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Boys Basketball: H-F survives test from Lockport

Updated: March 10, 2014 6:30AM



Goofing around before a game does not a great effort make.

That’s the lesson Homewood-Flossmoor’s Tai Odiase took out of Friday night’s uneven effort, a 43-40 victory over host Lockport that kept the Vikings in the thick of the SouthWest Suburban Blue race.

Odiase finished with 13 points and eight rebounds, while Davon Smith (10 points) was 6-for-6 from the free-throw line when it mattered most for the Vikings (11-7, 7-2).

John Campbell had 13 points and six rebounds and Ralph Blakney added 10 points for Lockport (10-11, 4-5).

The Vikings not only are chasing Bolingbrook (8-1) in the league race, they’re trying to keep up a tradition. H-F has won eight SouthWest Suburban titles in a row.

“It means a lot to us,” Odiase said. “Every game we want to come out to play hard. Today we didn’t show that, but that conference is a motivation to play hard every day.”

So why not Friday?

“I think we were goofing around a little too much before the game and came out thinking that Lockport was going to sit down and just let us take the game. I think that’s what contributed to some of the bad spots.”

Lockport never led but refused to let H-F get away behind some early three-point artistry by Blakney and Grover Anderson and a defensive aggressiveness inside that created havoc under the basket for the Vikings big men.

H-F finally gained some separation with an early third-period burst, its first and only three-pointer by Emmanuel Watts making it 26-17. It was an 11-point difference early in the fourth quarter when Lockport went to work, Campbell hitting twice in a row, Blakney draining a three and Deiondre Taylor scoring to leave it a 34-30 proposition with 5:10 showing.

The difference-maker down the stretch for H-F was Smith, who twice converted both ends of a one-and-one and added two more free throws.

“We spend a lot of time on the free-throw line at practice,” Smith said. “My coaches tell me to focus, try to get something in my head that I like, focus on that to get the crowd noise out, and then focus on the back of the rim and knock it down.”

Lockport, led by Campbell’s 11 fourth-quarter points, got as close as three with 1:16 remaining and had the ball with a chance to tie but missed on two consecutive three-point attempts, the latter a rushed effort from the corner after a rebound.

“Sometimes the three-point shot can get you in, but other times when you rush it or you’re thinking you’ve got to have one and miss it, it magnifies the fact that you could have gotten a different shot on that possession,” Porters coach Lawrence Thompson Jr. said.

“I’m just proud of the kids for battling back. We were very organized on offense and John Campbell did a nice job of receiving the passes and putting the ball in the basket.”



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