Hinsdale Central beats Proviso West, increases the area’s longest winning streak to 21

Senior Ben Oosterbaan is just 13 points away from breaking Brian Wardle’s single-season school scoring record.

SHARE Hinsdale Central beats Proviso West, increases the area’s longest winning streak to 21
Hinsdale Central’s Ben Oosterbaan (12) shoots the ball over Proviso West.

Hinsdale Central’s Ben Oosterbaan (12) shoots the ball over Proviso West.

Kirsten Stickney/For the Sun-Times

Ben Oosterbaan wasn’t on the preseason list of the top 50 players in the area. He wasn’t even on the radar for that honor back in November.

But the Hinsdale Central senior has been one of the state’s most consistent players this season, scoring double figures in 31 of the Red Devils’ 32 games. Oosterbaan scored 20 points to lead No. 8 Hinsdale Central to a 56-36 win against Proviso West on Wednesday in the Class 4A Lane regional semifinals.

That puts him just 13 points away from breaking Brian Wardle’s single-season school scoring record.

Oosterbaan, a Michigan recruit for baseball, is more than a scorer. He finished with seven rebounds, four assists and a block against the Panthers. He leads Hinsdale Central (29-3) in rebounds, steals, blocked shots and is shooting 55% from the field and 40% from three.

“He’s sneaky athletic and way more explosive than he gets credit for,” Red Devils coach Nick Latorre said. “He’s been a real pleasure to see develop over the past four years.”

Oosterbaan’s breakout season has led his team to unexpected heights as well. Hinsdale Central has the area’s longest winning streak, 21 games, and is the top seed in the sectional.

“It’s awesome to put some respect on Hinsdale Central basketball and win the conference,” Oosterbaan said. “I don’t think a lot of people had us doing that. But we aren’t worried about it or doing it for doubters. We were doing it for each other.”

Proviso West didn’t go down easy. The first half was a grind and the Red Devils headed to the locker room leading 19-13. They hit three three-pointers in the third quarter to build a significant lead and then Oosterbaan scored 12 in the fourth quarter to put the game away.

Keshawn Hobson, a 6-5 senior, led the Panthers with 19 points and six rebounds. Proviso West coach Dwon Kelly has a young team. Freshman point guard Rajan Roberts, who scored seven, has been one of the best freshmen in the area this season.

Proviso West, once one of the state’s great programs, have been down for a while. The Panthers’ 8-23 final record doesn’t reflect the progress that Kelly has made. Proviso West knocked off Proviso East over the holidays and was competitive against North Lawndale and Oak Park.

“It’s been a process over the last few years,” Kelly said. “The key was to instill some discipline and then build on that and try to put something together for the future.”

Senior Patrick Graham scored 10 points for Hinsdale Central and senior Evan Phillips added seven points. Graham and his teammates aren’t as surprised as everyone else that the Red Devils are serious contenders to finish the season in Champaign.

“We’ve all played together growing up and I feel like we’ve just stuck together,” Graham said. “This success is a result of the amount of chemistry we’ve built up over the years.”

Next up for Hinsdale Central is the regional final on Friday against the winner of Riverside-Brookfield vs. Lane.

“Of course we are taking it one game at a time, but we have big goals in the back of our minds,” Graham said.

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