A glaring statistic of 30 turnovers committed by the OPRF girls basketball team assured the Huskies virtually no chance of victory against Lyons Township on Saturday afternoon. Rather, host LT took full advantage of the Huskies’ adventures in ball handling to roll to a 49-31 West Suburban (Silver) Conference win.

OPRF (3-6, 0-2) jumped out to a 7-2 lead at the 5:30 mark of the first quarter as 5-foot-9 sophomore guard Stekara Hall (9 points, 4 rebounds) scored all of the Huskies’ early points. But Lyons seized the momentum with a 15-0 run, fueled by heavy defensive pressure. OPRF committed five turnovers on six possessions during that disappointing stretch.

“We just turned the ball over too much,” said OPRF center Jamie Duffy. “We had way too many lost balls and too many bad passes. Our defense was there, but we just were not making any shots.”

While the Huskies struggled offensively, LT (4-2, 1-1) closed the first quarter outscoring OPRF 18-2 to take a 20-9 lead. Connors (13 points, 5 steals) and junior center Danielle Beck (10 points, 7 rebounds) scored seven points apiece as the Lions gained control and never looked back.

“We definitely worked with our press and wanted to force turnovers,” Schabacker said. “One of our philosophies is to wear down teams. Oak Park is going to get better and better. Next time they’re not going to have those turnovers, but we’ll take it and run with them [today].”

In the second quarter, Renata Butikas sank a pair of free throws to extend the LT lead to 25-11 with 3:50 left until halftime. The Huskies outscored LT 7-5 the rest of the period to draw within 30-18 at the break.

Lyons junior Riley Donovan netted seven points during a 9-0 spurt to open the third quarter, making it 39-18 and essentially sealing the victory. The Lions outscored OPRF 16-2 in the third quarter.

Along with their turnover issues, the Huskies got to the foul line only a third of the time compared to LT. The Lions made 20-of-36 attempts from the charity stripe, while OPRF converted 7-of-12 opportunities.

“We just have to make our shots, make our free throws and stop fouling so much,” Duffy said. We’re a small team and we just have to learn how to use that to our advantage, especially with the fast break. I don’t think we are taking advantage of our speed.”

Duffy had two points and hauled in nine rebounds for OPRF, while Maggie Tansey chipped in five points and four rebounds. Reserves Hashika Barral (4 points, 5 rebounds), Camille Scott (2 points, 6 rebounds) and Jasmine McBroom (4 points) also contributed for the Huskies, who travel to York this Saturday (7:30 p.m.).

Leading 47-24 midway through the fourth quarter, Schabacker cleared the LT bench.

“This was a necessary win,” Beck said. “Winning this game is a confidence booster for sure. We’re a young team so we have a lot of potential to improve.”

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Marty Farmer

The Illinois Press Association recently honored Marty with the 1st & 2nd Place Awards for Best Sports Feature for his article He's in an Oak Park state of mind: Former OPRF star Iman Shumpert returns...