Boys Basketball: Hillcrest holds off Oak Forest
By Pat Disabato email@example.com February 14, 2014 10:48PM
Hillcrest's Taylor Adway (2) guarded by Oak Forests Jason Roland (14) shoots against Oak Forest in Oak Forest Friday, February, 14, 2014. | Jim Boyce/For Sun-Times Media
Updated: February 16, 2014 2:14AM
Hillcrest guard DeAngelo Isby woke up feeling a little different Friday morning.
“From the time I woke up I had a different mind-set and focus,” he said. “I was ready.”
That didn’t bode well for Oak Forest on Friday night.
Isby poured in a game-high 26 points to lead Hillcrest to a 63-57 win over host Oak Forest in a South Suburban Blue battle.
The victory was the Hawks’ 10th straight and moved them one step closer to securing their 26th consecutive conference championship. A win against either Tinley Park or T.F. South earns Hillcrest (16-6, 10-1) at least a share. A sweep assures the title outright. Oak Forest fell to 18-4, 8-2.
“I was locked in offensively and defensively,” said Isby, a 6-foot-5 junior guard. “It was one of my best all-around games of the season.”
Isby received considerable help from fellow junior Taylor Adway. With Isby converting buckets from all over the floor, the 6-8 Adway provided a menacing presence inside and finished with 19 points.
It was a seesaw battle until the early stages of the fourth quarter. With Hillcrest leading 45-40, Tom Shute (15 points) buried a three-pointer and Jason Roland (13) followed with a steal and layup to forge a tie with 5:45 remaining.
Isby, however, stepped up and canned consecutive baskets to give the Hawks a 49-45 advantage with 3:47 to go.
“Isby is a special player,” Hillcrest coach Don Houston said. “We’ve got to get him to play to his potential every game. He and Taylor can be two of the best players in the state.”
Oak Forest closed to within 49-48, but free throws by George McDaniel and Isby and a dunk by Adway stretched the Hawks’ lead to 55-48 with 1:48 left.
“It’s the same story every year with Hillcrest,” Oak Forest coach Matt Manzke said. “They wear you out with their pressure and depth. They keep coming at you.”
The Bengals led by as many as six points in the opening half. Kyle Flanagan (19 points) thrilled a partisan Oak Forest crowd by burying two midrange jumpers, and Shute and Roland followed with baskets to vault the Bengals to a 24-18 advantage.
The Hawks, however, used a 10-3 spurt to close the half, keyed by hoops from Bakari Hull, Isby and McDaniel for a 28-27 lead at intermission.
“We knew they were going to come out with all they had,” Adway said. “We took their best punch.”
A solid night from the free-throw line certainly helped Hillcrest, which converted 19-of-26 from the stripe.