Hinsdale C. 66
OPRF         61

Friday night’s West Suburban (Silver) Conference showdown between the OPRF boys basketball team and Hinsdale Central in Oak Park came down to who could hit the most free throws. Unfortunately for the Huskies, Hinsdale Central won the contest and the game. The Red Devils shot perfectly from the charity stripe in the final period to hand OPRF a 66-61 loss.

While the Huskies (9-6, 2-1) made 15-of-20 shots from the free-throw line, Hinsdale Central turned out a better performance by nailing 28-of-31, including 14-of-14 in the fourth quarter.

“We had some costly fouls near the end of the game and Hinsdale Central capitalized on them,” said OPRF head coach Matt Maloney. “We played well overall, but we needed a few key defensive stops to turn the ballgame around and we didn’t get them.”

The Red Devils jumped on a 17-6 run in the third and looked as if they were about to put the game away, but OPRF didn’t go quietly. Down 10 with four minutes to go in the game, the Huskies rallied. Two minutes later, junior forward Andrew Godbold hit a three-pointer to tie things up, but Hinsdale Central closed the door with its accurate free-throw shooting.

Godbold finished with a double-double of 22 points and 10 rebounds, while senior De’Angelo Speech fouled out in the fourth with 15 points. Both Speech and starting center Jeff Dirkin were plagued with foul trouble throughout the game and were on and off the bench. The Huskies were also without senior reserve guard Vida Durazo, who remained unavailable after suffering a broken nose during practice the week prior. Durazo had experienced symptoms of a concussion after the injury and was not cleared to play, according to Maloney. The senior is due back this week.

“Not having Durazo was a major factor for us,” said Maloney. “His tenacity and aggressiveness would have played a big part in this game.”

Six-foot-6 center Aaron Levin was also out with a strained groin, and guard John Weinheimer did not play despite being cleared after suffering a hip injury. “John is in the process of getting back in shape now, so we look forward to his permanent return,” said Maloney.

The Huskies travel to Hillside on Friday for a conference showdown against Proviso West (6 p.m.). The Panthers (10-5) recently finished second in their own Proviso West Holiday Tournament, which features some of the top teams in the state.

“Hinsdale Central was a big game. We could have been 3-0 in the conference going into Proviso West, but instead we’re going to have to steal one from the Panthers,” said Maloney. “Just like Hinsdale Central did to us.”

Proviso West fell to Morton 65-59 in the Proviso West Holiday Tournament championship game, despite having five players score in double digits. The team, which boasts such players as Robert Covington and Dontae Moore, is coming off a 71-62 victory over Lake Park. The two players combined to score 41 points in that win.

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Brad Spencer

Brad Spencer has been covering sports in and around Oak Park for more than a decade, which means the young athletes he once covered in high school are now out of college and at home living with their parents...