With three schools ranked in the Chicago Sun-Times Top 25 boys basketball poll, the West Suburban Conference’s Silver Division may be the best it’s ever been this season.
That’s a problem for young, developing teams like Oak Park and River Forest High School. The Huskies got a tough reminder of the league’s strength in a 78-46 home loss to Downers Grove North on Jan. 27.
“They’ve been playing together for a couple of years. They’ve got good chemistry,” said OPRF coach Phil Gary.
The Trojans (20-3, 5-2) put the Huskies (8-12, 2-4) in an early hole, scoring the game’s first 11 points.
“We spotted them 11 points right out the gate but then regrouped,” Gary said. “Being down [39-28] at halftime was OK, but had a couple of more possessions gone our way, it could’ve been closer.”
DGN pulled away in the second half primarily thanks to hot shooting by Maxwell Haack, who scored 13 of his game-high 27 points in the third quarter. Haack finished with seven 3-pointers.
“They got hot,” Gary said. “[Haack] is a great shooter. We were keyed in on [Jack Stanton], and when you do that, somebody else usually gets you. He had a great game.”
Stanton finished with 16 points and Jacob Bozeman added 14 for the Trojans, who made 13 threes on the evening.
On a bright note, OPRF regained the services of junior guard Max Johnson, who’s missed the past few weeks due to injury. He ended the first quarter with a half-court buzzer-beating 3-pointer and finished the night with a team-high 15 points.
“It was good to have Max back,” Gary said.
Another positive for the Huskies was the play of sophomore Alex Gossett, who had 14 points, including three 3-pointers.
“We’re a young team, and it’s always good to see our young guys continue to grow and get better,” said Gary. “Alex is one of them.”
Unfortunately, while OPRF got Johnson back, his backcourt mate, Christian Marshall, is now injured.
“Christian is going to be out for a couple of weeks and hopefully we can get him back by playoff time,” Gary said.
On Jan. 28, the Huskies were better at Glenbard West. Johnson scored 15 points, Justin Bowen 11 and Mehki Austin 10. Still, their efforts weren’t enough as the defending state champion Hilltoppers prevailed 64-52.