Romans Wiped Out in the White Out!

Colonels defeat Romans in the White Out 52-48


Photo credit: Kapil Chaudhari

Owen Stepan (left) blocks the shot of a Latin player.

Friday, December 9 at Alumni Hall on the DePaul University campus, the Colonels made sure that history would not repeat itself holding off the furious Latin rally to win 52-48 in a nailbiter. In last year’s White Out game, the Colonels lost a late lead and fell to the Romans, which was the first of three consecutive losses to their rival. The outpouring of emotion in the locker room after the game reflected the importance of breaking their three game losing streak and setting the tone for the rest of the season. 

To open the gates, Parker’s stifling defense led by Owen Stepan who got two steals in the first quarter, held Latin without a basket in their first six possessions. Stepan finished the night with five steals and a block. In the first quarter, the Colonels outscored the Romans 11-8, and forced the Romans to go 4-11from the floor. David led the Colonels on the offensive end to start the game taking four shots and making three, including a two-handed dunk which greatly energized the Parker crowd. David finished the night with 25 points on 9 of 17 from the floor.

It was more of the same in the second for the Colonels. David continued to lead the way in scoring including knocking down a big 3-pointer at the seven minute mark of the quarter. The noise created by the Colonel fans clearly had an effect on the opposing Romans, as Latin’s Aidan Hart went to the line, missed the first and airballed the second free throw. The Romans struggled offensively in the first half shooting just 36% from the floor and 20% from three.

 To close the half, Parker went on a 14-5 run and went into the locker room leading the Romans 28-18. Caleb David was clearly the best player on the court for the first 16 minutes of the game, putting up 16 points and three assists, going 7-11 from the floor and 2-3 from beyond the arc. After the game, David said, “This game was personal. We were 0-3 against them last year, and I just had to come out and hit them in their mouth early, so they couldn’t do nothin’ .”

Latin came out of halftime looking like a new team, going on a 10-2 run. The Colonels were struggling offensively to start the half, scoring just two points in the first six minutes, including two turnovers from David, and an airball three from Stepan at the 2:30 mark of the third. The struggles seemed to deflate the Colonel crowd until Stepan went to the line at the 2:08 mark of the quarter to hit two massive free throws. Those free throws along with a huge three from Miles Johnson at the 1:23 mark, brought the crowd back to life, as the Colonels closed the quarter on a 9-2 run.

The fourth quarter started slowly, as both teams increased their defensive pressure. At the 4:50 mark of the fourth quarter, Latin broke through when guard Ryan McLoughlin hit a corner three to make it a two point game with just under five minutes to play. The Romans seemed to have gained the momentum, but Caleb seized the momentum back by hitting a massive triple at the 3:38 mark of the fourth. Parker struggled offensively in the fourth, but free throws from Pitts and Stepan both coming within the last two minutes, put the Colonels in a great position to win the ballgame. Colonel’s assistant coach Omni Smith said that the importance of free throw shooting was deeply communicated to his team leading up to this game. 

Latin did not go away easily. With 15 seconds left, Terrell Johnson was sent to the free throw line again for the Romans who hit one free throw making it a two point game. With seven seconds to go the Romans were down by two with a chance to tie or win the game, but they turned the ball over thanks to a deflection from Lucas Daskal to Caleb David, who  passed it up court to Pitts to seal the game with a layup at the buzzer that resulted in a four point Parker victory.

After the game, I spoke to Latin head coach Aubrey DeNard about how he felt about his team’s performance.  “I’m proud of the way my boys played,” said DeNard. “This is a good Parker team, and we showed a lot of resilience.”

Colonel’s coach Jarrick McGee made it very clear that he has a lot of confidence in his team moving forward. “We have proven that we can compete and beat good teams,” said McGee. McGee was also very pleased with the way his seniors played, stating that they really stepped up down the stretch in the fourth quarter.

In the post game, senior Captain Payton Pitts stated the importance of this win. “This means everything,” said Pitts. “I’m doing this for my teammates now and my teammates last year.”

Pitts also said how his team can continue their success moving forward. “We can’t be complacent,” said Pitts. “We want first place in the ISL this year, and we want a banner that reads 2023.”

The Colonels currently have an overall record of 5-3, and are 3-0 in conference play, as they sit atop the standings in the ISL (Independent School League).