BATAVIA – Hinsdale Central had little time to enjoy an epic home victory over Lyons on Jan. 20. By knocking off the Lions in a pivotal West Suburban Silver Conference game in front of almost 3,000 fans, the Red Devils had momentum on their side.
But recording back-to-back emotional victories over quality and diverse opponents is a difficult task for most high school teams.
Still, the Red Devils rode a collective effort, with Ben Oosterbaan supplying a game-high 18 points and Chase Collignon adding 16 in a 54-49 victory over Batavia in the 29th annual Jim & Sylvia Roberts Night of Hoops.
The Red Devils (19-3) moved a game closer to the 20-win mark, plus showed their resiliency and ability to handle difficult situations in a 26-hour span. Emerson Eck displayed the Red Devils’ toughness and desire late in the game, when he grabbed a defensive rebound, was smacked in the face but recovered to grab another rebound in the same possession with 16 seconds left. Even while still recovering from the hard hit to his face, Eck managed to hit two free throws to put the game away.
Hinsdale Central coach Nick Latorre said his team showed tremendous grit to grind out a tough road win in the fourth game of the one-day shootout.
“Batavia is playing at a very high level,” he said. “They run their offense precisely and have tough kids that get after it. We had to grit this one out. I couldn’t be prouder of how we played in this game.”
The 6-foot-6 Collignon, a Carnegie Melon recruit, set the tone for the Red Devils, scoring eight points in the second quarter to help his team avoid a potential letdown. His breakaway two-handed dunk early in the second quarter fueled a 19-point quarter to give the Red Devils a 31-25 lead at halftime.
Collignon said the tough two-day stretch was fun and exhausting.
“It was definitely a blast [Friday], and today was a blast even though the game wasn’t as crazy,” he said. “Coach told us to stay hungry and humble after Friday’s game. We could’ve easily lost today, but we played as hard as we could to win this game.”
Oosterbaan, a Michigan baseball recruit, continues to demonstrate his wide-ranging basketball skills. He dominated at many points, including causing a stir with a powerful block for a turnover when the shot clock ran out late in the third quarter.
Batavia hit the .500 mark after Friday’s win over Wheaton North, but couldn’t overcome the Red Devils despite making a valiant effort late in the fourth and fell to 11-12 on the season.
Jack Ambrose led the Bulldogs with 11 points and C.J. Valente buried two 3-pointers for 10 points. Batavia, which made six 3-pointers, cut the deficit to 53-49 after Nate Nazos’ three-point play with 11.8 seconds remaining.
Batavia coach Jim Nazos said his team showed character with their play in the fourth quarter. The Bulldogs trailed 53-44 midway through the final quarter.
“Hinsdale Central is a great team,” Nazos said. “We wanted to play a really good team in this game. We’ve gotten a lot better in the last month. This is a great game to show where we’re at. We had some opportunities but got down 11 at one point. This team is always fighting. We’ve had a lot of games where we’ve come from behind, but you can’t do that against this team. We had a lot of things we learned from this game.”
In the first game of the tournament, York pulled out a 63-57 victory over St. Charles East. A.J. Devine scored 19 points and Kyle Waltz and Chris Danko had 10 points each for the Dukes.