Boys Basketball: Chicago Christian trims Evergreen Park
By Steve Millar For Sun-Times Media December 3, 2013 9:12PM
Marcus Parker, of Chicago Christian, goes in for the score against Evergreen Park at Chicago Christian, Tuesday, December 3rd, 2013, in Palos Heights. | Gary Middendorf/For Sun-Times Media
Updated: January 5, 2014 6:33AM
After jumping to a 27-18 halftime lead, Chicago Christian made a mess for itself by committing eight third-quarter turnovers against the Evergreen Park defense.
The Mustangs outscored the Knights 24-13 in the third to take a 42-40 lead.
Chicago Christian sophomore center Anajuwon Spencer cleaned up the mess by cleaning up on the glass.
Spencer’s putback with 65 seconds left in the game was the difference as Chicago Christian held on for a 52-51 win in Palos Heights.
“I knew we had to get a shot in on that possession,” Spencer said. “I knew the win depended on that. I just boxed out and got the rebound, went back up and put it in.”
Quite a thrill for a varsity newcomer.
“When I found out I was going to be on varsity, I was ecstatic,” Spencer said. “When I found out I was going to start, I couldn’t stop talking about it.”
Two minutes earlier, Spencer (14 points, 5 rebounds) gave the Knights (3-2) a 50-49 lead when he corralled a ball that appeared to be heading out of bounds beyond the baseline and managed to convert an acrobatic layup.
Jacquet McClendon (7 rebounds), who scored all 13 of his points in the second half, answered for Evergreen Park (0-1) on its next possession before Spencer’s final score.
The Mustangs had four chances in the final 50 seconds, but Tobi Oladejo’s three-pointer and Jordan Brown’s putback were off the mark.
After Oladejo missed a runner on the Mustangs’ next possession, the ball went out of bounds with two-tenths of a second left, and the Knights broke up Evergreen Park’s attempt at a lob for a tip-in at the buzzer.
“We have a very young team and you see glimpses of how good our sophomores can be, then there are glimpses that give me gray hairs,” Chicago Christian coach Kevin Pittman said. “We showed our youth in the third quarter, but I’m proud of how we responded.”
Marcus Parker led Chicago Christian with 18 points. Blaine Wright added nine points and 10 rebounds.
Isaac Matthews led Evergreen Park with 14 points and eight rebounds.
The Mustangs closed the third quarter on a 16-5 run as McClendon scored off Knights turnovers four times.
“It was our first game and we’ve heard so much about the officiating,” Evergreen Park coach Pat Flannigan said. “We kind of felt it out in the first half and it seemed like a normal game. We changed things up and got going. We just didn’t shoot well.”