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Oak Forest's Tom Shute finds and open lane to the basket against Lincoln-Way West Wednesday, December 26, 2012. | Allen Cunningham~For Sun-Times Media
Oak Forest came into Wednesday’s game focused on slowing Lincoln-Way West’s Hayden Witt, but it wasn’t working early.
“He was hitting some NBA shots early on,” Oak Forest guard Tom Zale said. “I was like ‘I have to pick it up defensively.’”
Zale and Dylan Ross held Witt, who had 10 first-half points, scoreless in the second half and the Bengals pulled away for a 58-40 win in a Medieval Classic pool-play opener at Lincoln-Way East.
“You always want to get the first win in a tournament,” Oak Forest coach Matt Manzke said. “The day after Christmas, you never know what’s going to happen. This gives us a chance to continue to compete for the title.”
Tom Shute led the Bengals (5-6) with 17 points and five rebounds. Kyle Flanagan had 12 points, and Jason Roland added 10 points and seven rebounds off the bench.
Witt (10 points, five rebounds) and Franco Pettinato (seven points) led Lincoln-Way West (1-9).
The Warriors hit four of their first five shots from the field, getting treys from Witt and Jon Marotta (five points, five rebounds) in racing to a 12-9 lead.
The Bengals, though, held West scoreless over the last 3:30 of the first, going on a 9-0 run behind four points from David Gray to take an 18-12 edge.
The Warriors still were in the game at the break, down just 27-22, but they scored just two points over the first 6:15 of the third quarter as the Bengals extended the lead to 39-24.
“That’s been our biggest downfall all season,” West coach Jon White said. “We go on long spurts of not scoring. We’re very young and this is good experience.
“We started out getting blown out by 20 every game. We had a three-point loss to Thornwood last week and we were competitive [Wednesday]. We’re coming along.”
Zale had eight points for the Bengals.
Lincoln-Way Central 60, Harper 53: Alex Parks poured in 22 points to lead Lincoln-Way Central (5-6) at Lincoln-Way North. Kevin Mampe and Matt Mikolajczak added 13 points each.
Andrew 53, Lincoln-Way West 52: Molly Franson’s free throw with three-tenths of a second left lifted Andrew (8-2) to the win. Franson finished with 17 points and Tiana Karopulos had 24. Lindsey Colamussi (15 points) and Stephanie McDonald (13) paced West (5-6).
Lincoln-Way East 60, Noble Street Charter-UIC 34: Kara Krolicki (11 points) and Meaghan McMahon (9 points) paced a balanced attack for Lincoln-Way East (9-1).