Commentary

Top-ranked Dolphins top Panthers

Hamilton helps lift Whitney Young

Updated: December 30, 2009, 3:34 PM ET
By Scott Powers | ESPNChicago.com

Alex Dragicevich
Scott Powers/ESPNChicago.comGlenbrook North's Alex Dragicevich scored a game-high 21 points on Tuesday in the Spartans' loss.

HILLSIDE, Ill. -- Dealing with young basketball phenoms is nothing new to Whitney Young coach Tyrone Slaughter.

It wasn't too long ago Slaughter helped guide the development of Derrick Rose. Before joining his brother's AAU team, Rose spent his early years on the club circuit with Slaughter's Ferrari squad.

Now, Slaughter has another player who is well beyond his years in talent -- 6-foot-9 freshman Tommy Hamilton Jr.

"The similarity is they're both very good players," said Slaughter of Hamilton Jr. and Rose. "I learned with Derrick you can't beat time. You have to give them time to grow." On Tuesday, Hamilton Jr. grew some.

After playing just a few minutes in the first half, Hamilton Jr. took advantage of every second given to him in the second. With the Dolphins trailing by as many as eight points in the third quarter, Hamilton Jr. put his older teammates on his back, scored all 10 of his points in the second half and rallied No. 1 Whitney Young to a 39-33 win over No. 2 Glenbrook North in the semifinals at the Proviso West Holiday Tournament.

"What hasn't impressed about Tommy," Dolphins junior Sam Thompson said. "Tommy is progressing."

Glenbrook North (11-1) appeared as if it might pull away from Whitney Young (8-0) midway through the third quarter. With Spartans senior Alex Dragicevich, a Norte Dame recruit, putting on his own show, scoring a 3-pointer followed by a two-handed fastbreak dunk followed by another 3-pointer, Glenbrook North went ahead 26-18 with 3:02 left in the quarter.

From there, Hamilton Jr. emerged. He scored back-to-back baskets, which included a 3-pointer, late in the third quarter. In the fourth, he added a three-point play and a post basket.

"I was feeling it," Hamilton Jr. said.

The high-flying Thompson chipped in as well for the Dolphins. After having to shadow the versatile Dragicevich all game, Thompson was left with little energy, but what he did have remaining he used to score a layup at the buzzer of the third quarter and then put the Dolphins ahead 32-31 with a baseline jumper with 4:15 left in the game. Whitney Young wouldn't trail again.

Thompson finished with a team-high 11 points, nine rebounds, three steals and two blocks.

Dragicevich scored a game-high 21 points on 8-of-20 shooting. Glenbrook North senior Austin Weber, who was also averaging double figures, was held to three points on 1-of-9 from the field. "We had to guard two of the best players in the state," Slaughter said. "We held one to 21 points and the other to three points. They both usually score in the 30s."

Glenbrook North's Peter Szostak had a game-high 16 rebounds.

The game wasn't pretty for most of the night. Whitney Young shot 15-for-51 from the field, and Glenbrook North was 13-for-51. The two teams also combined for 23 turnovers.

Whitney Young will play Foreman, which defeated Von Steuben, in the Proviso West championship on Wednesday night.

Scott Powers covers high school and college sports for ESPNChicago.com and can be reached at preps@espnchicago.com.

Scott Powers is a general reporter for ESPNChicago.com. He is an award-winning journalist and has been reporting on preps, colleges and pros for publications throughout the Midwest since 1997.