Everybody has been waiting on promising OPRF sophomore Charlie Hoehne — especially Charlie Hoehne.

The anticipation by many makes sense considering his 6-foot-6 rangy frame and his ability with a basketball.

With such high expectations, however, comes pressure. And by his own admission, Hoehne has played tentatively on the basketball court.

Sustained measures of his talent, however, came to light during the Huskies’ 65-47 win over visiting Downers Grove North on Feb. 11. Hoehne finished with 11 points and eight rebounds, but his impact went well beyond the numbers. He deflected passes, hit the boards and encouraged teammates.

He was all over the court; envision Charlie Hustle with a jump shot.

Junior guard Isaiah Fuller actually claimed scoring honors with 14 points and senior forward, Wyoming-bound Jared Scott had 12 points and five rebounds for the Huskies.

But Hoehne was the player who stood out.

Perhaps borrowing Phil Jackson’s Zen-like view of basketball, Hoehne finally freed his mind and simply let his talent follow.

“Throughout the year, I’ve been thinking too much on the court,” Hoehne said. “[Today] I just came out and erased everything from my mind. I just concentrated on the game and getting a big win.

“At first, I took criticism personally. Now I just see it from a basketball standpoint and that’s really helped.”

OPRF coach Matt Maloney said Hoehne turned in his signature performance of the season Saturday.

“This was his best game of the year by far,” Maloney said. “It’s the same process some of the other guys like Cam (Gross), Jared (Scott) and Isaiah (Fuller) went through. It’s going to click, but be patient.

“Charlie was active tonight on both sides of the ball. He has tremendous potential; the sky’s the limit really.”

Hoehne has developed his game by following the lead of his fellow big men.

“I look at [OPRF junior Malachi] Mali as the guy who brings energy to our team,” Hoehne said. “Cam teaches me things and Jared leads the team in general.”

While OPRF fans are familiar with the “Big Four” of Scott, Gross, Fuller and Dashon Enoch, the Huskies’ role players and reserves made the difference against Downers Grove North. Along with Hoehne, guards Kelton Pickett and Sid Allgood provided playmaking, scoring and relentless ball pressure, while Malachi Ross, Phil Saleh and Mike Saleh brought high energy, defense and rebounding.

The Huskies’ depth wore down the Trojans.

“I do everything I can to help the team,” Allgood said. “Isaiah and Dashon play so hard and they are competitive. I try to bring that into my game.”

Pickett added, “Our defensive pressure was phenomenal. We practice as hard as we can so we’re ready for games.

“This is a very fun and important time of the year. We need to beat Hinsdale (Central) and pull out the conference title, which is our No. 1 goal. Hopefully, everything in the playoffs can build off that success.”

The first quarter against Downers Grove North was entertaining as the teams exchanged the lead six times. Hoene scored seven points as the Huskies seized a 19-14 lead after one.

Holding a 32-21 halftime lead, the Huskies kept momentum going their way by outscoring the Trojans 19-12 in the third quarter. The lead swelled to 58-39 midway through the fourth quarter when Maloney pulled his starters.

“I thought this was one of our more complete games of the year,” Maloney said. “Our bench was able to take a small lead and lengthen it out. An issue for us has been playing all four quarters with our foot on the pedal. We did that tonight against Downers.”

On Friday, OPRF defeated visiting York 57-45. Scott had 15 points and six rebounds, while Ross finished with 11 points and four steals. Gross chipped in eight points and four steals.

The Huskies (18-6, 9-1 West Suburban Silver) hosted Hinsdale Central on Tuesday, Feb. 14 (past deadline). The winner clinches the conference title.

In their first meeting (Jan. 21) this season, the Red Devils defeated OPRF 67-60 as the Huskies played short-handed with Scott on a recruiting trip. Hinsdale Central is led by senior point guard Jack Hoiberg, the son of Chicago Bulls head coach Fred Hoiberg.


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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...