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Boys Basketball: Homewood-Floosmoor ousts Lincoln-Way Central

Homewood-Flossmoor’s Tai Odiase rises for shot Wednesday vs. Lincoln-Way Central. | Jeff Vorva/For Sun-Times Media

Homewood-Flossmoor’s Tai Odiase rises for a shot Wednesday vs. Lincoln-Way Central. | Jeff Vorva/For Sun-Times Media

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Updated: April 7, 2014 1:20PM



When Homewood-Flossmoor was upset by Sandburg a year ago in a regional semifinal in Orland Park, it marked the end of a nine-year streak in which the Vikings won regional titles.

This season’s squad was hoping to return to form but recently was investigated by the IHSA for violations. There was a school of thought that the Vikings could suffer a similar fate as its girls basketball team, which was disqualified from postseason play and had all of its regular-season victories stripped.

On Feb. 25, the boys team was given probation by the IHSA and allowed the Vikings to get back to the business of trying to win postseason hardware.

That quest started Wednesday night, when the sixth-seeded Vikings beat 12th-seeded Lincoln-Way Central 57-37 in a Class 4A Lincoln-Way Central Regional semifinal in New Lenox. The Vikings (15-13) meet third-seeded Thornton (20-5) for the regional title at 7 p.m. Friday.

“It’s been a very interesting season for us, top to bottom this season,” Vikings coach Jim McLaughlin said “We went to overtime four times and lost a whole bunch of games by two or three points. Of course, we had the episode a couple of weeks ago. Our guys have survived all the drama and all the craziness that surrounded the school at this particular point in time.”

In the middle of the recent controversy, UIC-bound Tai Odiase suffered a near-broken nose and missed a couple of games. He wore a mask for two games but Wednesday was mask-free and scored 20 points, including two monster dunks in the final minute.

“I felt good,” Odiase said. “When I missed time with the nose injury, it was an all-time low but I knew I would get back on the court soon.”

H-F, which had an 11-4 first-quarter lead, saw Central tie the score at 17 with 4:22 left before halftime. The Knights had the momentum and their crowd was going wild, but they didn’t score for close to 10 minutes. The Vikings took a commanding 36-17 lead.

“We keyed on (Alex) Parks and (Brad) Bass,’’ McLaughlin said. “We played off the other guys and gave them our full attention.”

Dorian McCraney came off the bench and scored 13 points for the Vikings. Destin Barnes, who left the game in the first half with a bloody nose, came back in the second half and led the team with eight rebounds as the Vikings had a 31-16 advantage.

Bass had 13 points and Parks added nine.

Central finished 14-14, the first time the Knights had a .500 or better season since going 14-12 in 2003-04.



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