Orr beats Lane, stays undefeated in Red-North/West

Caleb Hannah might be the city’s best unsigned senior. He had 20 points and eight rebounds and brought the crowd to its feet with a mesmerizing slam early in the fourth quarter.

SHARE Orr beats Lane, stays undefeated in Red-North/West
Orr’s Leontae Lilly (10) reacts during the game against Lane.

Orr’s Leontae Lilly (10) reacts during the game against Lane.

Kirsten Stickney/For the Sun-Times

Orr was already in Peoria and ready to play for its fourth consecutive state championship when COVID first hit back in March of 2020. Instead, the Spartans drove home and watched the world change along with the rest of us.

It’s been nearly two years since that run at history was cut off. Orr coach Louis Adams is retiring after this season. His team is still the defending Class 2A state champs. Can the Spartans make another run this season and send Adams out as champion?

“That’s our goal,” Orr senior Caleb Hannah said after leading Orr to a 66-59 win against visiting Lane on Friday.

Hannah may be the city’s best unsigned senior. He had 20 points, eight rebounds and brought the crowd to its feet with a mesmerizing slam early in the fourth quarter.

“He can shoot and handle it,” Adams said. “He’s pretty good. And he has the grades, a 4.2 or something. The sky is the limit.”

Hannah picked up an offer from Bethune-Cookman in early January. Expect that list to grow.

Hannah can also shoot free throws, which may have been the difference in the game. He drove to the basket and was fouled midway through the second quarter. Lane coach Nick LoGalbo picked up a technical foul arguing the call. Hannah drained all three free throws and suddenly a four-point game became a nine-point game.

Orr (11-3, 5-0 Red-North/West) stayed in control from then on.

Senior point guard Leontae Lilly had 13 points, six rebounds and six assists and senior Deavion McCarthy added 13 points and 10 rebounds. Senior Cam Lawin, who transferred from Lane last year, added 11 points.

The Spartans aren’t as loaded as the teams Adams has taken to Peoria. But as usual, it is a work in progress. Martez Jackson, a transfer from DeKalb, became eligible two weeks. He admitted it’s been a rough start for him so far but he was one of the best players in the DuPage Valley last season.

“He hasn’t seen this kind of basketball,” Adams said. “We get everyone’s best shot. He can play. He’s going to come along.”

Adams says that 6-5 junior Kelley Okoroh, an unknown from Maryland, will become eligible next week. Adams has been high on his potential since the preseason.

So it is possible Orr could be a much different team by March.

“It’s going to be tough to get to state,” Adams said. “We are playing pretty good basketball. We have some good pieces so we will see where the chips fall.”

Sophomore Shaheed Solebo led Lane (14-5, 4-3) with 23 points and eight rebounds. He was 4 of 5 from three-point range and showed an impressive ability to get the basket. It was an eye-opening performance. There might not be a player in the area that has improved more since November.

Solebo was on varsity last season, but Lane only played seven games.

“It was always just confidence,” Lane coach Nick LoGalbo said. “Early on the seniors had to buy into him and he had to learn to trust himself. Now he’s really been showing it. He might be the first D1 player I’ve ever coached. I’ve been at Lane for 17 years. That’s exciting. He has the potential.”

Adams agreed: “He was really nice. I haven’t seen too many sophomores as good as him.”

Watch the final minute of Lane at Orr:

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