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York (33) Frank Toohey guards OPRF (23) Erick Locke as Locke shoots OPRF's first basket early in the game. He scored a 3 pointed. Oak Park River Foerest HS plays York HS in a boys varsity game at York HS 355 W. St. Charles Road, Emhurst, IL on Friday nig
When the game is on the line, Oak Park-River Forest coach Matt Maloney knows who is ready to step up.
Alex Gustafson came up huge in the fourth quarter Friday to help OPRF beat host York 47-41 in Elmhurst.
The 6-foot-4 guard first drained three-pointers on back-to-back possessions to end a 1-for-15 shooting drought by the Huskies, who jumped ahead 40-34 with 2 minutes, 48 seconds remaining. Then, with Oak Park clinging to a 43-41 lead, Gustafson (12 points) got his own rebound after missing a pair of free throws and was fouled with :13.8. He sank two free throws to make it 45-41 and then iced the game with two more free throws with 1.9 left.
“[Gustafson] has always been our glue guy,” Maloney said. “He’s the guy you can count on making big plays down the stretch, whether it’s defensively, getting a big board or hitting key threes. He finds a way to make plays. That’s the type of player he is.”
Oak Park junior Erik Locke scored a game-high 19 points, while Gustafson added 12. York was led by Charlie Rose (13 points), while Colorado State-bound David Cohn had just eight points.
Oak Park (17-8, 8-4) was hoping to win its second consecutive West Suburban Silver championship this season, but will have to settle for a tie for second with the Dukes (19-7, 8-4).
Hinsdale Central (18-5, 11-1) clinched its first WSC Silver title since 2000 with Tuesday’s 54-39 win over York.
“One of our goals was to win back-to-back conference championships, however, we’re playing great basketball at the right time,” Maloney said. “We’re hoping we have a [postseason] run in us.”