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Simeon holds off Curie 53-49 for Public League boys basketball title

Steve Taylor Simemoves inside past Curie's Cliff Alexander. Patrick Gleas~ For Sun-Times

Steve Taylor of Simeon moves to the inside past Curie's Cliff Alexander. Patrick Gleason ~ For the Sun-Times

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Updated: March 19, 2012 10:08AM

Simeon coach Robert Smith called senior Steve Taylor out in front of the media after the Wolverines semifinal win over Orr, saying that Taylor had to return to the high level of play he displayed in the first half of the season.

Taylor rose to the occasion Friday at Chicago State, scoring 11 points and grabbing 11 rebounds to lead the No. 1 Wolverines to a 53-49 win over No. 3 Curie in the city championship game in front of 4,700 fans, including mayor Rahm Emanuel.

Simeon junior Jabari Parker picked up two early fouls and spent the entire second quarter on the bench. Taylor and junior Kendrick Nunn held down Curie in his absence as the Wolverines outscored the Condors 11-3 to take control.

‘‘When Jabari went out I had to step up and be a leader,’’ Taylor said. ‘‘We didn’t miss a beat.’’

A three from Parker put Simeon ahead 41-24 to start the fourth quarter.

Curie mounted a comeback near the end of the quarter, cutting the lead to four on a dunk from Cliff Alexander with 27 seconds to play. That was Alexander’s first field goal of the game. He finished with four points and seven rebounds.

‘‘[Alexander] doesn’t really have a post move yet,’’ Taylor said. ‘‘He’s a good player and I respect his game. It was important for me to be able to stop him.’’

‘‘Cliff Alexander was a very big factor,’’ Parker said. ‘‘If he could have gotten things going earlier it would have been big for them.’’

Senior Devin Foster led Curie (24-2) with 19 points and five rebounds, and Malcolm Hill-Bey added 10 points.

Parker scored 11 for Simeon (25-1) and Kendrick Nunn led the way with 15 points and six rebounds. Point guard Jaleni Neely added nine points.

It’s the sixth city championship for Simeon, the first since 2007. The Condors had never played for the city title before in the 112-year history of the tournament.

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