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.
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.