Emily Vachon’s only basket Saturday night with 50 seconds left in the OPRF girls basketball team’s game against Glenbard West brought sweet relief to the Huskies in more ways than one.

Not only did Vachon’s go-ahead shot lead to a 45-43 victory over the Hilltoppers, it also helped end the Huskies’ seven-game losing streak to start the season. Vachon’s basket wasn’t the only factor in OPRF’s first victory. Biz Mullins hit to clutch free throws to seal the win and Illinois State-bound senior Stekara Hall finished with a double-double of 18 points and 10 rebounds. She also had five assists.

“I guess you could say things are looking up for the Huskie girls basketball team, but when your back is on the canvas and there’s an eight-count I guess the only way you can look is up,” said OPRF head coach Bob Biggins.

Caroline Kelty added 16 points for the Huskies (1-7, 1-1) who were forced to face some formidable opponents to start the season.

In their home and conference opener on Nov. 29, the Huskies battled York but fell short 59-54. Trailing 15-8 after the opening period, OPRF received a boost when five different players scored in the second to lift the team to a 28-27 lead by halftime. But the Dukes were able to pull out the win by hitting seven free throws in the final quarter. Hall finished with a game-high 20 points, while Kelty added 10. Alex Harrel led York with 16 points and 13 rebounds.

“Stick (Stekara Hall) is going to be double-teamed throughout this season and other players must and will step up,” said Biggins following the loss to York. “We’re getting solid play from Hailey Hoye defensively and she’s getting less shy about shooting. Both [Maeve] Connelly and [Caroline] Kelty have been brilliant at times yet both inconsistent. Cuyla Hall is still finding her way.”

Biggins said he’s sure his Huskies will soon turn things around and begin winning consistently.

“Much of our struggles have to do with just playing together and trusting each other,” he said. “I feel we will do that and begin to win our share of games. We need to be more proactive on defense instead of reactive, and we need to have others step up and score besides Stekara. The one thing we can always control is our hustle and our defense, as well as the pace the game is played at.

The Huskies travel to Downers Grove North on Saturday. They’ll host cross-town rival Fenwick on Dec. 14 (6 p.m.). The Friars jumped out to a 5-0 start before falling to Loyola 55-32 last week.

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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...