2011-12 CRC Tournament >> Results Press Coverage

Simeon Career Academy def. Miller Grove High School, 59-56

By Kurt Stubbs
Cancer Research Classic

WHEELING, W.Va., Jan. 7, 2012 -- The headline game for the 2012 Cancer Research Classic may not be played on ESPN Classic anytime soon, but it certainly was an attraction of stars and fans. The first-ever ESPN televised CRC contest saw Simeon (12-0) hang on for a hard-fought 59-56 victory over Miller Grove (6-5).

Among the many attractions, there was none bigger than Jabari Parker. The 6-8 junior is the consensus No. 1 player in America regardless of class and he didn't disappoint in the first quarter.

Playing in front of a packed house, Parker came out and knocked down his first three shots en route to 10 first quarter points. Though, he would score just 10 more points the remainder of the contest. He really struggled to find his shot and get to the basket over the next three periods.

Parker believes Miller Grove had a lot to do with his struggles over the final three quarters.

"They did a lot," Parker explained. "They made sure they anticipated my jump shot, which made for a lot of tough shots, and they contested all of my shots. I had to go to the free-throw line to get myself going a little bit."

Parker was 6-of-6 from the charity stripe.

Parker spoke of his strength being one of his weaknesses at this point, which may have been a reason for his inability to get to the basket.

"I need to get in the weight room and I need to get a lot stronger," a humble Parker explained. "There are a lot of guys out there stronger than me. I need to work on making tough shots and just have to get stronger."

Simeon took an 18-14 lead after one quarter as Miller Grove's Tony Parker was able to keep the Wolverines around with a pair of buckets.

The Simeon Wolverines really opened up the encounter in the second quarter holding a 17-6 advantage securing a 35-20 halftime lead. It was really looking like blowout city. Marquette signee Steve Taylor and Parker each had two baskets and Jaylon Tate also added four points.

Miller Grove was just 2-of-9 shooting in the second quarter and committed seven turnovers. The Georgia-based Wolverines, who are the three-time defending 4A state champions, were only 5-of-10 at the foul-line.

If there was any doubt as to what kind of fight Miller Grove would have in them to start the second half, the doubts were quickly erased. With the game being shown on ESPN2, the Wolverines battled back using a 21-8 third quarter to close the gap to 43-41 at the end of three periods.

"At the beginning of the game, we knew they wanted to beat us because that is the only way they are going to get back in the national scene and national rankings," Jabari Parker mentioned."

Miller Grove held Simeon to just 3-of-10 shooting in the quarter, while converting 7-of-11 of its own. Guard Christian Houston tallied seven points, Justin Colvin notched six points, and Parker added five.

The fourth quarter, however, would belong to junior Kendrick Nunn. The scoring guard netted nine points in the final chapter to help the Wolverines remain unbeaten. Nunn had all but one field in the last eight minutes, while Parker was 4-of-4 from the free-throw line.

The win helped keep alive Simeon's main goal, which is to remain undefeated.

"That's our biggest goal," Parker relayed. "We have never won a national championship and we want to try and win one. The only way we can do that is win every game."

Parker was awarded game MVP honors despite a 6-of-18 showing from the field. The 6-8 junior, who said he is interested in the Big 10 and ACC, finished with 20 points, six rebounds, and four assists.

Parker was stormed by a throng of kids seeking autographs and pictures following the contest, and he gladly obliged.

When asked what it was like to be Jabari Parker, he responded just the way we thought considering he is such a great kid.

"It's pretty fun," said the son of former NBA player Sonny Parker. "I always have to remember to be on my best behavior and to be a good example."

Nunn added 19 points and five rebounds and was a big reason Simeon's unbeaten streak stayed alive. Taylor chipped in 11 points and five boards.

Tony Parker, who didn't get nearly enough touches or shots, led Miller Grove with 20 points on 6-of-10 shooting and recorded a game-high 12 rebounds.

Houston netted 14 points and Colvin was good for 11. Each had five rebounds. Georgia-bound Brandon Morris was held to five points and four boards.

Simeon, who is the two-time defending 4A state champions, had just seven turnovers for the contest.