Oswego made it through Proviso East’s first attack, but the second was too much to handle.
A 20-0 run spanning the end of the half and the beginning of the third quarter Saturday was knockout blow in the No. 6 Pirates’ 79-55 victory that puts the defending champions into Monday’s evening game against Proviso West Holiday Tournament final. The win also avenged a loss to the Panthers in November.
The finals appearance is the Pirates’ 18th and a win Monday would be the program’s 11th title in the tournament’s 52-year history.
“When I saw them on our side of the bracket I was really happy, because I wanted to seek revenge…I doubt there’s a team in the state that can do that to us twice in one year,” says Paris Lee, Proviso East guard.
In their early November victory, the No. 11 Panthers (11-2) didn’t let the Pirates’ pressure get to them and did a better job hitting shots. Oswego had only 12 turnovers, but the fast pace game, especially in the middle two quarters, was to Proviso East’s liking.
“We never could get into a rhythm offensively…We probably took them by surprise the first game, but they definitely came out ready to play today,” says Miles Simelton, Oswego guard.
Oswego found itself in a big 15-3 deficit with six minutes left into the rematch, but fought back to within three points (31-28) with a couple of minutes left before halftime. That’s when things went south.
Lee had eight points during the huge 12-0 run to start the second half. The lead climbed to as many as 29 points late in the third. The Pirates (10-2) shot 63 percent from the floor and held Oswego to 17-54 shooting (31 percent), including 7-25 from the 3-point line.