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Simeon coach Robert Smith received an anecdotal message from legendary King coach Landon “Sonny” Cox before the Wolverines took on Urban Prep-West in a first-round Public League playoff game.
Cox reminded Smith of his 1980 team that was ranked No. 1 in the state and upset in the first round of the Public League playoffs by Tilden. Smith took Cox’s words to heart and turned the No. 1 Wolverines loose en route to a 93-32 victory Tuesday.
“[Cox] just told me that the playoffs were a different kind of animal,” Smith said. “You take anything for granted and anything can happen. I just wanted to make sure that our players understood that also.”
Jabari Parker led all scorers with 22 points to go along with 15 rebounds and four blocks, and the Wolverines (20-2) raced out to a 26-10 first-quarter lead and pushed the margin to 54-24 by halftime.
Simeon held Urban Prep-West (14-6) scoreless the entire third quarter while building a 70-24 lead. No starters played in the fourth quarter for Simeon.
Kendrick Nunn added 20 points and eight steals for the Wolverines, Jaylon Tate had 16 points and eight assists and DJ Williams added 10 off the bench. Russell Woods contributed seven points and nine rebounds.
“We know what we are here to do and we don’t want to leave the court knowing that we didn’t give 100 percent,” Nunn said.
Joaquim Johnson and Josh Ashford scored eight points apiece for Uplift.
“When we got the news that we were going to be playing Simeon, we were ecstatic to know that we would be playing one of the best teams in the state,” Uplift coach Troy Farrow said. “We are a new program. We only have one senior graduating and this was valuable experience.”
Dante Ingram, Simeon's 6-4 junior transfer from Danville, played his first game since being found eligible, showing a bit of rust on the offensive side. He finished with three points, but did snag nine rebounds.
''I put all that behind me and am ready to get back and do whatever I can to help the team.'' Ingram said. ''My shot will be fine I just have to get back in rhythm.''