The Oak Park and River Forest High School girls basketball team entered its West Suburban Conference Silver Division home matchup against Lyons Township High School on Jan. 7 feeling confident about making a strong push in the second half of the season.
Unfortunately for the Huskies, the Lions had other ideas, scoring the first 16 points of the game en route to a decisive 53-21 victory.
“We didn’t match their intensity to start the game,” said OPRF coach Carlton Rosemond. “We didn’t come out prepared, and that’s on me. We also missed a lot of open shots early, and when you do that and then can’t get stops, you find yourself in a hole.”
LTHS senior guard Izzy Lee had a dominant game with 18 points and 15 rebounds. Rosemond knew OPRF would have its work cut out in an effort to contain her.
“One of the things I expressed to my players was that they had to battle her,” Rosemond said. “We let her get a feel for the game in the beginning and when you let a player with her caliber get going, she’s going to get hot, and she stayed hot.”
Senior Martha Lipic led OPRF (5-10) in scoring against LTHS with six points, while senior Kennedy Jones and junior Libby Majka each added four points. The Huskies were outrebounded 46-33 and committed 20 turnovers.
“We got killed on rebounds. They got all the hustle plays,” Rosemond said. “Our girls have to learn how to do that. They have to ultimately come together and say, ‘We’re going to put ourselves in a position where we want to fight as hard as the other team is fighting against us.’”
On Jan. 8, OPRF put forth a much better showing, but lost at Glenbard West 33-30. Rosemond feels the Huskies will give themselves a better chance of competing if they can get off to faster starts.
“Hopefully we can learn from [LTHS] and don’t get off to slow starts. That seems to be our MO,” he said. “We’re still battling and working, and we’re going to keep pushing.”
OPRF started a stretch of four consecutive home conference games Jan. 11 (post-deadline) with Hinsdale Central. The Huskies will also host York (Jan. 13), Glenbard West (Jan. 15) and Downers Grove North (Jan. 18) over the next week.