High-flying Javon Freeman steps up in the fourth quarter to lead Young past Lincoln Park

Javon Freeman floats to the rim against Lincoln Park in the third quarter, Wednesday 03-07-18. Worsom Robinson/For the Sun-Times.

Young’s Javon Freeman will be remembered as one of the city’s high flyers. He’s a top-tier athlete that glides through the air.

But that grace and style wasn’t what the Dolphins needed on Wednesday in Riverside. Lincoln Park led by two after three quarters of the Class 4A Riverside-Brookfield sectional semifinal.

Young needed baskets and stops. Freeman, a Valparaiso recruit, answered the call. He scored 12 of his 29 points in the fourth quarter to lead the Dolphins to a 68-64 win.

“Freeman was big time because that is what he is,” Young coach Tyrone Slaughter said.

The game was tied at the two minute mark when Freeman attacked the basket on consecutive possessions to give the Dolphins a four-point lead. The Lions never got closer than three after that.

“As a leader I have to do that in the fourth quarter, it is a must,” Freeman said. “I’m the guy.”

Lincoln Park senior Terrence Shannon, a 6-6 point guard, was a complete unknown when the season began. That has changed over the past two months. He was finished with 16 points and 12 rebounds, but fouled out with three minutes to play.

“If he doesn’t foul out we win the game,” Lions coach Pat Gordon said. “This was one of his most complete games as far as his focus on both ends of the floor.”

Shannon picked up a scholarship offer from Austin Peay immediately after the game. That probably was just the first of several to come this week.

“[Lincoln Park] played hard and they played together,” Slaughter said. “Pat did a really good job with that group of guys. We played like crap today but we are still moving on.”

Point guard Xavier Castaneda scored nine for the Dolphins (25-7) and junior Myles Baker added seven. Justin Boyd’s eight rebounds were key for Young, which is really undersized.

“Throughout the year I’ve known that we need a rebounder so I’ve tried to shift into that role a bit,” said Boyd, who is 6-4. “I’ve been doing a pretty decent job of it.”

Junior Chris Roberts scored 23 for the Lions (19-10) and freshman Ismail Habib added eight points.

“We’ve come a long way as a program,” Gordon said. “The work started last spring when last season ended, the guys knew what needed to be done and committed themselves to it. I’m excited to see what they can achieve next season to keep us moving forward.”

Young, the defending Class 4A state champions, will face Curie in the sectional title game on Friday. The Condors have a significant size advantage.

“Sixteen teams are left and we are one of them,” Slaughter said. “There are some daunting teams ahead of us. Every year we haver ever won the state championship the road getting out of here has been the toughest. I feel really good about the winner of this supersectional winning the state championship. Our challenge is to be the team that gets out.”

Freeman says the plan for Curie is pretty simple: “We are gonna run fast. Real fast.”

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