Orr dominates Mt. Carmel, cruises to Class 2A state title

Raekwon Drake (25) is pumped up after taking down Mt. Carmel 59-39 in Class 2A state championship game. Worsom Robinson/ For Sun-Times

PEORIA—Orr has never been a basketball powerhouse and was unlikely to ever become one. The school sits just one mile west of two of the state’s historical juggernauts, Marshall and Westinghouse.

So when Lou Adams took over in 2012, he was realistic.

“I never thought I’d get to this moment,” Adams said. “I never thought I’d win a state championship. I’m happy, I’m happy.”

The Spartans dominated Mt. Carmel 59-39 in the Class 2A state title game on Saturday at Carver Arena.

Junior forward Raekwon Drake, an All-City and All-Area player, set the tone early. The athletic, 6-5 junior blocked shots and drained jumpers as Orr jumped out to a 16-4 lead. Drake finished with 17 points, four rebounds and four blocks.

“I knew they were going to sag off me so I had to have confidence in my shot,” Drake said. “It means a lot, I’m at a loss for words right now.”

Orr (23-5) was clearly the most athletic team in the tournament, but in the title game the Spartans showed their intelligence. They forced the tempo on defense and then settled down and extended possessions on offense to take advantage of their large lead.

“We played pretty good basketball this weekend, this is the smartest we’ve ever played,” Adams said.

Junior Tyron Mosley threw down three impressive dunks in the second half including a thundering putback and a tomahawk jam after driving down the lane.

Drake and Mosley used their long arms and shot blocking ability to hamper the effectiveness of Mt. Carmel’s two star big men, 6-9 Justin Carpenter and 6-8 Jackson Marcotte.

“Those bigs were better than I thought they would be,” Drake said. “But we had to come home with the win.”

This is Orr’s first state title in any sport.

“Our goal was to win,” Spartans junior Dannie Smith said. “I didn’t know it was going to happen. I didn’t know that until yesterday when they said we could make history. So I wanted to come out and do that, to be the first.”

Smith scored 19 points, dished out seven assists and four steals.

“We figured out that they couldn’t stick us on the perimeter, Smith said. “With me handling the ball I knew the big man couldn’t stick me so I just took my time.”

Orr had been an excellent three-point shooting team throughout the season. They won the title game without relying on that, shooting just 2-for-8 from three-point range.

“I think we’re a good basketball team, a very intelligent team,” Drake said. “We showed we can adjust to the situation.

Marcotte led the Golden Aces (29-5) with 17 points and six rebounds and Carpenter finished with eight points and nine rebounds.

“We came here to win two games this weekend and we didn’t get it done,” Mt. Carmel coach Tyler Buss said. “But when we look back on this, seeing how a community rallied behind us, it was a special weekend.”

Adams is looking forward to taking the trophy back home. He said it’s for the entire city, not just the west side.

“This means the world to Chicago Public Schools,” Adams said. “It shines a bright light on a good thing. We put in the work. We wanted it because we deserved it.”

RELATED STORIES: READ RICK TELANDER’S SERIES ON ORR’S BASKETBALL TEAM, ‘A SEASON UNDER THE GUN’

PART 1: At Orr, basketball — and the bleeding of a U.S. city

PART 2: Orr sits in the center of the storm

PART 3: Orr’s first game: gunfire, then tipoff

PART 4: Amid violence, a hope basketball leads to better things

PART 5: Where playgrounds have little to do with play

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30 comments

  • Coach

    All I have to say about the gpa and all that is that Randolph kid was accepted into Young then allowed to play for 3 years and finally booted before his senior year. The kid had passed only a handful of classes in 3 full years. They used him then spit him out. Why he was accepted into the “elite” magnet school….purely basketball. And then there was the nonsense with Curie when Alexander attended. However, that type of stuff is most likely happening across the state, not just in the city. It is only brought up when you have highly rated players. The IHSA eligibility rule is a joke though. You can have 6 D’s and an F and still be eligible to play.

    Regardless, Orr beat all comers and was crowned 2A State Champions. Unless a rule was violated, no one can ever take that away from those guys. Congrats to the school on their first ever state championship trophy.

  • Shaun beasley

    And what makes you think they don’t take graduation seriously, your not in class with those kids, your not in those kids homes. And you definitely ain’t in the hood watching what these kids go through, you rite they do take basketball seriously that’s why they so good and that’s the reason you saw the outcome in that 2a championship. Those kids are hungry they want out the hood, they wanna be better than the next, so much negativity surrounds them anything they see as a positive motivation in there lives they’ll go get it and they’ll play harder than the next cause they want that, that lil small community farm school don’t go through half the mess inner city kids go through, so them like your self can never relate to. That’s why you had the outcome in that game. Those kids are out in 43 degree weather with a hoodie honing there skills, but don’t think for a minute they don’t take graduation serious. No matter where you from. It starts in the house, and I’m quite sure they have great parents that stay on them about there grades just as much as basketball. Whitney young h.s you can’t even play sports let lone stay on the team unless you have a 2.0 GPA! And half there squad has a 3.0 or above. That’s a reality check! Educate your self before you speak on somthing you no nothing about, the best comment is no comment at all unless you walked in those kids shoes and go through what they go through.

