By Brad Spencer
We all think we know a little something about everything. That’s different from actually knowing a little something about everything. But nevertheless, I’ll tell you what I know about the OPRF boys basketball team:
They are going to upset Proviso East in the Schaumburg Sectional Championship on March 9 if they read this column first.
Now I realize they won’t be pleased with the fact that I’m making this Joe Namath-like statement so early in the Class 4A state playoffs. The Huskies were due to take on Lyons Township last night (Feb. 28, after print deadline) in the first round of the regional and then there’s still the regional title game and the semifinal of the sectional against the Glenbard West Regional winner, but I’ll let head coach Matt Maloney worry about those games. I’ve got the game plan for the sectional championship, and here’s how it’s gonna go down:
The Huskies are to do exactly what they did in their 63-48 loss to the undefeated and highly-ranked Pirates in the West Suburban Conference title game last week, minus, of course, the 23 turnovers, the poor free-throw shooting, the 28-percent three-point shooting, and a couple of other miscues here and there.
Maloney and his assistants Dennis Kiezer and Quinn Peterson had the Huskies prepared to upset Proviso East on the Pirates’ home court in Maywood, but a third quarter meltdown washed that all away. It won’t happen again.
The 2-3 zone-like, match-up defense the Huskies threw at the Pirates in the first half was nearly impenetrable. It kept OPRF in the game. Add the eight extra free points the Huskies would have had if they had hit their mark from the charity stripe, and they lose 63-56. If two wide open missed lay-ups don’t go rolling precariously off the rim, the Huskies lose 63-60. Now add in the passes to a wide-open Alex Nesnidal not getting deflected and Nesnidal knocking down one, maybe two, maybe three treys and OPRF ends Proviso East’s undefeated streak at … ugh, what would that be by the sectional title game … 28?
Say something goes awry here in the rematch as it’s prone to do. We also tell big men TK Mattox and Virgil Allen to crash the boards like UFC contenders, so the Huskies out-rebound the Pirates better than the 35-33 mark of the first game. Allen gets so fired up, we see blood vessels bursting through his Buddy Holly-like specs.
Wait, I’m not done. We have Ka’Darryl Bell drive to the hoop more and draw fouls, ultimately disrupting the Pirates’ tempo. We make sure Gabe Levin just keeps on doing what he’s been doing the last seven out of eight games. The guy isn’t a Division I hopeful; he’s a legitimate future D-I player. Before the game, we look him straight in the eye and say, “Gabe, Coach K called. He said if you play your best tonight, he may consider you for a spot on his roster next season.”
We’re not really lying if, say, Coach Krause calls from some Division III school in Podunk, Iowa and we hang up on him.
Still not done yet. Jakari Cammon zips and weaves his way through defenders like he’s on the gridiron. “Remember to dribble,” we remind the two-sport stud in-between quarters.
Hey, isn’t this better than knowing nothing about everything?
Answer Book 2019
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