HENDERSON, Nev. — Simeon starters insisted their journey to the Penny Hardaway Las Vegas Hoopfest was a business trip.
The vacation came in the fourth quarter Saturday against host Coronado.
Jabari Parker scored 23 points and had five rebounds and Kendrick Nunn added 16 points and four steals before sitting out the final quarter as the Wolverines cruised to an 80-33 victory.
Russell Woods received the MVP game ball after totaling 13 points and four rebounds for the Wolverines (19-2), who didn’t make a visit to the Las Vegas strip during their last out-of-state trip of the season.
“We drove past, but I don’t think that was on our mind,” Woods said. “Coming to get a ‘W,’ to try to become contenders for the national championship again. That is what’s really on our mind.”
The victory helped top-ranked Simeon tune up for the Chicago Public League tournament, which begins Tuesday. The Wolverines earned the No. 2 seed behind No. 1 Orr.
Simeon took a 13-0 lead behind five points each from Parker and Nunn, and lengthened the gap to 51-21 by halftime. Nunn hit a 3-pointer with 5 minutes, 29 seconds to play in the third quarter to give Simeon a 65-23 lead and invoke Nevada’s 40-point mercy rule.
“It was a 10 out of a 10,” Parker said of the trip, during which the team visited his local family. “Just to get a chance to spend time with my team, see my relatives and be away from all of the negative energy in Chicago.”
Simeon’s guards added to the fun, with Jaylon Tate and Rickey Norris turning in second-half dunks. Tate finished with nine points and nine assists against Coronado (9-14).
“We all knew (Jaylon) could dunk, but I wanted to see him,” Woods said. “The first one he had, I was like, ‘Dunk it. Dunk it.’ But he had a layup. This time he heard us say it. And Rickey had a nice, nasty dunk.”
Player of the game: Jabari Parker, 23 points, 5 rebounds.
Key performers: Simeon — Kendrick Nunn, 16 points, 4 steals; Russell Woods, 13 points, 4 rebounds; Jaylon Tate, 9 points, 9 assists. Coronado — Justice Augmon, 11 points.Copyright © 2015, RedEye