Covering High School Sports in America
Photo by John Rowland

Jahlil Okafor

When we released our preseason Xcellent 25 in early November, no pick raised more eyebrows than Whitney Young (Chicago) at No. 8.

A young Dolphin squad went 16-10 a year ago against a challenging schedule that included seven games against teams that were nationally ranked at some point in the season. Whitney Young went just 1-6 in those contests, leaving some question about its ability to beat elite competition this winter.

Saturday night at the Chicago Elite Classic, head coach Tyrone Slaughter's team chipped away some of the doubt with a dominating 72-58 victory over perennial national power DeMatha (Hyattsville, Md.).

Jahlil Okafor, a 6-foot-10 junior center regarded as the top prospect nationally in the Class of 2014 by MaxPreps, put up 34 points and grabbed nine rebounds in the contest at University of Illinois-Chicago.

South Carolina transfer L.J. Peak, a 6-4 junior wing, aided Whitney Young's cause with 17 points and six rebounds. Peak led Gaffney High School to a championship last season in the Palmetto State.

More from the Chicago Elite Classic

* Star senior Jabari Parker made a surprise appearance in the lineup for No. 1 Simeon (Chicago) but played sparingly in a 56-35 win over Milton (Ga.). Parker was not expected to play coming off a broken foot suffered this summer.

* No. 6 Lone Peak (Highland, Utah) throttled 2012 Illinois Class 4A runner-up Proviso East (Maywood) 84-46. Senior big man Eric Mika tallied 18 points and 15 rebounds for the Knights.

Other scores

Mater Dei (Santa Ana, Calif.) 65, St. Joseph (Westchester, Ill.) 55
St. Vincent-St. Mary (Akron, Ohio) 68, University (Normal, Ill.) 65
De La Salle (Chicago) 70, Phillips (Chicago) 59