  • Shaun beasley

    @norm so what about st.anthony who won class 1a title earlier. You saying there not champs? There champs in 1a, just like Orr are champs in 2a. Just like a champ will be crowned in 3a and 4a this up coming week. And what you mean to bad Orr won’t get the chance to play Simeon or Morgan park? There public schools from the public league! Just different conferences. They can face them anytime nonconfrence play, or even in the city playoffs! They put it into 4classes so other schools like a st.anthony and Orr academy can have a chance to compete.

  • Shaun beasley

    Some of these comments are sad, hating cause a team from the city won. But it’s deeper than that, y’all mad cause an all black city team beat a bunch of small town farm boys! And that just burns they butt, but here’s the truth, Orr won cause they play bigger and better competion. Do you know how much talent the city of Chicago has from your small schools to your bigger class school? Second you know how many teams with 6’8 or 6’9 players they faced that’s way better than the ones mt.carmel has? Orr faces players like that all the time wether it’s conference or non-confidence play. City schools even play schools from other cities or states. So come tournament time no matter what class your in they ready cause they been battle tested throughout the regular season, and I guarantee Mt.carmel doesn’t play the kind of competition City schools play, half the time these small farm schools beat up on each other but won’t play any bigger or tougher schools. Then come tournament time you think you got it all won cause you got a couple of big boys on your team. Till you run into that one school that ain’t scared and out plays your team dunking on your big men. Now you get all butt hurt cause you faced a team that out played y’all and you wanna bring race into it, well get over it! Play better competition like the city schools do. Plus we all know the best ball is played in the city of Chicago anyway!

  • Shaun beasley

    So I guess if Orr really isn’t the 2a state champ, I guess st.theresa who played earlier in the 1a championship really isn’t the state champ in 1a either then huh? Guess what! Times have changed in case you haven’t noticed. Orr academy 2a state champs!!!

  • Curtis D levy

    Orr state champion congratulations

  • anthony rodgers

    why do white america hate when young black men accomplish something that white young men couldn’t do? Get over it, Orr won.. They beat a team full of white players.. congrats Orr and Coach Lou..

  • ant

    Why do people hate when Black young men do something that white young men didn’t accomplish? Get over it. Congrats ORR and coach Lou..

  • Leegs1

    Two grade school kids throwing the word “idiot” around. And look who started it. Stupid is out of the cage! Just my opinion.

  • Norm

    Congrats to Orr! But winning the 2A title isn’t winning State. When there were only 2 classes was the 1A winner referred to as State Champs? No! Sad how these multiple classes destroys things. But in the big picture of life I guess it’s not that important

    • RealityCheck

      There are a lot more teams now. You want a school of 500 to be in the same class as a school of 5,000? Idiot.

      • Norm

        Again, they didn’t win State! They won the small school competition. Idiot!

        • RealityCheck

          Wrong. By your definition it wasn’t even possible for them to win State. You don’t make the rules idiot.

          • Norm

            It’s unfortunate that they are denied the chance to test themselves against the best. It’s not their fault. That’s why all of these classes are bad. If it was just 2 classes they could have had a chance to play Simeon, MP etc. But they are denied that chance. That’s the problem

          • Norm

            4 classes not 3.

    • Michael O'Brien

      Yes, when there were two classes the Class A winner was referred to as the state champs. Orr won state.

      • Norm

        Not the way I remember it.

        • Norm

          I forgot. This is the era of participation trophies

          • Leegs1

            Orr played within the rules. To call a state championship trophy a participation trophy is an insult. Just my opinion.

          • Norm

            To Leegs. They deserve congrats on winning everything they were allowed to. It’s not a knock on them. It’s the system. I didn’t mean their win was like a participation trophy. I’m referring to the general idea that we need to have so many classes to make it fair. Life isn’t fair. The biggest quite often have an advantage and win. In my opinion there is only one Best Team in State. I feel bad that it sounds like I’m coming down on Orr. Not at all. They did their job. I just don’t like the idea of lots of teams all saying ” we won state.”

          • RealityCheck

            3 out of 763 teams is a lot?

  • trey

    Congratulations to Orr and hopefully get to see a repeat next year.

  • Leegs1

    Congrats to Orr high school for winning state.

  • John Byrne

    On what basis do you assume that the school, Coach Adams and these young men do not take graduating seriously. It amazes me how people who have never walked in to a Chicago Public High School are so sure they know what is going on.
    Your predisposition to suppose these young men are not capable students says a lot more about you than it does them. Thanks for sharing in the joy of the moment and your support

    • Leegs1

      Well said, John.

    • RealityCheck

      62% graduation rate. 8% proficiency in math, 5% proficiency in reading. Rumor is that Coach Adams had to draw up their plays because his players can’t read. These guys should be students first. Have Michael follow up with these players 10 years from now. It will be a sad story.

      • Leegs1

        Hey Sperm Bank: how bout I pick you up and take you to the Simeon game. You can ride back on the Simeon team bus and talk to them about academics. Bump in the nite.

      • Tim from Evanston

        You might give them the same funding as the suburban schools get around the state. Also you might give them the computers and books the suburban schools have. My nephew went to Marshall and he didn’t have homework because there was not enough books to go around for homework. Any work he had had to be done in school with tattered and outdated textbooks. I’ll say before you come down on graduation rates and assuming kids can’t read, put your money where your mouth is and help the CPS schools with funding. African American kids will all the tools can achieve just as well and most of the time better than their fellow white students.

  • RealityCheck

    If only they took graduating as seriously as they take basketball. This will only make things worse. Sad.

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