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Boys Basketball Romeoville Christmas Classic: Oak Forest advances to title game

Updated: January 30, 2014 6:54AM

Another fast start and superior height advantage carried Oak Forest to a 91-75 victory over Glenbard South in the small school final of the Romeoville Christmas Classic Saturday night in Romeoville.

The win puts the Bengals (9-2) in the overall tournament championship game against Oswego East (4-7) at 8 p.m. Monday. Glenbard South (5-5) will take on Shepard (5-6) in the third-place contest at 6:30 p.m. Monday.

“The last time we played in a championship game was 1987, so this is a big deal for us,” Oak Forest coach Matt Manzke said.

Oak Forest’s 6-foot-9 junior center Kyle Flanagan scored 34 points on 8 of 12 from the floor and 18 of 20 from the free-throw line. He scored 19 of those in the first half while Oak Forest built a 17-point halftime lead.

“We’ve been doing that for the last five or six games and we were focused on that today,” Flanagan said of the Bengals’ fast start. “I’m pretty excited about Monday. We’re all looking forward to it.”

“We’ve been coming out with a quick start,” Manzke said. “Tonight, we were moving the ball, sharing the ball and everybody got a piece of it. That’s when we’re at our best.”

A stingy defense and explosive offense staked Oak Forest to a 27-20 lead after a quarter. Oak Forest shot 59 percent (17-of-29) from the floor in taking a 47-31 lead at the half. The Bengals also made 11 of 12 from the free-throw line.

Flanagan scored his 20th and 21st points during the first minute of the third quarter. Glenbard South proceeded to sandwich Flanagan the rest of the second half.

Tyler Scott’s two free throws cut the Oak Forest lead to 57-47 with 2:39 left in the third quarter. Chaun Rickette’s three-pointer at the third quarter horn sliced the Bengal lead to 64-56 entering the fourth quarter.

Rickette’s driving basket cut the deficit to 66-62 with 5:50 left in the game. However, Glenbard South was whistled for a technical foul after a made three-pointer and a foul. It resulted in a 9-0 run that helped the Bengals reestablish command.

Three Raiders fouled out in the fourth quarter trying to slow Flanagan.

“He’s a presence down there and does a good job getting himself in good position,” Manzke said.

Tom Shute (20 points) and Jason Roland (11) also reached double digits for the winners. Rickette nearly matched Flanagan by scoring 33 points on 13 of 23 shooting.

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