Three Orr players made the Sun-Times All-City team. It’s possible that five or six of the Spartans seniors could play Division I basketball next year. Several very talented players were left out. Jealousy about individual accolades can tear some teams apart.
That’s never been the case with Orr’s seniors. Their unselfish play and attitudes were the key ingredient in last season’s Class 2A state championship.
Wednesday in Elmhurst those qualities saved Orr’s season. The All-City players—Dannie Smith, Raekwon Drake and Chase Adams—were struggling. So the unheralded duo of Brian Hernandez and Ty Mosely stepped up and led the Spartans to a 75-66 overtime win against Uplift in the Class 2A Timothy Christian sectional semifinals.
“That is the best part about Orr basketball,” Chase Adams said. “We are brothers that hold each other accountable and pick each other up when we are down. Someone will get going, we have six seniors that will all play college basketball.”
Orr coach Lou Adams was not at the game. He was attending his son’s senior night. Lou Adams Jr. plays basketball at Wyoming.
Maybe it was Lou Adams’ absence or a couple of early traveling calls that seemed to rattle Smith and Drake, but Uplift jumped out to a 24-6 lead.
“We should never have come out like that in the first half,” Mosely said. “We were comfortable because we had beaten them by so much the first time. We can’t take teams for granted like that anymore.”
Hernandez brought the Spartans back to life right away in the third quarter, opening play with consecutive three-pointers. He finished with 23 points and was 7-for-9 from three-point range.
“[Lou Adams] always says keep your head and stay confident so that’s what we did,” Hernandez said. “No hero ball, just get one stop at a time and we will get the win.”
Orr (26-4) led 65-63 with three minutes to play in overtime when Uplift’s best player, Kansas recruit Markese Jacobs, fouled out. The Titans never mounted a threat after that.
“They hit us in the mouth in the first half and at halftime we were bleeding,” Chase Adams said. “We had to come back out and hit them in the mouth.”
Chase Adams had 10 points and eight rebounds. Mosely finished with 12 points and four blocks. Drake had 13 points and 13 rebounds and Smith added 14 points and eight rebounds.
Drake and Smith didn’t score their usual totals, but they did keep Uplift’s Toraze Dobbs in check. Dobbs has nearly 20 double-doubles this season, but finished with just eight points and nine rebounds. He didn’t score after the first quarter.
“I told them at the end of the night someone was going to go home crying, you don’t want to go home crying,” said Orr assistant coach Phil Gipson, who filled in for Lou Adams. “I told them if they lost they would be the biggest disappointment in the whole city.”
Jacobs led Uplift (18-10) with 23 points and junior Detalian Brown added 18.
Orr and Uplift were the two most talented teams remaining in Class 2A, some observers considered this sectional semifinal a de facto state championship game. The Spartans will play IC Catholic in the sectional title game on Friday, they are two wins away from returning to Peoria.