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The Orr gymnasium was packed, Young fans on one side and Orr fans on the other. The showdown between the two Red-West powers is one of the season’s highlights, especially when the game is at Orr.
“When we came in here sophomore year the atmosphere and crowd rattled us,” Young senior Jahlil Okafor said. “We lost by like 30. That was definitely on our mind headed in here today. We knew what we were in for and we were prepared to handle it.”
The No. 4 Dolphins were never rattled on their way to a 69-58 win. It was especially impressive considering the raucous third quarter that saw three technical fouls handed out (one of which was changed to a timeout in an interesting twist) and a nearly 30-minute long injury delay after Orr’s Armani Ousley seriously hurt his left ankle on a drive to the basket.
Due to the previous setup of the Public League, Young and Orr only played at Young last season, so Okafor, Paul White and Miles Reynolds had to wait two years to get a win at Orr.
“It was intense,” White said. “We stayed focused on the game and not the crowd or anything going on. We’re an experienced team, we learned from our sophomore year here.”
Okafor finished with 24 points and 13 rebounds. The No. 3 Spartans (10-2, 3-1) only had one man guarding Okafor for most of them game, something rarely seen.
“They thought one man could guard him I guess,” Young coach Tyrone Slaughter said. “There isn’t one man in the country that could guard him.”
White finished with 18 points and six rebounds. Reynolds added 12 for the Dolphins (11-4, 5-0).
Lou Adams Jr. led Orr with 12 points. Ousley scored 11 before exiting on a stretcher with the injured ankle midway through the third quarter. Issaiah Hayes and Tyquone Greer each scored 10.
“We controlled the game,” Slaughter said. “Every game we’ve played on the road has been in an atmosphere like this, they’ve all been like that. I think we’re the best 11-4 team in the country.”
Despite the turmoil throughout the game, the teams came together at the end to pray for Ousley.
“That young man’s health is more important than a game and we are all aware of that,” Slaughter said.