Strzemp a 'one-man wrecking crew' at tourney

Hilton's return pushed back to mid-Feb.

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By BRAD SPENCER, Sports Editor

One of the highlights of the Pontiac Holiday tournament was OPRF's Robert Strzemp. The 6-foot-5 Strzemp was selected to the All-tournament team, despite the fact that the Huskies (8-4, 1-1) weren't in the final four. OPRF finished 2-2 in the tournament, but Strzemp shot over 50 percent from the field and tallied a total 80 points in the four games. OPRF head coach Al Allen called his senior forward a "One-man wrecking crew."

Strzemp's 21 points and nine rebounds led the Huskies past Danville 44-35 in the opening round. Gabe Sims added 11 points, while Howard Boone racked up eight rebounds and seven blocked shots.

"I've never coached a kid who had seven blocked shots in a game," said Allen, who received a plaque at the tournament for obtaining his 300th win while head coach at OPRF. "It was great to see."

What wasn't so great to see was OPRF's 56-41 loss to Warren. The Huskies had 20 turnovers in the game and were outscored 16-6 in the third quarter. Strzemp had 19 points in the loss.

OPRF recovered to down Joliet 67-52 in the consolation bracket. Strzemp came away with 25 points and 13 rebounds, while Jason Simmons and Sims both had 12 points apiece. Boone tallied 10 rebounds, three blocked shots and three steals in the win.  

USC-bound Sead Odzic prevented OPRF from taking fifth place at the tournament. Odzic's 46 points led Niles West to a 53-48 win over the Huskies.

Strzemp churned out yet another great performance, scoring 21 points, hauling down five rebounds and pocketing three steals. Sims scored 15 for the Huskies in the loss.

"The rest of the starters had nothing to show as far as offense," said a disappointed Allen. "We struggled in that game big time."  

The Huskies were dealt another setback last week as well. X-rays on Evan Hilton's broken foot, injured on Nov. 26th, revealed that the bone has not healed well enough to begin rehab. Allen was hoping to have his star guard back in action this month. Now he'll have to wait until mid-February.

"I haven't had any luck go my way this season, so why should I get some here," said Allen of Hilton's injury. "I feel for Evan, who has worked so hard to get the opportunity to showcase what he is capable of. He was ready to go. It's unfortunate." 

The Huskies host Proviso West tonight (Wednesday, 6 p.m.) and travel to Downers Grove North on Friday (7:30 p.m.).

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