Orr’s long-range shooting buries Uplift

SHARE Orr’s long-range shooting buries Uplift

Raekwon Drake (25) dunks on Uplift’s Chris Trimuel (1). Worsom Robinson/ For the Sun-Times.

Orr senior Alex Flute didn’t waste a single moment. The first time he touched the ball on Friday he let a three-pointer fly.

“[Orr coach Lou Adams] told me to just put shots up so that’s what I did,” Orr senior Alex Flute said.

Flute made the shot, the first in a downpour of long-range buckets for the Spartans, which knocked off visiting Uplift 69-61 in the Class 2A regional final.

Orr’s gym is one of the city’s bonafide home court advantages. The Spartans’ terrific three-point shooting has taken that to another level this season. Orr drained 9 of 15 three-pointers to win the matchup between two of the state’s top Class 2A teams.

“We were smart down the stretch,” Adams said. “We shot pretty well. They played hard, they wanted to win.”

Flute finished with 19 points and Dannie Smith scored 20 and grabbed 14 rebounds for Orr (18-5).

Smith, a 6-6 junior, has been one of the season’s breakout stars. His long arms make him effective in the post and he’s shown a knack for rebounding. He can also knock down a three pointer.

“Smith is probably one of the best players in this town,” Adams said.

Smith had never been academically eligible to play before this year. He didn’t expect to have such a massive impact on the team.

“No, not really,” Smith said. “I just wanted to come here and help the team win. I’ve lost a lot of weight so I’m in shape now.”

Junior Raekwon Drake added eight points and 14 rebounds and junior Brian Hernandez, one of the top bench players in the city, scored nine.

“[Smith] has come a long, long way,” Flute said. “He lost the weight, he’s been in the gym 24/7.”

Uplift, the top seed in the sectional, was without guard Markese Jacobs. The Kansas recruit is a nationally ranked sophomore.

“I didn’t really care if he played or not,” Smith said. “I just came out with the mindset that I wanted to win.”

Jacobs also sat out the Titans regional semifinal against Austin.

“It’s a discipline thing,” Uplift coach David Taylor said. “Some things went on at the end of the Farragut game that can’t go on in the team process. He had to serve a suspension.”

Demarius Jacobs, Markese’s older brother, scored 21 for the Titans.

“It’s hard to stick him, he can do a lot on the floor,” Smith said. “We knew if we slowed him down they wouldn’t have another weapon.”

Junior Toraze Dobbs led the way for Uplift (22-6) with 24 points and 15 rebounds.

“It’s a big task without [Markese Jacobs] but we felt confident,” Taylor said. “We thought we had a good game plan. It came apart in the third quarter.”

Orr closed third with a 9-0 run and never looked back.

The Spartans will face IC Prep in the Guerin Sectional semifinals on Tuesday.

“They are a good basketball team, well-coached,” Adams said. “If you are playing right now you are good. We need to come out and play well.”

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