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Vocational forward Mike Rollins scored only nine points on Tuesday evening. All of his field goals came on either dunks or layups. Yet it was Rollins’s domination of the paint that allowed the 13th-seeded Cavaliers to advance with ease into the second round of the Chicago Public League Playoffs.
Along with his offensive output, Rollins contributed 15 rebounds, four blocks and three steals. That spearheaded Vocational to a 51-24 home victory over 20th-seeded King.
“I had to lock down on defense,” Rollins said. “It’s the playoffs, and we’re trying to win this thing.”
The Cavaliers (15-6) had control of the game from the opening tip, thanks in large part to the play of their 6-foot-7 big man. Rollins nabbed five rebounds in the opening quarter, while the Jaguars were only able to muster three points. The domination continued throughout the game, as Rollins and the Cavs controlled the lane, forcing King (12-11) to try and beat them from the perimeter. That never happened, as several missed three-point attempts resulted in long rebounds and easy points for Vocational.
Anthony Thomas led the Cavaliers in scoring with 11 points; five Vocational players had five or more points in the game.
“I liked the way we spread the ball around. That’s what we do,” Cavaliers coach Chris Pickett said. “We haven’t had a dominant scorer all year, but we are at out best when we are sharing the ball and everyone gets going.
“If we can continue to play defense the way we can, I like our chances,” Pickett said. “We plan on going up there and giving them everything we’ve got.”