Both Lyons and OPRF received lectures from their coaches at halftime of the West Suburban (Silver) Conference opener in Oak Park Friday night. Nobody reacted to OPRF coach Al Allen’s speech more than Huskies sophomore Daniel Barnes.
Barnes scored all 11 of his points?#34;on three straight three-pointers and a layup?#34;in the first four minutes of the third quarter, as OPRF extended a two-point halftime lead into double digits and held off the Lions for a 62-50 win.
“We got a little motivational talk at halftime,” reported OPRF’s Lamont Sanders, who led the Huskies with 22 points. “Al said the only reason we were up was they were missing so many shots.”
OPRF (5-0, 1-0) responded by outscoring Lyons 20-10 in the third quarter to build a 12-point lead which grew to as much as 16 in the fourth quarter.
At the same time Allen was telling his team it was lucky to be winning at the half, Lyons coach Conte Stamas was equally upset.
“We should have been down by 15 at halftime. We were incredibly fortunate to be down just two,” he said. “I told them, ‘If you play a little bit in the second half, you might be OK.’ But we didn’t.
“From a mental approach, that was the worst game I’ve been part of. We didn’t know what offense we were in. We didn’t know what defense we were in. I’m disappointed that we were not ready for this game. I’m irate over that.”
When Stamas pulled a couple of his starters with Lyons (3-2, 0-1) trailing 54-38 and only three minutes remaining, it appeared that he was conceding defeat and giving his reserves some playing time.
“No, I’m never going to give up, but I’m not going to watch that, what was being done out there by a few certain individuals,” Stamas said. “If they’re not going to do what I tell them to do, they’re not going to play for me.”
The first half was sloppy?#34;especially the first quarter, in which OPRF went six minutes without a basket. But, trailing 7-2 with a minute remaining in the period, the Huskies got going. Jason Simmons (12 points) began a 13-0 spurt with two free throws and a three-pointer at the first quarter buzzer, and then OPRF scored the first seven points of the second quarter to build a 15-7 lead.
OPRF held a comfortable 42-30 advantage after three?#34;comfortable because Lyons scored seven, 13, and 10 points in the first three quarters, respectively, and at that pace would have needed to pitch a fourth quarter shutout to have a chance at victory. But the Lions scored 20 in the fourth, meaning the Huskies needed Lamont Sanders’ 12 points in the period to stay ahead and remain undefeated.
“This was our first big game of the year,” Allen said. “The teams we played earlier, they were not indicative of what we’ll see this year. I’m very happy we did well against an elite Lyons Township team.”
The Huskies hosted Bremen last night (after deadline) and will resume conference play Friday night at Glenbard West.