2012 News

Boys Basketball: Rafferty’s buzzer-beater propels Red Devils past OPRF

By Ken Ryan
February 3, 2012

Hinsdale Central freshman Matt Rafferty credits his older brother Jason with helping him prepare for life on varsity.

The 6-foot-6 center doubts his sibling ever hit a bigger shot during his high school career than he did Friday.

Matt Rafferty took a beautiful pass from Brian Owens and converted a layup at the buzzer to help Hinsdale Central stun West Suburban Conference Silver leader Oak Park-River Forest 63-62 in overtime.

“He was a big influence, but I’m sure he never hit a bigger shot,” Rafferty said of his brother, who was a standout player for the Red Devils. “It came down to the wire. Brian had a nice dish to me, I caught it, turned around and came up with the basket. I wasn’t nervous at all. You’re just in the moment and that’s all it is. It’s great to knock them off.”

Rafferty finished with nine points, three rebounds and three blocks, but his last second bucket is what will be remembered most.

Rafferty’s basket came after Ka’Darryl Bell hit 1 of 2 free throws with 19 seconds remaining in the overtime to put the Huskies (14-5, 6-2) ahead 62-61.

“He’s very poised and gives us some size inside, which we were lacking,” Hinsdale Central coach Nick Latorre said of Rafferty. “He really plays like an upperclassmen. He doesn’t get rattled and never looks like a freshman out there. That’s his makeup and kind of his personality.

“All year we’ve talked about unselfishness. Owens really showed it by trusting the big guy down there. It rolled around the rim it seemed forever, but Matt did a good job of finishing.”

Hinsdale Central (12-7, 5-4 in Silver) was in control most of the game.

The Red Devils enjoyed a 48-34 lead early in the fourth quarter before OPRF woke up and used a 23-6 run to grab a 57-52 lead with 1:41 remaining in regulation.

Hinsdale Central, however, closed the quarter with a 6-1 run, including a pair of clutch free throws by Tom Garvin (11 points, six rebounds) with 14.9 left.

“It was fun,” Latorre said. “Our kids persevered through the end of the game. I was very proud of the way they were able to not give up, down five late in the game. Give them a lot of credit. They really did a great job getting back in the game. We talk about being mentally tough. We talked about bad things happening against good teams and being able to play through that. We could’ve easily folded up shop, but our kids stayed with the system.”

Hinsdale Central also received key help from Owens (12 points, 4 rebounds), Brad Anlauf (11 points, 3 rebounds), Rigas Pappas (7 points, 4 rebounds) and Peter Thaus (8 points, 3 rebounds), who tied the game in overtime at 61-61 with a big three-pointer.

The Huskies received a monster performance from Gabe Levin, who had 32 points and 11 rebounds in the loss.

© 2012 Sun-Times Media, LLC. All rights reserved.

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