Lucas Williamson’s revelatory senior season took another major step forward on Wednesday. The uncommitted forward scored 20 points to lead visiting No. 4 Young to a 62-53 win against No. 8 Orr.
The Spartans have one of the city’s real home court advantages, they’ve made their gym into a fortress.
“This is our first time losing at home in three years,” Orr coach Lou Adams said. “We hardly ever lose here.”
The Dolphins are playing so well right now that they pulled off the victory without point guard Xavier Castaneda (achilles injury) and with just a very limited contribution from Justin Boyd, who is working his way back from an ankle injury.
“It’s a big confidence booster to win without our starting point guard,” Young coach Tyrone Sluaghter said. “Our guys are doing it. [Williamson, Craig Beaudion and Javon Freeman] are carrying some heavy loads.”
Williamson basically scored points off of rebounds and drives to the basket during his first three years. This season he’s been showcasing a strong perimeter game, his three-point shot has improved.
“It was the EYBL this summer,” Williamson said. “Playing against that type of size and athleticism you have to change your game. You don’t see that at all in the city. You have athletic guys but they aren’t 6-10 like they are in the EYBL. The majority of my points came from three’s over the summer. I guess I just carried that confidence over to this year.”
Freeman is blossoming into one of the area’s star players. The junior transferred to Young after Seton closed last year. He’s acclimated to high-level Public League basketball extremely quickly. The 6-4 junior is the nephew of Marcus Liberty, a star player at King in the late 1980’s that was voted one of the IHSA’s 100 Legends.
Freeman contributed 10 points, three steals and five rebounds. His full contribution didn’t show on the stat sheet. His composure and purpose with the ball helped the Dolphins deal with and exploit Orr’s pressure defense.
“[Freeman] is such a calming force for us when he has the ball,” Slaughter said. “He allows us to slow things down, he can get to different places on the floor.”
Senior Craig Beaudion made a major impact with 11 points and eight rebounds. He started his career at Foreman, where he was a big-time scorer.
“[Slaughter] and I had a talk during school today,” Beaudion said. “He said I needed to be the old Foreman Craig. I kept that in my head today. I knew it was a big conference game so I had that mentality, to be the old Foreman Craig, to be more aggressive.”
Young (12-4, 5-0 Red-West) led by seven points after three quarters and the Spartans (10-3, 4-2) were never able to make a run to tighten things up.
“We lost to St. Patrick on Monday, had a bad practice yesterday,” Adams said. “We came out with no energy. They got every 50/50 ball, that was the difference in the game.”
Brian Hernandez led Orr with 14 points. Raekwon Drake had 13 points, five rebounds and five blocked shots. Junior Dannie Smith added nine points and seven rebounds for the Spartans.