Odhiambo’s double-double leads Vernon Hills past Maine East

Visiting Maine East was able to stay close to Vernon Hills for the better part of its Central Suburban League boys basketball game Thursday night.

But in the end, the Cougars' size proved to be just too much of a factor as the Blue Demons would drop a 49-42 CSL North Division decision as 6-foot-5 sophomore Daniel Odhiambo was a big factor for the home team.

A 3-pointer by Maine East's Tre Himes cut the lead to 47-42 with 1:27 to play. But that was as close as the Blue Demons (7-5, 2-2) would get. Vernon Hills (5-6, 1-3) salted away the win with a couple of free throws in the final minute.

While Odhiambo (7-for-8 field goals) was somewhat quiet in the first half, he really came to life in the second half. He wound up scoring a team-high 16 points and grabbing 11 rebounds.

A turnover-plagued fourth quarter saw both teams commit four turnovers in the first 5:21 of that period. But Maine East missed two 3-pointers in the final 41 seconds of the game that could have made the final score much closer.

"You know he (Odhiambo) played freshman B last year. This is only his second year of organized basketball, and he grows by leaps and bounds like every day so I'm really proud of his growth in such a short span," said Vernon Hills coach Matt McCarty. "I think our seniors kind of closed that game out with some really good things, being smart with the basketball, and they finished the game the right way."

Maine East's Jalan Alphonse scored 13 of his game-high 19 points in the second half while Vernon Hills' Dylan Chung scored 11 points. The Blue Demons got 8 points from Brandon Schreiber while the Cougars got 6 points from Deen Hatibovic and Brady Larsen. Himes and Vernon Hills' Anthony Morgan Jr. scored 5 points.

"They just wanted me to get rebounds and put the ball back in the hoop," said Odhiambo, whose team is at Libertyville on Friday. "I was just trying to do everything I possibly could. I think I had about seven blocks and I'm pretty happy with that. I think this is really going to like help us go forward as a team."

Maine East trailed 24-12 late in the second quarter, 27-19 at halftime, and 39-34 with 6:04 to play.

"Their size just gave us a lot of issues and they kind of just controlled the lane with offensive rebounds, post-ups, and you could tell that they were hungry to get offensive rebounds," said Maine East coach Sergio Muro.

"I thought that's where we lost the game was on the glass. We just could never kind of tie the game or take the lead with some key turnovers and some key missed shots."

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