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“Big Three” allows Hinsdale Central to coast past Oak Park-River Forest

It is an adage of high school basketball that having three elite scorers is a dangerous weapon that few teams can counter.

Hinsdale Central’s Big Three demonstrated power inside and deadly accuracy from the perimeter as the visiting No. 7 Red Devils continued their impressive play in hammering Oak Park-River Forest 75-62 Saturday night in Oak Park.

The final score was misleading as Hinsdale Central (7-1, 3-0 West Suburban Silver) led by as many as 25 points.

The three players fused their games to complement the corresponding parts. Senior guard Jordan Bradshaw drilled four 3-pointers in scoring 19 points, and his early perimeter shooting spaced the floor and allowed post players Matt Rafferty and George Kiernan to operate inside.

The 6-8 Rafferty had another brilliant all-around game by scoring a game-high 22 points and adding 14 rebounds, four assists and four blocks. The 6-7 Kiernan scored 14 of his 16 points in the first half. The three players combined for 35 first half points as Hindale Central utilized separate runs of 9-0 and 18-4 for a commanding 37-15 lead at the break.

“Any time you have a guy [Bradshaw] who knocks down the 3-pointer like that, it is going to open up things for your post players,” Hinsdale Central coach Nick Latorre said. “I thought after that we started to get the ball inside and got some post touches, and that’s very difficult for other teams to stop.”

Oak Park-River Forest is playing primarily young post players and the Huskies hurt Hinsdale Central with their quickness and defensive activity in forcing 20 turnovers. Oak Park-River Forest struggled to match up with the size and length of the Red Devils’ interior players.

Dallis Flowers and junior guard Connor Fuller scored 17 points apiece for the Huskies (5-4, 1-2). Junior guard Breshawn Wilkerson also contributed 10 points.

“I thought we did a really good job of rebounding the ball,” Kiernan said. “We have a lot of bigs who can look up for the floor, and miss or make we love to run the floor and I thought we caught them off guard with how we were able to get up the floor.”

Kiernan showcased an impressive offensive game, drilling a 3-pointer from the right corner and also adding a three-point play in scoring 10 points in the second quarter. He provides a superb secondary option to Rafferty.

“Matt’s his own guy and I’m my own guy and together we’re really hard to stop,” he said.

Rafferty played quarterback on the football team. He has excellent vision and he expertly used his size to pass over the top of the Oak Park-River Forest defense to find an open Bradshaw or Kiernan. “We work through Raff,” Bradshaw said. “He’s our best guy and he is really good at finding shooters on the outside.

“Give all the credit to him, because he’s doing all the hard work, getting fouled but he is really good at kicking it out and we hit them.”

Rafferty said teams have to make adjustments to the Red Devils’ versatile attack. He is just locating the vulnerable spots, he said.

“If they are taking me away inside it leaves guys guys outside for open shots or drives to the basket,” Rafferty said. “They are working it through me and I am doing a good job distributing it back to them.”