Hinsdale Central knocks off DePaul Prep

 
 
Updated 12/24/2021 11:47 AM

In a matter of two days, Hinsdale Central's boys basketball team managed to change its recipe for winning.

After making 13 3-pointers and just seven two-point baskets in a win over St. Charles East on Wednesday, the Red Devils relied on their free-throw shooting and defense to pull out a win.

 

In each case, the Red Devils were sparked by a collective effort on both ends to win their first two games of the Hinsdale Central Holiday Classic.

In Thursday's 45-44 victory over DePaul Prep, the Red Devils gained a signature victory by getting 21 points from Benjamin Oosterbaan and 11 from Jake Quast. The Red Devils (7-4) advanced to Tuesday's 8:30 p.m. semifinal against undefeated Oswego East. It's a rematch of a game played at Thanksgiving won by Oswego East.

DePaul Prep, which shot 3-for-13 on 3-pointers and 7-for-17 on free throws, was led by Trevon Thomas (10 points) and Jaylan McElroy (8 points, 8 rebounds)

Hinsdale Central knocked the Rams (10-1) from the undefeated ranks by shooting 12-for-16 on free throws, with Evan Phillips making all four of his attempts in the final minute. The Red Devils shot just 3-of-12 on 3-pointers, but darted to the locker room after the final buzzer to celebrate the big win.

"I thought it was a rock fight and physical," Hinsdale Central coach Nick LaTorre said. "These kids are just so competitive and so physical and tough. I was proud of our guys for hanging in there. It was a fun game to be involved in."

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The Red Devils struggled hitting 3-pointers, making just one -- an Oosterbaan deep 3 to seize a 29-27 lead midway through the third quarter -- in an 18-plus minute span that covered three quarters.

LaTorre said he was proud of how his players battled in the tight game against a quality opponent. The Rams turned the ball over on three straight possessions early in the fourth to allow the Red Devils to gain control. Billy Cernugel had a key block with two minutes left and Emerson Eck, who was held to 7 points, had a vital steal with 1:39 left. The Red Devils iced the game by hitting 6 free throws in the final 43.2 seconds.

"St. Charles East played a lot of zone yesterday, so that was what they were giving us," LaTorre said. "They did a good job covering Emerson Eck. He hit a lot of 3-pointers last night. It was just a really good team win. We had some foul trouble in the post, but we hung in there. It was good to come out with this one."

The Red Devils and Rams exchanged leads several times in the first half to forecast a close game, with Oosterbaan scoring on a lay-in with five seconds left to give Hinsdale Central a 26-25 lead at halftime. Oosterbaan supplied most of the scoring for the Red Devils, tallying 12 first-half points while Quast had 9 points.

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