Horton transfers veteran skills to St. Joe defense
Westchester, IL - Friday, March 1, 2013: Westinghouse's Ricky Battles (3) drives on St. Joseph's Loren Horton (15). | Steve Johnston~for Sun-Times Media
BOYS BASKETBALL Today
At Class 3A Nazareth Sectional final, 7:30 p.m.
At Class 3A Hoffman Estates Supersectional, 7:30 p.m.
Updated: April 8, 2013 6:36AM
WESTCHESTER — St. Joseph guard Loren Horton walked off the court Friday night with a big smile on his face after the host Chargers had claimed the 3A regional crown with a 48-46 overtime victory over Westinghouse in Westchester.
It was a much different feeling this year for Horton, a senior transfer, who played for St. Patrick last season when the Shamrocks were on the losing side of the regional championship on their own court against Maine South.
Horton, who still lives in Chicago, transferred because his family was moving and the commute to St. Patrick would have been too long. It is a choice he does not regret.
“I definitely made the right decision,” said Horton. “I have grown as a person and I have grown as a player.”
Even though Horton is comfortable with the results so far, the transition to a new school and team was not seamless.
“It has been kind of difficult, but the team, they have picked me up,” said Horton. “They tell me, ‘Come on, we believe in you, you can do this.’
“Finding my role (has been difficult). It took me a long time to find what I actually should do, on offense or defense. But now, it is like lock down on defense. They count on me for locking down on defense, so that is what I focus on.”
St. Joseph coach Gene Pingatore has had players transfer in before, so he’s seen how they need time to adapt to their new surroundings.
“He has done well, he has emerged as our best defensive player and done a good job for us the entire year,” Pingatore said. “He is a little different than I expected. I thought he was going to be a big-time scorer. He is very unselfish and distributes the ball.
“I knew he was going to be a good player for us, I just expected him to be a different kind of player. He has fit in, there is no question.”
In addition to adjusting on the court, Horton also had to make the transition to a new school environment.
“It is kind of similar because they are both Lasallian Brothers schools, so I did not really miss anything,” said Horton. “I think what surprised me the most is that everyone is family oriented. They pick me up like I have been here all four years.”
Horton knew some of his Chargers teammates before he transferred, including A.J. Patty, who he has known since the fourth grade, he guessed.
“He is pretty important because he is a senior,” Patty said. “We have a real young team. We have two sophomores starting (Jordan Ash, Glynn Watson) and a junior starting (Paul Turner). It was kind of good for another senior to come in and play with me in these situations.
“I was really excited (when he transferred) and it turns out now we are really good friends. We do stuff together and he has become like my brother.”
Regardless of what happens at Thursday’s sectional semifinal at Nazareth, where the Chargers were scheduled to face St. Ignatius, Horton has already advanced further than last season.
“It is very exciting (to play in the sectional),” said Horton. “I was crushed last year.”