The OPRF girls basketball team edged York 54-47 in an entertaining matchup of sorts on Friday night at the fieldhouse in Oak Park.

Adhering to the run-and-gun philosophy of first-year head coach J.P. Coughlin, the Huskies launched 49 two-point field goal attempts and 18 more shots from beyond the three-point arc. Despite sinking only 17 of those 65 attempts for the game, OPRF (4-4, 0-1 West Suburban Silver) produced enough offense and showed plenty of fight, particularly at the defensive end, to hold off the pesky Dukes.

“We passed the ball around and made some shots especially free throws when it counted,” OPRF senior guard Cuyla Hall said. “It was an important win because we want to set the tone that we’re in it to win it when it comes to a conference championship.”

After 6-foot-3 center Molly Schlecht staked York to an early 4-0 lead on a pair of inside buckets, OPRF scored 12 of the next 16 points to take a 12-8 lead at the end of the first quarter.

The Huskies extended their advantage to 24-14 midway through the second quarter when sophomore guard Hailey Hoye (team-high 15 points) canned a midrange jumper to close a 12-6 spurt.

Trailing 28-21 at the intermission, York (3-4, 0-2) outscored OPRF 18-12 in the third quarter to pull within one point entering the fourth. The Dukes maintained their momentum as AnnaBell Lansdowne, who finished with a game-high 17 points, made two free throws to put York up 41-40 at the 7:33 mark.

Hall regained the OPRF lead for good, at 42-41, sinking a tough basket with plenty of traffic in the lane. Caroline Kelty scored five points and Hoye converted 4-of-4 free throws the rest of the way to secure the Huskies’ 54-47 victory.

“We knew that our speed was a big advantage against York,” Kelty said. “Both teams are pretty scrappy, but I guess we won that, too. We’re not a one-player team; we all need to contribute to make the team better.”

Balance certainly served as the Huskies’ blueprint to victory versus York. In addition to Hoye’s 15 points, Kelty notched a double-double of 12 points and 13 rebounds while Hall tallied 13 points and five boards.

“In our other games, we had a one-on-one attack,” said Hoye, “but we played more as a team tonight. There have been some adjustments this season. We’re playing much faster.”

Senior point guard Maeve Connelly contributed seven points, floor leadership and excellent defensive perimeter pressure.

“We’ve had trouble getting a variety of people scoring, but [tonight] we had balance,” Coughlin said. “We don’t have a lot of size or score much in the halfcourt, so we try to get run outs, drive and kicks, three-pointers. We’re not quite Grinnell, but our style is to run like hell.”

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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...