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With two of its first six players injured, Homewood-Flossmoor didn’t need another member of its rotation on the bench Friday at the outset of a SouthWest Suburban Blue battle at resurgent Sandburg.
Yet, there was Rashaan Surles, with his double-digit scoring average and .471 shooting percentage from three-point range, seated for the opening tip.
“Disciplinary reasons,” Surles sheepishly said. “I got in trouble at school. It won’t happen again.”
The fourth-ranked Vikings had better hope not.
Surles was brilliant after entering in the second quarter, hitting his first three shots — two of them threes — and finishing with 18 points on 7-of-10 shooting in a 52-36 win. Tai Odiase added 11 points.
Though H-F (19-5, 11-1) wrapped up at least a share of the conference crown by handing Sandburg (7-16, 5-7) just its second loss in its last seven games, this game wasn’t as much about defining the Vikings’ regular season as it was shaping a playoff run.
H-F’s tallest player, 6-foot-9 Lamar Wofford-Humphery, is likely lost for the season after tearing ligaments in an ankle Feb. 9. Sixth man Thaddeus Little is out indefinitely after dislocating a toe Feb. 8.
“We want to get ready for the playoffs,” Surles said. “With Lamar going down, we wanted to see how we were going to be able to box out and rebound without one of our key rebounders.”
The Vikings spread the load around and struggled to keep Sandburg’s Malek Harris (18 points, 12 boards) off the glass. But at least the 6-5 Harris was limited by Jason Scott’s defense to two first-quarter points as H-F bolted to a 16-4 lead.
Sandburg struggled after a muted senior night celebration led into a moment of silence for athletic director Bruce Scheidegger, who was found dead Sunday after an apparent one-car accident near Mount Carroll.
“It was an emotionally difficult week, I think, for everybody,” Sandburg coach Todd Allen said. “Then you throw senior night on top of that, kind of a celebration — but then, a somber night too because Bruce has been at all our home games for five years ... ”
Sandburg will host a celebration of Scheidegger’s life from 1 to 3 p.m. Sunday in its gym.