Leonard Thomas paced and bounced on the sidelines at Bogan on Wednesday, occasionally bursting with shouts at the Simeon players to "Move!" and "Be smart!"
Bogan made the Wolverines work for their 67-48 victory, Thomas' first as a varsity head coach at Simeon. The ninth-year Simeon assistant was filling in for coach Robert Smith, who was suspended for four games by Chicago Public Schools for his involvement in a postgame altercation Jan. 16 against Morgan Park.
Jabari Parker had 21 points and six rebounds and Kendrick Nunn added 19 points and five rebounds to push No. 2 Simeon (16-2, 8-0) to the Public League Red-South victory.
"I asked him (for tips) and he said, 'You know what to do,'" Thomas said of Smith. "I told (the players) to go out there and win it for Coach Rob and most importantly win it for yourselves. You guys put yourselves in this predicament. You don't want to go out there and lose."
Smith sat in the bleachers at the game but declined comment. Simeon players said they were told not to speak with the media following the game.
The Wolverines went on a 13-0 run at the beginning of the third quarter, but Bogan (14-7, 7-1) pulled back into the game, thanks in part to sophomore guard Luwane Pipkins' 11 points in the quarter. The Wolverines led 53-47 at the end of the third but helped hold Bogan to one point the rest of the game.
Simeon's Kendall Pollard scored six fourth-quarter points, and Jaylon Tate re-entered the game after slamming into a wall while being fouled on a layup and finished with nine points.
Thomas said he thought the players have handled well the fallout from the scuffle against Morgan Park, which occurred in a postgame handshake line. At least four Chicago police officers stood in Bogan's gym Wednesday, but the game remained civil, with a Bogan player even walking over to Simeon's bench to pat Tate on the back after his collision.
"Ever since the Morgan Park game, I think that brought us closer," Thomas said. "When we were in Boston we went so hard in practice, like I've never seen the whole season. I can see a bond."
Player of the game: Jabari Parker, Simeon, 21 points, 6 rebounds.
Key performers: Simeon — Kendrick Nunn, 19 points, 5 rebounds; Bogan — Luwane Pipkins, 13 points; Juwan Henry, 13 points.Copyright © 2015, The Baltimore Sun