Lincoln Park shocked the city when it beat Young late last month. Then the No. 10 Lions had a successful run over the holidays at the Hinsdale Central tournament that proved it wasn’t a fluke.
Lincoln Park showed the talent and backbone that could lead to a Red-North/West title on Wednesday at Collins. The upstarts made another big statement, beating No. 17 North Lawndale 65-62.
The Lions (12-4, 4-1) led by five with two minutes to play. North Lawndale closed strong but Rayion Williams’ game-tying three-point attempt at the buzzer missed.
Lincoln Park’s two best players, senior Terrence Shannon and junior Chris Roberts, didn’t play much last season. Shannon was out with a knee injury for most of the year and Roberts sat on the bench at Kenwood.
Both players are flourishing now. Shannon had 15 points, 12 rebounds and six blocks.
“I have a lot of pressure on me this season, trying to be a better leader for the team,” Shannon said. “After we got ranked No. 10 we started slacking a little bit, but now we are starting to come back together and play well as a team.”
Shannon, a 6-6 athletic lefty, has been one of this season’s breakout stars. Lincoln Park coach Pat Gordon says he is a definite Division I talent.
“He’s a mid-major player, definitely Division I,” Gordon said. “He plays point guard for us. He’s a tall lefty point guard with a nice stroke that blocks shots. His dad has had a long career overseas.”
Roberts, a junior guard with major speed, led the Lions with 19 points and eight rebounds. North Lawndale’s defensive intensity, especially at home, can be stifling for even longtime Red-West players. It didn’t seem to bother Roberts at all.
“I tried not to let it get to my head and to make sure we kept the ball moving around,” Roberts said. “When I got an open look I just took it. My role is basically to score, that is what coach says.”
Senior Bill Flowers added 12 points and junior Michael Robinson had eight points and five rebounds for Lincoln Park.
The Lions didn’t have the look of a new group just finding its footing. They looked poised and battle-hardened in the fourth quarter.
“We’ve been on the road a lot,” Shannon said. “This just shows how we’ve come together as a team and how much better we’ve gotten.”
Senior leaper David Forrest led North Lawndale (12-3, 2-2) with 20 points and seven rebounds. Junior Demetrius Douglas scored 13 and Clavonne Hillard added nine points.
Shannon, Roberts and Gordon all acknowledged that the team had a bit of difficulty dealing with its high ranking initially. Lincoln Park is not a traditional basketball power.
“We let it get to our heads a little bit,” Roberts said. “But we had a few tough practices the past few days and that got us back to where we need to be.”
“It was easy to get their heads back straight,” Gordon said. “Nobody has a [scholarship] offer. If that isn’t a motivator I don’t know what is. Everyone is striving to get that.”