Boys Basketball: H-F has luck on its side in win over Curie
By Patrick Z. McGavin For Sun-Times Media December 9, 2012 10:30PM
Homewood-Flossmoor's Tai Odiase | File photo
Updated: January 11, 2013 6:13AM
Basketball is a strange game. Good teams win on merit or by forcing the other team into mistakes. Sometimes it is unexplainable.
By most objective standards No. 2 Homewood-Flossmoor had every reason to fail against Curie. The Vikings closed the game by missing three consecutive 1-and-1 free-throw shots. They scored only two points in the final 5:33. But time and again Curie failed to take advantage.
Forward Marius Hill scored 14 points and grabbed 12 rebounds as the Vikings (7-0) remained unbeaten with a 42-40 victory over the Condors in the marquee game of the Team Rose Shootout at the Kroc Center on Sunday night.
“We got lucky at the end,” Homewood-Flossmoor coach Jim McLaughlin said.
Curie 6-foot-9 center Cliff Alexander watched his potential game-tying layup attempt dance around the rim and fall out. Curie forward Sharieff Medlock’s tip bounded off the front of the rim as time expired.
With Michigan State coach Tom Izzo looking on, Alexander nearly recorded a triple-double with nine points, 12 rebounds and nine blocked shots. It went for naught as the Condors (0-3) remained winless.
Alexander also missed two crucial free throws.
“I think a lot of that was fatigue because we don’t usually miss free throws,” he said.
The momentum changed late in the third quarter. Guard Rashaan Surles and Hill combined for eight points during a 10-1 run that turned a three-point Curie lead into a 40-34 Homewood-Flossmoor advantage.
“We saw that they were in not as good as conditioning as we were and we could take advantage of our press and get out on the break,” said Surles, who finished with 12 points. “I just fed off the energy and intensity of my teammates and I was able to get some baskets in transition and from good movement.”
Hill symbolized the Vikings’ grit and toughness.
“He’s been our leader since preseason conditioning,” said McLaughlin, whose first head coaching job was at Curie in 1994. “This is a very unique team, and I like the way we play and compete. Curie’s a great team, and Cliff Alexander is a monster back there and he’s a big reason why we struggled in our halfcourt game. Marius was giving up three or four inches but he just battled.”
“We doubled Alexander as soon as possible,” Hill said. “He’s so strong you have to fight him off the block and not let him get the ball inside.”
Hill scored inside for a 42-36 Vikings lead with just under three minutes to play.
Marcellus Davis scored 12 points for the Condors. Kamar Marshall hit a key three-pointer to pull the Condors to within one possession, but Curie missed 4-of-6 free throws in the final quarter.
“It’s a good win and we’ll use it as a learning experience moving into the next phase of our season,” McLaughlin said.