Oak Park-River Forest survives Schaumburg
Carol Stream, 03/01/13--Oak Park River Forest's Virgil Allen scores a put-back basket as Schaumburg's Bobby Green defends. Oak Park River Forest High School played Schaumburg High School in a Class 4A regional final boys basketball game Friday evening. | Jon Langham~for Sun-Times Media
Updated: March 4, 2013 8:53PM
CAROL STREAM — The Schaumburg and Oak Park-River Forest boys basketball teams met for the third time in the last year, but in a reverse of last year’s playoff result, third-seeded OPRF managed to pull off a 32-30 overtime victory Friday night in the Class 4A Glenbard North Regional final.
The Huskies, who beat Schaumburg 50-40 in a nonconference game Dec. 8, won again this season with a late defensive effort and timely free throws to advance to the sectional semifinal for the second consecutive year.
OPRF won back-to-back regional titles for the first time since 1991-92 when coach Matt Maloney was a guard on the team. The Huskies (19-9) will play second-seeded and West Suburban Silver rival York (21-7) in the Schaumburg Sectional semifinal at 7:30 p.m. Wednesday. The two conference schools split their meetings earlier this season.
“We are two good teams,” OPRF senior guard Alex Gustafson said of the regional final. “It was a grind-it-out (game). There was very good defense and two teams that know each other really well.”
Mid-Suburban League champion Schaumburg (19-10), a No. 11 seed, knocked OPRF out of last year’s playoffs with a 64-60 win at home in the sectional semifinals.
Gustafson, who scored a team-high 13 points in the earlier win over Schaumburg, didn’t score his first points in the playoff game until he made two free throws in overtime with 9.2 seconds remaining to give OPRF a 32-28 lead. Schaumburg’s leading scorer, Kyle Bolger, answered with a layup with 4.5 seconds remaining.
After the Huskies missed two free throws with 3.6 to go, Bolger ended the game with a desperation half-court shot that bounced high off the top of the backboard.
“We didn’t do anything differently than we have done all year,” Schaumburg coach Matt Walsh said. “We knew it would be a low scoring game.”
The score was tied at 27 to end regulation. Carlos Reyes’ shot off an alley-oop pass from Bolger could have won the game to end the fourth quarter, but the shot fell short.
Bolger injured his left ankle with 6:07 left in the third quarter after chasing a loose ball. He tried to jump over the OPRF bench, but fell into a chair. He returned to start the fourth quarter.
Bolger scored 13 of his game-high 19 points in the second half. Schaumburg’s only other scorer in the second half was Ryan Kase (six points) with a third quarter 3-pointer. Bolger scored all five of Schaumburg’s points in the fourth quarter and its three points in OT. His layup was the Saxons’ only basket in overtime.
With two senior starters over 6-7, OPRF took advantage of Tacourrus Mattox and Virgil Allen’s wingspans to play an effective 1-3-1 zone for most of the game.
But the Huskies struggled with their own shooting. Leading scorer Erick Locke had a team-high 10 points on 3-of-13 shooting. At the half, Schaumburg led 17-13 after the two teams combined for 12 points in the second quarter.
“Both teams fought very hard in the overtime,” Mattox said. “The seniors wanted to win another regional.”