PONTIAC, IL — Curie’s Marquise Walker burst onto the scene as a freshman when he helped lead St. Joseph to state in Class 3A.
He had a rocky season last year with the Chargers and transferred to Curie over the summer. Things are starting to come together nicely.
The junior has become the go-to-guy for the No. 2 Condors. He’s a talented ball-handler and scorer and Saturday in the semifinals of the Pontiac Holiday Tournament he showed his flair for dramatic, clutch shots.
Curie and Oak Park were tied at 39 with 12 seconds to play.
“[Walker] asked for it in the huddle, said he wanted the ball,” Curie coach Mike Oliver. “He had a hand in our last eight points, so when he asked for it we just told him to make sure it was the last shot. If he didn’t make it we wanted to go into overtime.”
Walker dribbled the clock down and then pounced with two seconds to play, creating space and then popping off a three-pointer that swished through to give the Condors a 42-39 win and a spot in the title game.
“I just told coach that if we wanted to win, give me the ball,” Walker said. “I felt like I could hit the shot anytime I wanted to. They gave me the ball, my teammates trusted me and my coaches trusted me. I call that ‘Quise-mode.’ You just have to get in your mode sometimes.”
Walker led Curie (10-1) with 13 points, he scored 10 in the fourth quarter. Oak Park led 20-14 at the half.
“We played horrible [in the first half], probably our worst basketball all year,” Walker said. “We did what we needed to do in the second half but the first half was horrific, it was a nightmare.”
Curie’s first lead of the game came on a three-point play by Walker with 2:04 left.
“We did a good job of wearing [Oak Park guard Isaiah Fuller] down,” Oliver said. “We stayed focused on him and got some energy from the bench guys and then Marquise took over in the the last three or four minutes.”
Treavon Martin had seven points and nine rebounds and Jayden Gasby added six points and eight rebounds for the Condors.
Chase Robinson led Oak Park (9-1) with 14 points and Fuller finished with 13 points.
Curie will face No. 1 Simeon in the title game on Saturday night.