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Maurius Hill came ready to play for No. 4 Homewood-Flossmoor in the first game of the day Thursday at the Proviso West Holiday tournament.
It took the rest of Hill’s teammates a little longer to get in the flow for its 9 a.m. game in the second round of the championship bracket. Hill scored 12 of his career-high 29 points in the third quarter to lead the Vikings to a 63-50 victory over Westinghouse.
Hill scored 13 points in the first half, but H-F led 31-29 at the break against the upstart Warriors (8-3), who led by four points to end the first quarter.
H-F (10-0) missed its first four shots to begin the game, but fed off Hill who scored his team’s first basket to start a 10-2 run.
The slow start was perhaps expected for the Vikings, who reported to school after 6 a.m. for a shootaround and took a 40-minute bus ride to Hillside.
“You have to give credit to Westinghouse,” H-F coach James McLaughlin said. “They played hard. In the second half, we came out of the game quicker.”
Hill, a 6-foot-5, 220-pound senior, dominated midway through the game. He scored the last two baskets of the first half and scored the next four baskets in the second half for the Vikings, who will play Oswego in the quarterfinals at 3:45 p.m. Friday.
Hill’s three consecutive layups in the third quarter gave H-F a 39-31 lead. His final basket of the third quarter was a two-handed dunk to give the Vikings a 49-39 lead. He finished with 13-of-19 shooting.
“It was our first 9 a.m. start. We are not used to this,” Hill said. “We came out for the game, but we were sluggish. It was a big relief. I think the more we played, the more we got to run with our press.”
Lamar Wofford-Humphrey had 10 points and nine rebounds for the Vikings.
McLaughlin’s assistant coach, Roy Condotti, was a former coach at Westinghouse in the 1970s and 1980s. Westinghouse has won Proviso West titles with three different coaches (Frank Lollino, Chris Head and Quitman Dillard) after Condotti left.
“It’s a storied program. I was not the guy who started it, but I kept it warm,” Condotti said of his successors. “It’s nice to have it mean more with good basketball.”
The Warriors were led by Dewan White’s 21 points and eight rebounds. Ricky Battles added 12 points.
Westinghouse led 17-13 at the end of the first quarter on Ramon Taylor’s 3-pointer. The second quarter featured four different ties.
“We were going to try to deny (Hill) in the second half,” Westinghouse coach Garland Williams said. “He kept putting up a lot in the first half. We expected him (to score), but we went away from our game plan. That back-fired on us a little bit.”