Hinsdale Central’s Matt Rafferty can put a star on last week after collecting another scholarship offer and a pair of Red Devils’ wins.
When Hinsdale Central meets Lincoln Park at 5 p.m. Saturday, the 6-foot-7 junior hopes to lead the Devils to their first opening round win at the Proviso West Holiday Tournament since 1966, when they beat Morton West 77-42. Last year, Hinsdale Central (6-2) suffered a heartbreaking, buzzer-beating loss to Stevenson, 56-54, in the opening round. After dropping the next game to Hillcrest, 61-59, the Devils went on a 12-game winning streak.
“[The Stevenson loss] turned us around a little bit,” Rafferty said. “That woke us up. We had a little fire under us after that loss.”
Hinsdale departed Proviso West after 1966 and has gone 4-9 since returning in 2009. There is not much history between the defending West Suburban Silver champions and Lincoln Park. The last time the Devils faced an opponent from the Chicago Public League, they defeated Von Steuben 57-38 in last year’s second round at Proviso West.
In this year’s second round, Hinsdale Central will play St. Joseph or Nazareth on Dec. 27. The tournament opener will be Hinsdale’s only contest in a span of 13 days.
“I think the [break] will be an advantage for us,” Rafferty said. “We’ll be well-prepared for the tournament. We are going in with a positive attitude. Coach [Nick Latorre] does a great job on preparation. That helps us a lot. We have worked hard in practice and will continue to push ourselves.”