The Oak Park and River Forest High School boys basketball team hoped to emerge from the Pontiac Holiday Tournament, held from Dec. 28-30, with positive momentum heading into the New Year.

Mission accomplished. 

After dropping the opener to Benet Academy 78-56 on Dec. 28 to extend their losing streak to five, the Huskies (6-7) ran off three consecutive victories to claim the consolation championship.

“I thought they showed a lot of fight,” said OPRF coach Phil Gary. “After losing that first game, they could’ve easily packed it up. But we battled back.”

In the loss to Benet, Christian Marshall had 16 points, Alex Vincent 11 points and Justin Bowen 10 points.

On Dec. 29, the Huskies snapped their skid with a 66-59 victory over Plainfield North. Bowen erupted for 25 points and grabbed 12 rebounds, with Vincent adding 12 points and five rebounds for OPRF, which outscored the Tigers 53-39 over the final three quarters.

That evening, the Huskies pulled off what likely will go down as one of the best rallies in program history. Trailing Peoria Manual by 14 entering the final quarter, OPRF erupted for 27 points, and a basket by Bowen with 0.9 seconds left forced overtime. 

Rodney Murphy’s basket with 1:14 remaining in OT was decisive in a 72-70 victory. Marshall had 24 points, Jaziah Harper 13 points, Bowen 12 points and six rebounds, and Murphy eight points and seven rebounds.

In the consolation title game Dec. 30, the Huskies outscored West Aurora 38-22 in the second half to pull away for a 71-52 victory. Vincent had 16 points and eight rebounds, Marshall 14 points, Murphy 12 points and nine rebounds, and Bowen nine points and 10 rebounds.

With the Huskies having played just one game within the West Suburban Conference’s Silver Division, there’s plenty of time for them to become a factor in the title race.

“A few teams have already beaten each other up in conference, which makes it easier for us,” said Gary.

Fenwick 6th at Proviso West Tourney

Fenwick’s Damion Porter Jr. lays in a basket during a recent game against Bulls Prep. The sophomore’s layup with :20 left gave the Friars a 51-50 victory over TF North Dec. 28 at the Proviso West Holiday Tournament.| Carol Dunning/Contributor

Fenwick High School’s boys basketball team went 2-2 and finished in sixth place at the Proviso West Holiday Tournament held Dec. 26-29.

The Friars (9-7) lost to Kenwood 70-44 in the quarterfinals Dec. 27. Darshan Thomas had 16 points and five rebounds while Ty Macariola added 12 points and Damion Porter Jr. 11.

The next day, Porter’s layup with 20 seconds left gave the Friars a 51-50 victory over Thornton Fractional North. Thomas had 21 points and 11 rebounds and Macariola 13 points.

“That was a great team effort,” Fenwick coach Tony Young said. “Everybody did something big that game.”

On Dec. 29, Fenwick lost to Hammond (Indiana) Central 56-42 in the fifth-place game. Porter had a team-high 14 points and five rebounds while Macariola added nine points.

The Friars played the last two games without J.T. Pettigrew due to knee tendinitis. Sophomore Nate Marshall hasn’t played yet this year after suffering an injury in the final week of the football season. However, Young expects both players back soon.

“When we have a chance to put it all together by the end of the year, I’ll be excited,” he said. “We want to constantly get better so when the state tournament gets here, we’re in a position to be a threat to make a run.”

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