After St. Laurence lost to Oak Lawn 73-66 in the championship of the Oak Lawn/Reavis Spartan-Ram Classic on Nov. 29, Trey Davis wasn’t ready to hit the panic button—not by a long shot.
The Vikings had reached the tourney finale for the third straight year, and their roster included three players who had just that day finished the football season for St. Laurence.
Despite some struggles at the free-throw line and with foul trouble, the team was just one good push away from the win at Oak Lawn High School, and Davis and his teammates focused on the positives.
“We’ll bounce back,” Davis said. “We need to learn from our mistakes. We came out flat almost every game, but we’ll make those adjustments. We’re not going to change our system up.”
Davis finished with a team-high 27 points and was named to the All-Tournament team. The senior lefty averaged 27 points over 4 games.
With star senior Jeremiah Williams transferring to Simeon over the summer, Davis knows that he and senior Finn Walsh will have to pick things up on offense. Walsh, battling foul trouble, still scored 12 points in a fast-paced game.
“Since Jeremiah left, Finn and I have to step up,” Davis said. “We’ll take on that role and help the team however possible.”
Oak Lawn trailed 31-28 midway through the second quarter, but the Spartans rattled off a 21-8 run over the next 11 minutes.
St. Laurence hung around, drawing to within 3 points in the final minute, but the Vikings ran out of gas in trying to complete a crazy late comeback.
Darius Wilson (4 points), Aaron Wofford (13 points) and Jalen Hamilton returned to the basketball court after playing on the gridiron earlier in the day in the Chicago Prep Bowl, a 35-34 victory over Simeon.
St. Laurence Coach Jim Sexton said the return of the football players will help the basketball team find its usual rhythm.
“It’s the first night where we had our full contingent of guys,” Sexton said. “That goes a long way working the football players back in. Guys have stepped up, younger guys in the junior and sophomore class, so that’s a welcome surprise.”
Oak Lawn relied on tournament MVP Sami Osmani (36 points) and guard Trey Ward (24) to carry its offense. The Spartans hit 8 3-pointers, including 5 in the first quarter.
St. Laurence finished 13 of 24 from the free-throw line and at times struggled shooting from distance.
Still, in one impressive stretch the Vikings scored 11 points in just under a minute using a wave of pressure defense and 3-point baskets.
“We’re not going to change our system,” Davis said. “We just need to knock down shots overall. We’ll get in rhythm with our football players and get the rust off them. We’ll be OK.”