Martin Oliver took it personally when Providence-St. Mel forced the game’s only tie at 26-26 three minutes into the third quarter.
“I thought we were better than them, and I didn’t think the game should be tied at that point and I put it upon myself to do something about it,” Oliver said.
The Hyde Park junior guard drilled back-to-back three-pointers that sparked a 16-6 run the Thunderbirds utilized for the 57-41 victory over the Knights in the Bob Hambric Shootout at T.F. North in Calumet City on Sunday.
Oliver converted six three-pointers in scoring a game-high 20 points as the Thunderbirds (11-6) snapped a four-game losing streak.
“We’d been in a bit of a slump lately, and we just wanted to get out and play our game.
“We went to Detroit for Christmas and we lost all three games, so we just wanted to prove we could be a good team again.”
Hyde Park smothered the Knights after guard Bernard Lilly Jr. shot Providence-St. Mel out to the early lead. Lilly opened the game by making three consecutive three-pointers for the Knights (12-6).
Hyde Park answered with a 15-2 run as they forced 11 turnovers in the first half and allowed just the one basket over a nine-minute stretch.
“We have not been able to get into the gym and practice as much lately as we’d like,” Hyde Park coach Antonne Samuels said. “Yesterday, we had a great lock-down practice where for the first time in a while we really played Hyde Park defense.”
The Thunderbirds’ aggressive pressure took the ball out of Lilly’s hands. He made just one more shot, a three-pointer, at the second quarter buzzer that pulled the Knights within 20-16.
Oliver turned the game into his private highlight reel as he converted four three-pointers in the third quarter. He scored nine points during the 16-6 burst that put the Thunderbirds up 42-32 to start the fourth quarter.
Providence-St. Mel pulled within six points with just over six minutes to play. Junior wing forward Antoine Pike owned the fourth quarter for Hyde Park. He scored 10 of his 12 points in the fourth quarter. He also had nine rebounds. Kendall Ivy scored 13 points and point guard Cashell Dixon scored eight points and added five assists and three steals.
“After they tied the game, I told Cashell to slow down and run the team and get everybody in order, and that’s what he did,” Samuels said.
Senior guard Tevin King scored 13 points to lead the Knights.