Luis Acevedo missed a few open shots in the second half of Homewood-Flossmoor’s close game with South West Suburban Conference foe Bradley-Bourbonnais Friday, Jan. 7. Still, when he got his chance to put his team in front late in a close game, he didn’t hesitate.
“I was off the whole game but I never lost confidence in myself,” Acevedo said.
The senior guard corralled a loose ball, took a dribble and pushed through a runner in the lane to give the Vikings a 51-50 lead with 48 seconds left in overtime.
“I knew we needed a bucket and we needed it bad. I like to take over. I took the shot and it went in,” Acevedo said. “It felt good to see the ball go in.”
Robert Brazelton hit two free throws, and Acededo grabbed an important rebound to help seal H-F’s 53-50 win.
“(Acevedo) finally got one to drop,” coach Marc Condotti said. “Luis is a pretty consistent shooter but nothing really went down for him today. He made the one that meant the most and got the rebound that really gave us the chance to win the game.”
The Vikings (10-2) led 29-23 at halftime and extended that lead to as many as 11 points in the third quarter. The Boilermakers zone defense made things difficult in the second half, though.
When Homewood-Flossmoor did get some open looks, most didn’t go down and a chance to pull away was missed.
“(Bradley-Bourbonnais) is obviously a good team and I knew that. They’re big and that zone is difficult to play against. We were flat coming out against it,” Condotti said. “A lot of the season, those shots have gone in and tonight they didn’t. That’s just something that’s going to happen at some point in every season and you’ve just got to find a way to work through it. They found a way to work through it.”
Bradley-Bourbonnais guard Anthony Kemp went on a personal 8-0 run, including a pair of 3-pointers, in the third quarter to bring the Boilermakers back into the game.
Sophomore Lee Marks III spent much of the second half on the bench with four fouls for H-F. He still finished with 12 points.
“We needed him in there at the end of the game,” Condotti said. “He changes things when he’s in there, especially against a zone.”
Bradley-Bourbonnais (11-5) traveled to H-F after winning their last four. It’s led by 6-foot-10 center Owen Freeman, an Iowa University commit. Hawkeyes coach Fran McCaffery was at the game Friday to see his future player.
Freeman is nearly half a foot taller than any of the Vikings, but H-F held him to only nine points. The center did block and alter several Vikings shots, though.
“He didn’t kill us on the scoresheet, but he really hurt us because he takes up so much space in there,” Condotti said. “He’s always there. When somebody does catch and is threatening the basket, he’s right there. If you’re not shooting well against them, they’re pretty big on the inside and it’s not easy to work.”
Marks and senior Christian Meeks were still able to get some work done in the paint, though. Meeks paced the Vikings with 17 points.
“We were just crashing the rebounds, getting those open looks in that zone,” Marks said. “We formed our plan around (Freeman), trying to get him off his game and get him boxed out so he can’t get those second chance points.”
The victory extends H-F’s winning streak to nine games since opening the season 1-2. The Vikings played in the Steve Pappas Shootout against DePaul Prep on Saturday, Jan. 8.