Uplift junior Jeremy Roscoe, one of the city’s best unknown players, didn’t arrive at Young on time for the Titans second round Public League playoff game against Harlan.
“Our biggest game of the season and he shows up late,” said Uplift coach David Taylor. “I had to bench him for the start.”
Roscoe checked in midway through the first quarter and tried to do too much.
“I had to sit down with him at halftime and talk,” said Taylor. “He was trying to impress the entire gym with one play. He calmed down in the second half.”
Roscoe calmed down and dominated, leading Uplift to a 73-58.
The Titans (23-3) trailed by five after an Andre Hogan three-pointer with 3:25 to play in the third quarter. That’s when Roscoe took over. He scored 13 consecutive points to put Uplift ahead 47-39. Harlan never threatened again.
“We just have a chip on our shoulder,” Roscoe said. “We had some attention at the start of the season when we were undefeated but once the Public League season started that was gone. We got together as a team and talked about making a run in city and state.”
Roscoe finished with 27 points and five rebounds. He shot 8-for-14 from the field and grabbed five boards. Uplift only played six players in the game.
“I was definitely worried about them getting tired,” said Taylor.
The Titans didn’t get tired, and hounded Hogan, Harlan’s leading scorer, successfully throughout the game. Hogan scored 27 points but shot just 10-for-32 from the field.
“We worked on that in practice constantly,” said Roscoe. “We knew he would be the one taking most of their shots.”
Quintin Olagbegi scored 23 points and grabbed nine rebounds and Jamaya Wayatt added seven points and 16 boards for the Titans. Jaylin Clemons scored 10 for Harlan (14-12) and Devon Felton added six points and nine rebounds.
Taylor has built a successful program at Uplift, despite battling rumors that the school may be closing next year. Nothing is certain yet though.
“It would break my heart if that happened,” said Roscoe. “That school has raised me. They’ve taught me how to be a man.”
Uplift will face the winner of the Orr-King game in the quarterfinals at Chicago State on Feb. 16.