Senior Justin Mullins went on an offensive tear for the Oak Park and River Forest High School boys basketball team Jan. 7 with 11 points in the third quarter at Lyons Township.

Unfortunately for the Huskies, those were the only points they scored that period.

Lyons Township earned the 74-60 West Suburban Conference Silver Division victory by taking control in the second half after OPRF (7-5, 1-1 in Silver) trimmed a 35-26 deficit to 38-34 by halftime.

“I just tried to bring it towards scoring, all of my energy into scoring, so we could get back into the game,” Mullins said.

“We just came out kind of slow [in the second half]. We started getting beat on defense and after that they just got a lot of energy and it just went off from there.”

Mullins finished with 21 points. Sam Lewis had 15 with an eight-point fourth quarter and John Vincent added six points with 10 rebounds.

Justin Mullins (20) paced OPRF with 21 points — 11 of them in the third quarter — against Lyons Township, but it wasn’t enough to overcome the Lions in LaGrange on Jan. 7.

On its first three possessions of the third quarter, Lyons Township (12-3, 4-1) used Will Carroll’s steal and coast-to-coast layup, Nik Polonowski’s three and a driving layup by Akron recruit Tavari Johnson (25 points, 8 assists) for a 45-34 lead.

“We were pumped up [at halftime]. I don’t know what really happened. They got those first couple of buckets and it got out of control from there,” Mullins said.

Mullins’ first third-quarter points came with 5:07 left in the period. LT’s 13-3 run to start the fourth quarter opened a 68-48 advantage.

“We didn’t get enough stops, especially in that third quarter. In the second quarter, the last three-and-a-half, four minutes, we got stops, got into transition. We were able to run,” OPRF coach Phil Gary said.

“We were feeling fine, all good [at halftime]. We just came out very lethargic in the third quarter. Teams are usually better when they play at home and make all of their shots. And they did a really good job of making all of their shots.”

That game against LT began OPRF’s three-game stretch of key Silver games. The Huskies were at Hinsdale Central on Jan. 11 and are home Jan. 14 against top-rated and undefeated Glenbard West (16-0, 3-0), which beat LT for the second time this season 60-28 on Dec. 31 to win York’s Jack Tosh Holiday Classic.

Like their games at York, the Lions came out in a man-to-man defense against OPRF and alternated with zone defenses as the game progressed. OPRF led 20-12 in rebounds at halftime with eight by Vincent that included three putback baskets.

“We do have some tough games so we definitely have to show up for those,” Mullins said.

Join the discussion on social media!