Orr’s Raekwon Drake and Westinghouse’s Coreyoun Rushin are probably the two most athletically gifted players in the city. So it is fitting that Wednesday’s Red-West clash was decided in a showdown at the rim between the two stars.
Rushin drove the baseline and Drake was guarding him. The Warriors trailed by one point with 30 seconds left to play.
“I knew he was going to try and dunk it,” Drake said. “He beat me and I watched his step and I took my step the same time he took his and I met him at the rim. I knew he was a really athletic player so I had to match his intensity.”
Drake blocked the dunk attempt. It was a fantastic display of athleticism and clutch defense.
“Rushin is a hell of a basketball player,” Orr coach Lou Adams said. “The only person that could have stopped that was [Drake].”
No. 8 Orr hung on to beat the Warriors 58-55.
“[Rushin] was aggressive going down at the end,” Westinghouse coach Bill Curry said. “Things didn’t bounce his way. Usually you think that when a kid is going to the rim hard he’s going to get rewarded. The ref didn’t see it that way.”
Drake led Orr (8-1, 3-1 Red-West) with 14 points and Rushin led Westinghouse (7-7, 1-3) with 19.
It was a rough evening for the Spartans. There bus never arrived to take them to the game. That set off a chain reaction of events that resulted in the team being over an hour late and Adams missing most of the first quarter.
“We had a long day,” Adams said. “The bus didn’t come. It was like I was in that movie Sully. I had to be the last one out of the gym, so I came to the game late. But we won and that’s the most important thing.”
Drake said the transportation issues resulted in a slow first half for the Spartans.
“It’s hard to describe how that changes the game, it’s bad,” Drake said. “We weren’t in our regular routine. So it takes awhile to make sure your mind is right and you have your focus.”
Orr’s Dannie Smith scored 13 points. He’s become an effective post presence for the Spartans.
“My first few years of high school I didn’t play basketball,” Smith said. “Now they are depending on me to help the team win so I’m just trying to do my part.”
Orr has won seven consecutive games. They have a crucial matchup against No. 23 North Lawndale on Friday.
“We’ve been playing some good basketball, team basketball,” Adams said. “Westinghouse is one of the better teams, but they have been losing close games to really good teams. They will turn it around, they are well-coached.”
The Warriors just haven’t been able to close out games against ranked teams.
“We are right there on the edge of being really, really good,” Curry said. “Instead we are 7-7 with six losses to ranked teams. Other than the one Uplift game where we laid an egg everything else was close and down to the wire.
“We got out-rebounded by 18. It’s hard to beat a good, solid team when that happens. That’s the stat that is the most telling.”