What do you get when you mix 14 turnovers in the first half with an athletic 6-foot-8, 230-pound Lithuanian? If you’re the OPRF boys basketball team the answer is a 61-45 loss to Downers Grove South.
That’s what occurred on Saturday night in Downers Grove when the Huskies (4-1, 1-0) committed several miscues in the opening half and Zygimantas Riauka, the Mustangs’ overpowering center, caused havoc throughout the contest. Riauka finished with 15 points and also played a major part in keeping the Huskies at bay in the second quarter when his team took a 26-15 lead at one point.
OPRF’s big man, the 6-6 junior Gabe Levin, scored a game-high 16 points, but the Huskies never came within two after the first quarter. Ka’Darryl Bell scored 13 for the Huskies, who were coming off a 53-48 win over Downers Grove North to open Silver Division action of the West Suburban Conference the night before.
Levin and Bell picked up their fourth fouls at the start of the final quarter in that game but OPRF held on.
Along with Bell’s team-leading 15 points, senior Steve Ramsey added 13 in the victory over Downers North. The Huskies led 17-15 at halftime. Ramsey was 3-for-3 from three-point range.
“We discussed winning the tempo battle,” said OPRF head coach Matt Maloney after the win over Downers North. “I knew coach Thomas, from Downers, wanted to keep the game in the 30[-point range] to win. If it was in the 40s, it would be anyone’s game and if we could get our score in the 60s, we would win going away. Unfortunately, they won the tempo battle; however, we were able to earn a victory. This was a great learning experience for our young squad.”
The Huskies host Walther Lutheran in their home opener on Thursday (7 p.m.).