Monday, January 27, 2014

At the Stevenson - Marian Catholic... on Saturday night a Patriots fan was escorted out of the gym for yelling, "I can see the dry and loose skin of your elbow!" (Actually, he said something else.)

But it was one of the highlights of what I thought was a sloppy and disappointing contest.

I drove out to Glenbard East to see two of the top-ranked teams in the state of Illinois. Marian Catholic is led, of course, by the Kentucky-bound Tyler Ulis and Stevenson is the defending 4A runner-up. I had seen the Pats once before, against Zion-Benton, but, although I'd seen Ulis a couple of times in 2013, was looking forward to watching him for the first time this year.

At halftime, with Stevenson up, 27-25, Ulis had exactly two points. And all I could think was, Am I in the right place?

But according to Michael O'Brien of the Sun-Times:

Ulis’ play in the fourth quarter was remarkable. He scored or assisted on 26 consecutive points, trimming a 17-point Stevenson lead down to just three. The Kentucky recruit finished with 23 points, nine assists and five rebounds.

And yet I couldn't help focusing on another stat O'Brien pointed out:

The Patriots didn’t score a field goal for a six-minute stretch of the fourth quarter.

In fact, one of the things that struck me on Saturday night was the number of missed shots, especially from right under the basket.

After the game, Ulis was quoted as saying, “I played terrible. I didn’t come through today.” I wouldn't go that far. His numbers were nothing to sniff at, especially when covered by Stevenson guard Jalen Brunson, who accounted for 32 points. But neither player impressed me as much as Benet's Sean O'Mara did the previous night. That was a dominating performance.

So did this game live up to the hype? I didn't think so.

People are always asking me to take them to a real, high-quality Chicago high school basketball game. And if I had taken someone with me to Glenbard East I think they would have been disappointed. I know I was. Am I the only one who felt that way?

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