The game was the Class 4A Maywood Boys Basketball Sectional semifinal at Proviso East. The opponent was highly-ranked Whitney Young High School which boasts several possible NCAA Division I recruits and the son of former NBA great, Michael Jordan.
Oak Park and River Forest High School was the relentless team that nearly erased a 20-point deficit to turn the closing seconds into a barnburner. The result was a tough 69-61 loss for OPRF in front of a standing-room-only crowd-including His Airness, Jordan-Tuesday night.
Marcus Acree’s 3-pointer with 53.7 seconds left in the game put the Huskies within 5 and sent OPRF’s student section, located above Young’s bench in the mezzanine, into a frenzy.
The Huskies, and the excitement of the game, lulled in the third when Young’s A.J. Rompza hit a 3-pointer to give his team a lofty 44-24 advantage. Aided by Adam Taylor and Daniel Barnes (18 points), the Huskies chipped away at the lead.
Taylor scored 11 of his 14 points in the second half, and Barnes buried two deep 3-pointers, including one near the conclusion of the third that cut the deficit to 10.
Levell Coppage electrified the OPRF crowd with a 3-pointer of his own to keep Young within reach as the clock hit the 27-second mark of the final quarter. But the Dolphins (25-5) made key free throws in the closing seconds to seal the victory.
The Huskies took a brief 7-0 lead to open the game, before Young scored 17 unanswered points. OPRF’s Iman Shumpert, who is headed to Georgia Tech in the fall, had a rough night, fouling out with just eight points in the final 43 seconds of the game.
Julian Keller led the Dolphins with 19 points, while Chris Colvin added 11.
OPRF finishes a stellar season with an overall record of 23-6. The team went 10-2 in the West Suburban Silver to win its third conference title in four years.
Along with head coach Al Allen, who retires with a 364-193 career coaching record in 21 years at OPRF, the Huskies lose 14 players to graduation in Khirey Floyd, Kyle Glancy, Coppage, Acree, Bryan Bakker, Clarke Cuthbert, Seth Kazarian, Taylor, Shumpert, Barnes, Troy Aldridge, Blake Austin, Jarvis Brown and Dan Green.