The Oak Park and River Forest High School boys basketball program has established criteria for a successful season. Former OPRF hoops coach Al Allen set five goals which have not changed under current head coach Matt Maloney.
The goals are:
- finish in top five of the Pontiac Holiday Tournament
- win West Suburban Conference Silver Division
- win 20 or more games
- earn top-four seed in the sectional
- win regional title
OPRF accomplished the first goal thanks to its fourth-place finish at Pontiac. Recently, the next three goals were accomplished.
Additionally, the Huskies (21-5, 12-0) made history over the weekend as the first squad in program history since the 14-team West Suburban Conference was created to go undefeated in league games.
OPRF earned that distinction with a 50-36 win against Proviso West on Feb. 17.
The Huskies clinched the West Suburban Silver with a 78-46 win against Hinsdale Central at the OPRF Fieldhouse on Feb. 13. The victory marked back-to-back conference titles for OPRF.
“Winning back-to-back conference championships puts the seniors and some of the juniors in an elite class of Huskies,” Maloney said. “Our conference is one of the strongest in the area. To win it once is quite an accomplishment, but to win it two years in a row is special. And winning the title outright on Senior Night was a perfect way to honor our seniors.”
Senior Isaiah Fuller had a game-high 21 points for OPRF.
“It’s a good feeling,” Fuller said. “It’s also a good win that gives us momentum and is sure to help our (sectional) seeding.”
Other seniors expressed joy regarding their impressive achievement.
“Back-to-back conference champions sounds great,” Malachi Ross said. “We haven’t done that in a while. I’m happy I was able to do it with these guys in my senior year. And doing so on Senior Night is fun.”
“It’s a great achievement,” added Phil Saleh. “Not many teams get to do it, but it doesn’t stop now. We’re excited.”
Seniors Fuller, Ross, Saleh, Sid Allgood, and Abram Ross (Malachi’s twin brother) started the game for OPRF and all played effectively – as did the other seniors who got in the game. Malachi Ross had 10 points and eight rebounds, Allgood seven points, and Saleh four points. Martinez Lenyoun (6 points, 6 rebounds) and Abram Ross (8 steals) also contributed for the victors.
Malachi Ross was ecstatic about his brother’s performance.
“It was good to see Abram start with us,” he said. “He put a lot of work in during practice. Coach noticed that and gave him a start. It was great playing with him.”
On Feb. 15, OPRF checked off goals #3 and #4 on the list – securing a top-four seed in the sectional and gaining its 20th win. The Huskies are the third seed in the Riverside-Brookfield Sectional that starts Feb. 26. On the court, OPRF defeated York 62-51 behind 20 points from Dashon Enoch and 15 points from Chase Robinson.