Underrated Marshun Williams, Lindblom shock Hyde Park in city playoffs

Marshun Williams led the Eagles with 23 points and 11 rebounds. He’s on pace to finish as the second-highest scorer in school history.

SHARE Underrated Marshun Williams, Lindblom shock Hyde Park in city playoffs
Lindblom players celebrate after winning the game against Hyde Park.

Lindblom players celebrate after winning the game against Hyde Park.

Kirsten Stickney/For the Sun-Times

Marshun Williams toiled in the White Division for most of his high school career. Lindblom’s elevation to the Red-South/Central seemed likely to shine a spotlight on the talented 6-5 senior.

A winless regular season in the conference dashed that plan. But Williams maintains that he never gave up hope.

“If you are in the dark you will come to the light at some point,” Williams said. “I knew if I kept pushing through and we kept getting better that [college] coaches would see me.”

Williams and the Eagles finally pushed through on Tuesday. Lindblom upset Hyde Park 68-60 in the first round of the Public League playoffs.

Two months of frustration and dashed expectations were obliterated in one loud, wet locker-room celebration.

“We knew we were better than how we performed in this conference and we knew we could surprise people in the playoffs,” Lindblom coach Zack Linderman said. “We had such high expectations with 10 seniors coming back.”

The Eagles planned to be a factor in the Red-South/Central, but finished 0-9 and were relegated back to the White Division. The playoffs wiped the slate clean.

“After the run we had it would have been easy to just fold it up and call it quits,” Linderman said. “These guys, to their credit, they stayed mentally focused and they worked hard and came to play tonight.”

Williams led the Eagles (11-14) with 23 points and 11 rebounds. He’s on pace to finish as the second-highest scorer in school history.

“He can play,” Linderman said. He’s the most underrecruited player in the state of Illinois. He has one full-ride offer. It’s going to explode for him eventually. He’s a stretch four that can shoot it, big body, finishes around the basket.”

Sophomore Byron Hobbs, a transfer from Hyde Park, scored 14 off the bench for Lindblom.

“This win means the world to me,” Hobbs said. “There was a whole bunch of talking before the game. We were through a lot of bumps this season against the tough Red teams but today we had a clean slate.”

Senior guard Na’Shawn Howze had 11 points and five rebounds for the Eagles.

Lindblom led by 15 with 5:26 to play. A flurry of turnovers and some hot three-point shooting by freshman Raeshom Harris pulled Hyde Park (15-9) within two points with 1:19 to play.

“We did lose our composure a little bit but it is a testament to our guys that they brought it back together and made plays and made free throws down the stretch,’’ Linderman said.

Sophomore Lamont Williams and junior Jalen Houston each had 13 points for the Thunderbirds. Houston, Hyde Park’s leading scorer, fouled out with 5:38 left.

“Maybe it is a youth thing but you can never take a team for granted and you can never wait until the fourth quarter to start playing,” Hyde Park coach Reggie Bates said. “The fourth quarter we played good enough to win the game. We just ran out of time. That’s the type of effort that you have to bring in playoff games. It is different than regular-season intensity.”

The Eagles will face Crane, an upset winner against North Lawndale, in the second round on Thursday.

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