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Oak Forest overcomes first half sluggishness, cruises to win

02/10/2014, 10:43pm CST
By Michael O’Brien | mobrien@suntimes.com | @michaelsobroen

Kyle Flanagan scored 18 points and grabbed 10 rebounds as Oak Forest turned an early tight contest into a 67-49 victory over Morris.

Oak Forest junior Kyle Flanagan said one college coach told him he should mold his game after NBA star Kevin Love.

Flanagan isn’t quite there yet, but the 6-9 junior shows enough promise that several colleges are keeping tabs on him. Northern Illinois, UIC, Western Illinois and Denver have shown interest.

That’s what happens when you help lead your rather unknown high school program to an 18-3 record.

“It’s been a pretty fun season,” said Flanagan. “(Coach Matt Manzke) said it was our first 18-win season since 1987.”

The 18th win almost didn’t come on Monday night. It’s possible that the Bengals were looking ahead to Friday’s huge conference matchup against Hillcrest, but they didn’t play a very good first half and trailed visiting Morris by a point at the break.

A different Oak Forest team arrived in the third quarter, attacking the basket with regularity and wearing down the Redskins for a 67-49 victory.

“Coach just came in and fired us up at halftime,” said Flanagan. “This was our first Monday game of the season and sometimes those can be a little difficult.”

Flanagan scored 18 points and grabbed 10 rebounds, while shooting 6-for-10 from the field.

“Kyle has the ability to come out to the 15-foot range and hit that shot or pass the ball,” said Manzke. “He’s pretty versatile. If he keeps improving he has a chance to be a very good player.”

Senior Jason Roland scored 11 and had five rebounds and Tom Shute added nine points, all in the second half.

“We knew Morris did a great job running their motion offense and in the first half we just didn’t do a great job helping,” said Manzke. “I think our athleticism wore them down a little bit.”

Junior Austin Patterson led Morris (14-5) with 19 points and eight rebounds and Jake Walker added 16 points.

Hillcrest coach Don Houston was at the game scouting the Bengals.

“That’s a huge game for us Friday,” said Manzke. “We have an opportunity to win the conference, but it won’t be easy. Hillcrest is the king and (Houston) is probably the best coach in the conference.”

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