It’s rare to see a 6-8 center burst into the backcourt to steal the ball, but that’s exactly what Curie senior Treavon Martin pulled off on Thursday at IIT.
Martin’s steal and layup with 1:10 to play gave the Condors the lead for the first time in the second half and they held on to beat top-ranked Orr 50-49.
“I gambled, I went for it,” Martin said. “I thought my brother would get it if I didn’t.”
“I was just hoping he didn’t miss,” Curie junior Marquise Walker said. “People can slip or whatever. It was probably smart that he didn’t try to dunk it.”
Orr (1-1) had a chance to win at the end. The Spartans inbounded the ball with four seconds to play, but couldn’t get off a shot.
“When we saw the rankings we felt disrespected so it is always good to beat the number one team,” Curie senior Tyree Martin said.
Curie spent Thursday mired in transfer drama, wondering if guard Maurice Commander be eligible to play. Chicago Public Schools didn’t give a final ruling on Commander before the game started, so the Condors started the season without their star guard.
That put even more pressure on Walker’s Public League debut. The St. Joseph transfer was up to the task. He finished with 11 points, four rebounds and five assists.
“I loved it,” Walker said. “That was way different from the Catholic League. There was so much more intensity and it was way, way louder.”
“[Walker] did really well without Commander,” Tyree Martin said. “’m proud of how well he did, he got to the basket and opened up the offense for us.”
Treavon Martin finished with 13 points and five rebounds and Tyree Martin had seven points and five rebounds. The Condors’ length gave Orr fits.
“We don’t have great shooters like we did last year but we are going to try to get it done on the defensive end and with our length,” Curie coach Mike Oliver said. “We just have to do it as a team, we don’t have a great superstar. This is the first game, a lot of emotion was going around but we stuck with the game plan.”
Dannie Smith led Orr with 14 points and five rebounds. Raekwon Drake and Brian Hernandez each scored 10.
Oliver was impressed with his team’s effort without Commander.
“We’ve been practicing with him, he’s been with us all summer,” Oliver said. “It was definitely tough without him. But the senior stepped up.”
Orr led by 10 at the half and by five after three quarters. Curie (1-0) held the Spartans to just one basket in the final six minutes.
“We just stuck to the game plan and worked hard,” Walker said. “We know we are going to have to be one of the hardest working teams if we want to achieve our goals.”