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Reavis took its first step Friday night in trying to reverse a negative trend.
Heading into its South Suburban crossover against Tinley Park, the Rams had closed the 2012 portion of their schedule with an 8-2 nonconference record, averaging 64.1 points per game. In league games, they were 1-3, averaging 36.8 points per game.
They got back into conference action in Burbank and beat the Titans 68-53, scoring 45 points in the second half including a 12-of-15 showing from the field. That came shortly after allowing the Titans just two points in the second quarter.
“We started to take care of the basketball and started to get layup after layup,” Reavis coach Jeff Smith said. “Every game is different and they all have different paces. This was a game we had to take opportunities when they were there.”
Nick Bal led the Rams with 22 points despite only hitting one three-pointer. He entered the game with 43 over his first 14 games. Eddie Puha added 18 points. After missing his first shot, Puha went 7-of-7 from the floor, including a trey, and 3-of-3 from the line. He also added a team-high seven rebounds.
“I was able to get more rebounds and I was finishing,” Puha said. “My teammates were giving me good passes.”
Mohammed Abousalem added 11 points on 5-of-6 shooting.
Tinley Park, which raced out to a 16-8 lead, fell to 4-10, 2-3 on the season. The Titans have lost five straight since Greg Martin’s buzzer-beating three-pointer helped sink Richards 62-60 on Dec. 14.
Vince Gooden had 25 points — 10 in the first quarter and 15 in the fourth — and seven steals for the Titans. Femi Elutilo had eight rebounds.
“Gooden is one of the best players in the conference,” Smith said. “We were fortunate to come away with the win even though he was that hot.”