After Evergreen Park allowed a nine-point lead slip away over the final 2 minutes, 11 seconds of regulation in last week’s game against Oak Lawn, the Mustangs had to regroup as the contest went to overtime.
“We just had to keep our heads, focus on the game and play defense,” Evergreen park senior forward Bobby Green said. “We really wanted this win.”
Green came through in the clutch to make sure the host Mustangs got the victory, scoring inside with 19 seconds left in overtime to lift Evergreen Park to a 61-59 South Suburban Red win.
Isaac Blalock scored 14 points while Rasheed Dyson finished with 12 points and 12 rebounds to lead the Mustangs (9-13, 2-6), which captured the Scaduto Series trophy.
Sami Osmani had 24 points and eight rebounds, and Trey Ward scored 20 points for Oak Lawn (12-10, 2-7).
Green, who finished with nine points, was left wide open underneath the basket and converted to put the Mustangs up for good.
“I saw a wide-open lane and I just went for it,” Green said. “It means a lot to me to step up like that. I try to lead the team and show them how it’s done.”
Oak Lawn had two good looks in the final seconds but Amjed Alramli’s 3-pointer was off the mark and Kevin Swatek’s putback at the buzzer rimmed out.
The Spartans fought back to send the game to overtime, tying it 52-52 on Swatek’s layup with 24 seconds to go. Oak Lawn missed Osmani in the extra period as he fouled out with 44 seconds left in regulation.
“I was proud of our guys,” Oak Lawn coach Jason Rhodes said. “We were without two starters due to disciplinary issues. A lot of guys that don’t typically get a lot of minutes for us stepped in and played well.
“We executed our end-of-game packages really well. We got the layup to tie it in regulation and we got two great looks at the end of overtime that just didn’t go down for us.”
Karlton Carpenter scored four big points in overtime for Evergreen Park, while Dyson knocked down a 3-pointer.
After Ward scored on a drive to tie it for Oak Lawn 59-59 with 27 seconds left, Green had the final response.
“I kept asking in timeouts, ‘Who wants to be the guy? Who wants to step up?’” Evergreen Park coach Pat Flannigan said. “We had a lot of juniors out there in big moments, and a couple of them really stepped up.
“I think it was the best game Bobby Green’s had.”
The rivals came together for a good cause, holding a shoe drive at the game for Share Your Soles, a Chicago-based charity that collects gently-used shoes for those in need.
Flannigan and Rhodes both coached barefoot to raise awareness for the cause, and Flannigan said over 100 shoes were collected along with monetary donations.
“It was a little unusual being out there without shoes, but we were just trying to raise awareness,” Rhodes said. “A lot of people probably don’t know about the charity, the things they do and the need for shoes in underprivileged areas.”
Blalock said he donated five pairs of shoes.
“We’re very blessed and gifted with shoes and we want to help people who are less fortunate,” Blalock said.