'Bigs' play role in OPRF boys basketball's win over LT

Six-foot-9 Allen scores 10 for Huskies, including a layup on a fastbreak

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By Lauren Recchia

Contributing Reporter

The OPRF boys basketball team tightened up their game in the second half to get past Lyons Township on Friday night.

The Huskies (7-3, 3-0) defeated the Lions 56-42 in Oak Park but the game began a sluggish affair. Lyons junior forward Nikola Josipovic broke a 0-0 scoring drought with 4:42 left in the first quarter on a jumper. Although, it was OPRF's offense that finally came together first after a lackluster opening half. The Huskies outscored the Lions 14-5 in the third quarter and took a 44-27 lead into the fourth.

"The number one goal on the board that we talked about (at halftime) is don't settle for jumpers," said OPRF head coach Matt Maloney. "I told them that we want clean three-pointers, we want penetration to the rim. We don't need to create off of the bounce; our offense can create shots for us."

Six-foot-9 senior center Virgil Allen broke loose midway through the third quarter with a steal and breakaway layup to put the Huskies in front 41-25.

"I just felt like I had the chance to get a layup," Allen said. "It was a good steal. I felt great after that."

Senior guard Jakari Cammon led the Huskies with 13 points, while Allen put up 10 points and junior guard Erick Locke finished with 12.

Senior guard/forward Christopher O'Reilly and senior forward Matt Aikens each scored 10 for the Lions (4-5, 1-3), while junior forward Sam Cybulski notched eight.

"We had a lot of open shots that we didn't make," said LT head coach Tom Sloan. "We had shots that we would have knocked down in the last couple of games, but we missed them early (in Friday's game)."

The Lions' offense began to click in the fourth quarter, as they opened with a three-pointer from the left side by sophomore guard Harrison Niego. The Lions outscored OPRF 15-12 in the period, but the damage was already done.

"We turned it over in key situations when we started to get some momentum going," said Sloan. "You can't give Oak Park run-out layups and easy baskets. They're a good team, and we gave them too many easy opportunities."

Allen credits his breakout performance to the rest of his teammates, and said it was as simple as everybody doing their job.

"I have to give credit to the point guards for getting the big man the ball," he said. "We did well tonight, it was a great job. The big men got to the boards, the point guards got their assists, and we did well chasing (Lyons) off of the three-pointers."

The Huskies are vying for their second straight West Suburban (Silver) Conference title.

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