By Brad Spencer
One could say the good news for the OPRF boys basketball team is the fact that they didn't have to face Jabari Parker and Simeon at the Pontiac Holiday Tournament. Parker, the state's top hoops college recruit, led Simeon to the title, but OPRF didn't do too bad either.
The Huskies' only loss at the three-day tourney came in the form of a tight 53-51 edging by Warren Township in the opening round. From then on, OPRF (11-4) strung together three straight victories, including their 54-48 tournament capper over Niles West.
Eric Locke, who scored in double digits in all four games, led the Huskies with 22 points in the win over Niles West. But it was TK Mattox who seemed to have broken out of his shell in this win. The 6-foot-7 senior scored a season-high 18 points to go along with his nine rebounds and two blocks.
The Huskies climbed out of an 18-10 hole after the opening quarter to outscore the Wolves 11-5 before halftime. David McCoy led Niles West with 23 points.
Led by Locke's 18 points and Jakari Cammon's 15, the Huskies also downed Waukegan 57-40 earlier on the final day of the tournament. OPRF took a 17-10 lead in the first quarter and never looked back, leading by 13 after three quarters. Mattox hauled down 15 rebounds and thwarted four shots in the win.
OPRF smoothed over its loss to Warren by cruising to a 62-32 victory over Danville in the second round. Four players scored in double-digits in this win for the Huskies, including Locke, who added eight steals to his game-high 17 points. Alex Gustafson scored 11 points, while Cammon and Jason Gant, who earned his first start on the season, added 10 apiece.
The Huskies scored 29 points on 31 turnovers by the Vikings.
OPRF fell to Warren despite 23 points from Locke, who connected on 4-of-8 from three-point land. He was the only player to score in double-figures for the Huskies, who cut a seven-point deficit in the opening quarter to two by halftime.
OPRF outscored Warren 18-14 in the third period, but Locke's attempt at a game-winning three at the final buzzer fell short.
Cammon added nine points for the Huskies, while Gustafson and Mattox chipped in six apiece in the loss.
Adrian Deere led the Blue Devils with 20 points, while Auris Austin added 14, nine of which he scored consecutively to close out the win. Warren shot 61 percent from the field.
The Huskies now turn their attention back to defending the West Suburban (Silver) Conference title. Undefeated at 4-0, they travel to Glenbard West on Jan. 11 and host York on Jan. 18 (both at 7:30 p.m.).
"We feel our best basketball is still ahead of us," said OPRF head coach Matt Maloney.