Considering the preseason hype regarding the Oak Park and River Forest High School boys basketball team, the Huskies 8-6 record could be regarded as disappointing. Despite losses to Riverside-Brookfield (70-50) and Fenwick (66-65), OPRF started off 6-2 this season. However, the Huskies have dropped four of their last six games.

While a very difficult schedule certainly has played a part in the team’s relatively pedestrian record, coach Matt Maloney wisely views the season as a marathon not a sprint. Additionally, the Huskies are 2-1 in the West Suburban Conference Silver Division and also own impressive victories against Morton and Orr. Most importantly, the team has the talent, experience and a proven track record of success to win its conference and fare well in the state playoffs.

In the meantime, the team’s annual trek to the Pontiac Holiday Tournament over Christmas break (Dec. 27-29) offered another mix bag of results. OPRF went 2-2 at the 88th edition of the prestigious tourney to finish sixth.

New Trier defeated the Huskies 50-33 in the fifth-place game on the last day at Pontiac. Anthony Roberts led OPRF with 12 points and four rebounds and Chase Robinson chipped in nine points; however, the Huskies made just 12 of 36 shots from the field.

New Trier 6-foot-9 center Ciaran Brayboy (Harvard commit) scored a game-high 17 points and teammate Sam Silverstein contributed 10 points.

The Huskies set up their matchup against New Trier by beating Benet 62-52 in a consolation round game. Sophomore forward Isaiah Barnes led the way with 24 points and six rebounds. Robinson (15 points) and Roberts (13 points) also reached double figures in scoring.

In the quarterfinals, OPRF looked good early against Bloom. The Huskies led 20-15 after one quarter against one of the best teams in the state before the Blazing Trojans rallied for a 66-53 victory. Robinson had a team-high 15 points with seniors Dashon Enoch and Charlie Hoehne scoring 13 and 10 points, respectively.

The Huskies held off West Aurora 60-56 in their tourney opener. OPRF played well inside, outscoring the Blackhawks 32-18 in the paint and 11-7 on second-chance points. Hoehne (18 points, 6 rebounds) and Roberts (16 points) led the victors. Axel Motola finished with 18 points and eight rebounds for West Aurora.

In the championship game, Curie beat Bloom 58-44 in a dream matchup between two previously undefeated teams. Juniors Ramean Hinton (20 points, 9 rebounds) and Justin Harmon (18 points) powered the Condors to victory. Curie (14-0) won Pontiac for the third time since 2013.

Simeon topped Bloomington 72-63 in the third-place game as the Wolverines’ Antonio Reeves (22 points), Kejuan Clements (19 points) and Sincere Callwood (14 points) provided plenty of offensive firepower.

As for the Huskies, they begin 2019 with four consecutive conference games (Glenbard West, Proviso West, York, Downers Grove North). Winning these games would go a long way for the Huskies if they hope to win their third straight West Suburban Conference Silver Division championship.  

OPRF opens the four-game stretch against Glenbard West on Friday, Jan. 4 in Glen Ellyn (7:30 p.m.). The Huskies return home to take on Proviso West Tuesday, Jan. 8 (7 p.m.).

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