EP feeling better after winning last 3 of 4
Evergreen Park’s boys basketball team opened the season 0-5 but won three out of four games in the Immaculate Conception/Westmont Tournament for a second-place finish.
That gave the Mustangs a shot in the arm heading into Friday’s showdown against Oak Forest.
“We’re not going to get pushed over, I’ll tell you that,’’ Mustangs coach Pat Flannigan said. “Against Oak Forest, we’re going to rise to occasion and play like we’re capable of. No matter our record, our opponent is going to be in for fight. They won’t be able to mark as a win against Evergreen Park, I’ll tell you that.”
The title game in Elmhurst didn’t go well, however.
Even though Evergreen Park was playing for the championship of the tournament against St. Edward on Dec. 30, Flannigan noticed that his team was playing with a lack of energy throughout the game.
That lack of energy was especially evident in the fourth quarter when the Green Wave exploded for 24 points and pulled away for a 65-53 victory over the Mustangs.
Jordan Brown and Isaac Matthews each scored 14 points to lead Evergreen Park, which dropped to 3-6 with the defeat. The team also received 13 points and eight boards from Tony Weathersby.
“We had our chances to win this game,” Flannigan said. “We were ahead with about 2:30 left. It was four-point lead at one point, and we had a silly turnover; they got a lay-up that cut it to two points, and then they started playing some confidence.
“We thought we could put them away, but momentum shifted after the turnover and basket. We didn’t have a whole lot of energy that night for some reason.”
Flannigan also said that the team’s inability to stick with the keys of the game early in the contest made life difficult — as St. Edward was able to establish an early 20-14 lead at the end of the first quarter.
“We had three keys: The first was that we get the ball inside. We had an advantage there, and we jacked up a three on our first possession, and it kind of set a bad tone for the rest of the day. If one doesn’t stick to the keys, why should anyone else?
“We got away from our game plan, and we were treading water for a while. We played OK in spurts but just not enough for a steady team like St. Edward. One of our guards had an off night, and nobody else stepped into that role. It makes you want to bang your head on the wall as a coach because there were no real physical errors just some mental mistakes and getting away from what our plan was.”
St. Edward 63
Evergreen Park 53
Evergreen Park 14 13 15 11 – 53
St. Edward 20 8 11 24 – 63
Evergreen Park (53)
Jacquet McClendon 5, Alex Cheatham 3, Issac Matthews 14, Tobi Oladaijo 4, Jordan Brown 142, Tony Weathersby 13.
Rebounds: Weathersby 7. Assists: Oladaijo 4.