake View in 1954.
Mather head varsity basketball coach Glen Heffernan resigned after posting 50 wins over the past two seasons.
Geredine is trying to help the Rangers recover from a 2-8 start.
Gordon(5-5) beat Mather(2-8) 53-22 on Wednesday night at the Luther North tournament. The Rangers struggled in the loss missing their first seven shots at the basket and finished the contest shooting only 7-of-42.
Geredine played at Weber while Gordon head coach Shay Boyle was on the sophomore squad for the Red Horde.
“He’s got a great basketball mind,” Boyle said of his former classmate. “He has great experience. He’s worked hard to get back into the game. He’s a wonderful guy. He’s one of my favorite high school players ever. He’s one of the most underrated players in state history when he was at Weber.”
“I’m just trying to get a little more experience,” admitted Geredine who currently works as a barber.
Boyle enjoyed the days when Weber faced Gordon in Catholic League play.
“There was nothing like a Weber-Gordon game on a Friday night,” said Boyle who played at Weber and was an assistant basketball coach at Loyola University after graduating from Notre Dame.
Mather has six underclassmen as the Rangers fell behind 23-3 after the opening quarter and trailed 44-8 at halftime.
“I wouldn’t say embarrassed(by the loss),” stated Geredine after the loss. “I would say it’s lack of experience(with our team). We have a group of guys that haven’t played high school basketball. They played in grammar school. We are still trying to find our identity.”
“We played a tremendous defensive first half,” Boyle said after the win.
The Rangers lost all five starters from a 25-win club so some rebuilding was expected.
Gordon is on the verge of playing for the championship at Luther North after beating Mather. Jerry Davis led the Rams with 11 points while Devanchey Bell added 10 points for Gordon who made 19-of-40 shots.
The Rams need a victory over Chicago Academy(8-3) to advance to the finals on Friday night against Taft(8-5) or Maine East(4-7).
“Tonight is a huge night,” said Boyle. “We always play well in tournaments. I think we are 10-3 all-time (at Luther North). We love playing in this gym. We are not looking forward to anything else but playing Chicago Academy.”
“I think they have a pretty good team,” Geredine said in appaising the Rams. “They are disciplined.”
Gordon won the Consolation title at Luther North last season.
“We have a young team,” Geredine said of the Rangers who have won the Luther North tournament the last two years. “I think the problem is they don’t trust each other. We play hard. We don’t trust each other-that’s the bottom line.”
The bottom line for the Rams is just find a way to beat Chicago Academy.
Dave Andrews was one of the first grammar school players who decided to attend Gordon four years ago after Shay Boyle was hired to become the head varsity basketball coach of the Rams. Andrews, who has been a three-year starter, scored a game-high 21 points to lead Gordon(4-5) past Jones(9-2) 57-56 in the opening round of the Luther North tournament.
“Gordon was the best option for me,” admitted Andrews who had seven three-point baskets in the win over the Eagles on Tuesday afternoon. “My local school was Senn. My grades weren’t the best. My dad was really impressed with Gordon.”
“If he’s open, I have told anyone who will listen that he is the best shooter in Illinois,” Gordon head coach Shay Boyle said after the win.
Although Andrews had a fine performance with 21 points, Gordon prevailed on a basket by Jerry Davis with one second left after the Rams had blown a seven-point lead in the final quarter.
“My coach told me to just take my time,” Davis said on his game winning hoop.
Jones rallied to take a 54-52 lead after a free throw and basket by DeAndre Taylor.
The momentum of this game might have changed after a technical foul was called on Andrews. The Eagles couldn’t take advantage as they missed three free throws.
Jones would miss eight foul shots on the night.
“The kid from Gordon(Davis) made a nice shot,” Jones head coach Frank Griseto said. Ultimately, the game was free throws. Tight game you have to make your free throws.”
Devanchey Bell gave Gordon a 55-54 lead with 1:51 remaining on a three-point play.
Jones took its last lead on a bucket by Courtney Copeland with 1:37 left.
Jones tried unsuccessfully to run out the clock as they committed a costly turnover giving Gordon a chance to win the contest.
Davis missed a layup to the hoop with 26 seconds left while Jauquis Buckman missed a free throw with 25.5 seconds left for the Eagles.
Davis made his game-winning shot after Gordon called timeout to actually setup a play for teammate Mahlike Graham. Davis took a pass and drove to the basket and hit a jump shot with one second left on the clock.
“Coach Boyle called this game our Super Bowl,” admitted Andrews who played in grammar school tournaments at Luther North. “If we really wanted to win this tournament, we have got to win tonight. This was a big game. Jones is probably the best team in our pool.”
Bell also had a big game for Gordon scoring 15 points in a reserve role while Davis added 11 points.
Taylor and Copeland combined for 36 points as Jones made 23-of-43 shots.
Andrews had four three-pointers in the opening quarter as the Rams led 19-17 after the opening quarter and 29-28 at halftime.
Gordon will face two-time defending champ Mather tonight.
In other games, Chicago Academy(8-2), who is leading the Blue North section, began the tourney by beating Mather 47-44.
In evening action, Aaron Shannon scored 25 points to lead Maine East(3-7) past Guerin for the second time this season 49-43.
Taft(7-5) closed out the opening day of games by topping Luther North 67-44 as Tim Reamer led the Eagles with 15 points.
A report in the Chicago Sun-Times today says former Ald. Eugene Schulter and Paul Rosenfeld will withdraw from the race for 47th Ward Committeeman today. The Sun-Times says the two withdrew in preference to Peter Coffey, the choice of mayor Rahm Emanuel.
The story quotes Tom Bowen, an Emanuel operative, as saying “the mayor felt the best thing for the 47th Ward was to avoid a divisive fight.”
Catalyst, in a report issued earlier this week, noted that neighborhood high schools have fewer and fewer students from within their attendance area.
“Five years ago, no high school enrolled fewer than 20 percent of the students in its attendance area,” Catalyst notes. However “the flight from neighborhood school is the result of the district’s orchestrated policy to give students more choices.”
The interactive map shows declines in neighborhood enrollment in every Ravenswood school, and also those serving parts of the neighborhood.
Mather currently enrolls 48 percent, down from 54 percent in 2006-7
Sullivan currently enrolls 29 percent, down from 39 percent in 2006-7
Senn currently enrolls 28 percent, down from 36 percent in 2006-7
Roosevelt currently enrolls 43 percent, down from 51 percent in 2006-7
Lake View currently enrolls 30 percent, down from 36 percent in 2006-7
Amundsen currently enrolls 39 percent, down from 46 percent in 2006-7