Issac Stanback’s abilities are well known throughout the south suburbs. The 6-4 junior is a fabulous athlete, a great rebounder that plays above the rim. He played on Hillcrest’s varsity his freshman and sophomore years and transferred to Homewood-Flossmoor this season.
The Vikings needed Stanback to play out on the perimeter at the Chicago Heights Classic over Thanksgiving week. That isn’t a natural part of his game yet. Some thought that also meant he wasn’t fitting in with his new team, but that clearly is not the case.
Friday in Frankfort Stanback was back in the post and he created all kinds of problems for No. 17 Lincoln-Way East. Homewood-Flossmoor knocked off the Griffins 78-63, but the game wasn’t really that close.
“[Stanback] is doing really well, he’s fit in,” Condotti said. “Due to circumstances we had him playing out on the perimeter that week, but once we got a chance to get him back where he belonged in the post he’s been a lot more successful. He’s happy, working hard and growing as a basketball player.”
Stanback finished with 23 points and four rebounds. Sophomore RJ Ogom, a transfer from Marian Catholic, added 20 points.
Lincoln-Way East managed just three baskets in the first half and trailed 45-13.
“Our coach prepared us well enough, had us looking at their plays,” Homewood-Flossmoor junior Maurion Scott said. “The key was to stay on Sam Shafer and get him out of the game. When that happened we just had it in our hands.”
Shafer, a Southern Illinois recruit, scored 10 points and had six rebounds. He was 2 for 12 from the field.
“We were always one step ahead of them, we wanted it more than them it seemed,” Stanback said.”
The Griffins drained 11 three-pointers in the second half to improve the final margin but the outcome was never in doubt.
“They just played tonight,” Condotti said. “I told the team at halftime that we went over a lot of stuff in practice but it didn’t really matter because they played so dang hard and ran them off the floor.”
Scott had 11 points and five rebounds and sophomore Kyndall Davis added eight points and nine rebounds. Senior Sean Jones had 12 points and ten boards.
H-F lost to Marian Catholic in the Chicago Heights Classic title game but has knocked off Bloom and Lincoln-Way Central recently.
“We were playing like individuals at first, everyone coming in and trying to make a name for themselves,” Jones said. “We just started to play together. We can surprise a lot of people and make it pretty far this season. “
Condotti said the Vikings had their best week of practice this week. There isn’t a powerhouse team in the south suburbs this season and H-F has as much talent as anyone.
“I think I’ll know more where we stand in a month,” Condotti said. “We played really well today, I’m not going to discount that, but we have a lot of work to do. There is a very high ceiling on this team. We have a lot of potential, but we are young.”
Senior Brandon Petkoff led the Griffins with 20 points. Lincoln-Way East is not a traditional basketball power, but had high expectations for this season. It’s been a rough week. The Griffins lost to a young Bloom team on Tuesday.
They flashed plenty of promise the first week of the season though, beating Brother Rice, Crete-Monee and Joliet West.
“Shafer is the key,” Scott said. “Everything is about him and about their screens. We worked on it all week, switching and hedging and making sure he was contained.”