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Oak Lawn’s Davion Lawrence (right) led his team with 14 points in a 57-52 victory at Evergreen Park on Thursday. Photo by Jeff Vorva

Oak Lawn’s Davion Lawrence (right) led his team with 14 points in a 57-52 victory at Evergreen Park on Thursday. Photo by Jeff Vorva

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Here’s the skinny: Trimmed-down Lawrence helps Oak Lawn top Evergreen

By Jeff Vorva
Staff Writer

Oak Lawn senior basketball player Davion Lawrence is 45 pounds lighter than he was last season, but insists his eating habits are the same.

He has, however, changed up his training habits.

Heading into football last fall, Lawrence and a few fellow seniors wanted to get in the best shape they could for their final season.

“We pushed each other from the start of the summer,” Lawrence said. “I just kept it going into the basketball season. All of it is connected. It’s basically a lot of running. I eat the same amount, but I have done a lot of running around the football field and up and down the football field. I feel way lighter and feel better.”

Lawrence and his basketball teammates are feeling pretty good at this point of the season. The Spartans played most of their crossover games in the South Suburban Conference and opened play in the Red division and beat Evergreen Park, 57-52, on the road in a rivalry game Jan. 13.

Because crossover games count in the standings in this league, the Spartans have a commanding lead over the rest of the field. Heading into this week’s action, Oak Lawn was 5-1 in the league and no one else had a winning record.

Lawrence led the Spartans with 14 points. He had one of his shots blocked early in the game, but he kept hammering inside. He had five points in the first quarter to keep his team close as the Spartans trailed 13-11. He added five more in the third quarter as Oak Lawn enjoyed a 24-15 advantage.

“Lawrence worked hard during the summer,” Spartans coach Jason Rhodes said. “The football team focused on speed, and he did a lot of running.

“He’s a centerpiece for our offense. We run a lot of plays to him inside. He did a good job playing against some contact and that was the kind of game it was.”

OL CONRAD scaled

Oak Lawn’s Ryan Conrad (middle) gets knocked to the ground on a shot that went in for a basket in the second quarter of the Spartans’ road win over Evergreen Park. Photo by Jeff Vorva

With Lawrence making trouble inside, the Spartans’ outside game was able to flourish as well. Oak Lawn buried nine 3-pointers, all in the second and third periods. Gavin Butler finished with 11 points and sank three treys. Ayham Salah had nine points on a trio of 3-pointers. Nicco Reyes sank a pair of 3-pointers in the third and finished with seven points on the night.

The Spartans entered the week with a 13-4 overall mark. They were scheduled to host Argo Tuesday. Richards, which was 3-4 in the league, has the best shot at overtaking the Spartans. The crosstown rivals are slated to square off on Friday at Richards.

Evergreen Park (9-8, 2-5) headed into this week with a five-game losing streak and hopes to finally get that 10th victory at Argo on Friday.

The Mustangs lost to Lemont by 27, Oak Forest by 32 and Hillcrest by 24 heading into the Oak Lawn showdown, but kept this game close throughout.

In a near-packed house, the Mustangs gave their fans a lot to yell about, leading throughout most of the first half and taking a 28-27 halftime advantage.

Jalen Shepard led the Mustangs with 14 points while Malik Kelly had 10. Each bombed in three 3-pointers.

“Getting better is no moral victory,” Mustangs coach Jim Sexton said. “But we’re playing more possessions the way we want to and against a team like Oak Lawn, you can’t have lapses.

“The big guy (Lawrence) is tough, and we don’t have that kind of size. We didn’t rebound well enough, and we lost too many loose balls. They had more possessions because of rebounds and loose balls.”

 

The Red Line

After last weekend’s action, here are the South Suburban Conference Red division standings, which include crossover results with the Blue division:

Oak Lawn 5-1

Richards 3-4

Argo 2-5

Evergreen Park 2-6

Reavis 0-5

Shepard 0-6

Eisenhower 0-8

EP KELLY scaled

Malik Kelly celebrates a 3-point basket in front of his Evergreen Park fans against Oak Lawn. Photo by Jeff Vorva

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