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Boys Basketball: Hillcrest not lacking for motivation

George McDaniel Hillcrest squeezes past Kaneldefense for layup. | Patrick Gleason/For Sun-Times Media

George McDaniel of Hillcrest squeezes past Kaneland defense for a layup. | Patrick Gleason/For Sun-Times Media

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Updated: March 21, 2014 2:57PM



It’s been said teenagers no longer read newspapers.

Hillcrest’s DeAngelo Isby refuted that analysis after the Hawks’ 63-57 win Friday night over Oak Forest.

“The Southtown(Star) stories,” Isby said of the Hawks looking to make a statement vs. Oak Forest. “All the newspapers saying Oak Forest is winning conference. We barely even make the newspapers. We’ve won 10 in a row and are starting to make some noise.”

The victory over Oak Forest left the Hawks just one win away from securing at least a share of the program’s 26th consecutive conference championship.

The streak, as much as the players’ perceived lack of attention by local media, is a major source of motivation.

“We’re not going to be the team to stop the streak,” Isby said. “That’s not something we want. It’s a pride thing.”

Curta stepping up

Sometimes a negative situation can be turned into a positive.

Case in point, Eisenhower.

With five players recently out for either academic reasons or injuries, coach Mike Curta called on his son, Vinny, to step up. The junior has more than delivered. The Cards have won seven of their last eight games, with Curta scoring at least 20 points in each.

“I told him that he has to score for us,” Curta said. “If he doesn’t score, with a lot of our top scorers out, we have no chance. It forced him to be aggressive. He’s getting to the free-throw line more. He’s looking for his shot more.”

Vinny Curta scored a team-high 20 points during a 94-73 win Tuesday over Shepard. Khalil Washington added 19 and Calviontae Washington, fresh off a record-setting 53-point performance Friday vs. Oak Lawn, finished with 17.

Eisenhower, which was 5-14 at one point, is 12-15.

“The kids have been playing better and with more confidence,” Mike Curta said. “Now we’ve tasted some success, the kids are believing in themselves and the system. We’re a much different team now than we were just a few weeks ago.”

Player of the Week

DeAngelo Isby, of Hillcrest, is the SouthtownStar Boys Basketball Player of the Week.

The 6-foot-5 junior recorded 26 points, six rebounds, five assists and four steals during a victory over Oak Forest, and had 20 points, 10 rebounds, three assists and two blocks Saturday in a win over Kaneland.



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