Basketball in full swing

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By Marty Farmer

Sports Editor

I don't blog as much as I should or would like to. Frankly, whether its attending multiple games a week, writing stories, editing those aforementioned stories and generally just kind of "staying in the game" in terms of local sports knowledge, it's fairly time consuming. Sometimes, blogs regrettably get lost in the shuffle.

Nevertheless, kudos to multiple boys and girls basketball teams in town for solid performances over the weekend. Trinity stole the show with a 56-52 upset of top-ranked Whitney Young Saturday night in River Forest. Led by Lauren Prochaska, our Athlete of the Week, the Blazers used their speed, skill and home crowd support to take down the mighty Dolphins who have finished in the Top 3 places the past five years in the IHSA Class 4A state playoffs, including state titles in 2012 and 2008. Pretty heady stuff for the 14-2 Blazers.

I checked out OPRF bous hoops Saturday in Hillside against Proviso West. The entire first half, the Huskies players and coaches alike struck me as a bit restless/listless and frustrated at the proceedings on the court. After letting a win slip away the previous night at LT, the Huskies slogged their way to a 20-20 tie with the Panthers. In the second half, reserves Dallis Flowers and Elliot Greffin woke up the Huskies with plenty of points and hustle. Flowers scored from distance and on several layups to kickstart the offense, while Greffin provided hustle, great defense and all "the little things" that help a team win. Center Javonni Harrell grabbed 12 boards in the second half and team leaders Erick Locke and Simmie Cobbs provided support. At 1-2 in the league, OPRF still has plenty of time to make a push into the upper portion of the West Suburban Silver standings.

The OPRF girls team swept two games over the weekend with wins over Lyons Township with a balanced team effort. Emily Schreck, Hailey Hoye and Chardonnay Harris among others have played well for the Huskies this season, who are off to a 10-10 start but offer a ton of upside. The Huskies typically start no seniors.

Right down the road, it still sounds off to list the Fenwick girls basketball team's record at 8-12. The Friars, historically, are one of the premier teams in the state under legendary head coach Dave Power. With the return of point guard Jade Owens last week, however, the Friars scored a huge win over Carmel in ESCC play. Regardless of record, as the Friars continue to recover from early season injuries and setbacks, they could be a scary sleeper in the playoffs.

Finally, the Fenwick boys team takes on a couple of ho-hum opponents this weekend in St. Joseph and Proviso East. Just kidding. Under new head coach Rick Malnati, the Friars have taken on a litany of incredible teams this season. Benet, Normal U-High, Morgan Park, Proviso East (once already). You have to repsect the Friars' willingness to play anybody anywhere. Who's next Mason "The Line" Dixon and Clubber Lang? Needless to say, the Friars have taken on heavyweights all season. Northwestern recruit Scott Lindsey is slated to return for the Friars soon which should come in handy as the second half of the season kicks in. His return, coupled with the steady inside work of Dan Dwyer and Tom Planek, gives the Friars an outstanding front line.

Of course, lest we not forget other sports like wrestling, boys swimming and girls gymnastics. The Huskies continue to shine on the wrestling mat. With a roster loaded full of elite athletes at their respective weight classes, OPRF is the favorite to win the team title state championship. Head coach Mike Powell might as well be called Phil Jackson. Look at that roster- Davonte Mahomes, Larry Early, Isaiah White, Kamal Bey, Jason Renteria, Emonte Logan, Andre Lee. No soft spots.

I'm out for now, back to juggling web and print stories, but felt good to blog some thoughts. Good luck to all our area teams and athletes this week. Not sure where I'll be this weekend, but good chance I'll be taking in Fenwick boys hoops at Proviso East Saturday at 6 p.m. Eager to re-visit the Proviso West gym. Remarkable venue that has produced multiple NBA players like Jim Brewer, Mike Finley, Donnie Boyce, Steven Hunter, Shannon Brown and Dee Brown, etc. The current start for the Pirates is West Virginia-bound Jevon Carter. He lit up the Friars for 29 points in their first meeting, an eight-point win for the Panthers over Fenwick at the Proviso West tourney.

Contact:
Email: marty@oakpark.com Twitter: @OakParkSports

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Posted: January 15th, 2014 2:00 PM

Congrats to the Brooks Middle School boys basketball team for winning the 1st Annual Oak Park/River Forest 7th Grade Village Tournament hosted last weekend by St. Luke. Ascension, Brooks, Julian, Roosevelt, St. Giles & St. Luke competed for this year's bragging rights. Based on the high quality of play in the tourney, the future of basketball in Oak Park/River Forest is very bright. Many thanks go to the Wolfpack School of Basketball for sposoring the tournament.

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