Orr survives major challenge from North Lawndale

SHARE Orr survives major challenge from North Lawndale
OB_CST_011818_901_73624555.jpg

Well beyond the arc, Orr’s Dannie Smith (23) hits a three late in the fourth quarter to give the Spartans the lead as they go on to defeat the Phoenix 57-53, January 17, 2018. Allen Cunningham / For the Sun-Times.

Orr has been in a load of high-profile games this season. The No. 3 Spartans have played teams from four different states and won the prestigious Proviso West Holiday Tournament.

None of that success seems to matter much when a team returns to conference play on the West Side. Orr ran into a major challenge at North Lawndale on Wednesday and barely survived, squeaking out a 57-53 win in the final minute.

“Traveling around is tough but conference play is so much tougher,” Orr senior Dannie Smith said. “These are the games that matter. We have to step up and fight and get these wins. We have to be tougher.”

Smith finished with 15 points and 12 rebounds. He hit the biggest shot of the game, a three-pointer with 1:29 to play that tied things at 51.

Orr (15-3, 6-0 Red-North/West) jumped out to a 15-1 lead in the first quarter and led 22-16 at the half. No. 18 North Lawndale (13-5, 3-3) got back into the game with a 13-0 run in the third quarter and led the entire fourth quarter until Smith’s shot.

“We let up and took them for granted after we had the huge lead in the first quarter,” Smith said. “We came out laid back and thought we would beat them easy. North Lawndale is good. They fought back and took the lead. We did an impressive job of coming back to get the win.”

The Spartans forced North Lawndale into three turnovers in the final 30 seconds. The Phoenix could have tied the game or taken the lead on each possession.

“We knew we had to get three stops in a row to win the game and that is what we did,” Smith said. “That is tough, West Side basketball, you have to win with defense. We hang our hats on that.”

Brian Hernandez scored 13 for Orr and Raekwon Drake added 11 points and five rebounds. Junior Tujautae Williams, who had a key basket in the final minute, added nine points.

“We are a defensive team but tonight we only played the first quarter,” Orr coach Lou Adams said. “Everyone is a little sick, but North Lawndale is a tough team.”

Demetrius Douglas led the Phoenix with 13 points and David Forrest added 11 points and seven rebounds. North Lawndale turned the ball over 28 times.

Clavonee Hillard was a complete force in the post. Hillard’s mother died over the holidays. He’s shown incredible heart over the past few weeks and gave Orr’s taller post players fits, finishing with 10 points and 15 rebounds.

Orr point guard Chase Adams shot 3 for 6 from the free throw line in the final minute to help seal the win. It was just barely good enough.

“I’ve been in that situation many times,” Adams said. “I didn’t feel too much pressure I just didn’t step up and knock them down. I split them all. I guess I got enough to get it done.”

The Latest
Hutson, a defenseman from Barrington, will be a borderline first-round pick in the draft July 7-8. Devine, a forward from Glencoe, and several other Chicagoland natives also will be selected.
Some White Sox might be slowing down, but the quizmaster knows only one speed
After the stepmom and her husband helped her in a custody fight, they’re hurt that the phone calls and visits have slowed.
How much insurance companies collected — and how much more they could have given back to drivers.