LINCOLN PARK — Henry Peters picked the right night for the “best game” of his life.
The Francis W. Parker School senior scored a career-high 27 points Friday against neighborhood rival Latin School of Chicago at Quest Multisport Complex.
“I was trying not to think and just play my game,” said Peters, a 6-foot-1 guard, who drained a mix of threes, mid-range buckets and teardrop layups.
The blaze of scoring helped lead the Colonels to their second straight IHSA 2A boys basketball Regional championship in a 60-47 win over Latin.
It was the kind of performance first-year Parker coach Matthew Muhammad has been looking for from Peters all season.
“We knew he was capable of it. It was just a matter of executing,” he said.
Peters, who knocked down four threes, came into the game on a hot steak. Before the match, he advanced to the Sectional round of the IHSA 2A three-point contest.
“It gave me a chance to test out the rims and get some extra shots up,” he said.
Muhammad said his game plan was, in part, predicated on the expanded court, which is 10 feet longer than Parker’s home floor.
“We wanted to speed things up and pressure them,” he said. “Just take advantage of the space and force them into mistakes.”
Freshman Marc Taylor said he’d played on the court in youth leagues and preferred the open floor.
“I actually like it better than the smaller courts. It gives you more space to do what you want to do,” he said.
The 6-foot-6 forward finished with 11 points and a surge of blocks and rebounds.
“Marc played smart and dribbles the ball really well for a big guy,” Muhummad said.
The Parker crowd playfully chanted “He’s a freshman,” as they have all season.
Latin’s senior backcourt provided the brunt of the scoring for the Romans.
Kyle Robinson, a 6-foot-5 guard, finished with 12 points, including 10 in the first half. Julian Passman, a 5-foot-10 guard, scored 10.
Latin trailed Parker by one point after the first quarter, but fell behind 27-17 at halftime. Peters’ 15 second-half points helped widen the gap.
“I’ve been psyching myself out mentally, so I just tried to play my game,” he said. “It worked.”
Latin made a final push in the fourth quarter. With two minutes left in the game, Latin senior Gerald Porter nailed a three from the corner to cut Parker’s lead to six.
But Taylor streaked to the other end of the floor for a quick bucket to help Parker pull away for good.
It was the third time this season the teams have played each other. Parker won two of its three matches, both by double-digits.
With 19.3 seconds remaining, Peters checked out of the game and exchanged high fives with his teammates.
“If we keeping playing together, I think we have a chance,” he said.
Parker plays Michele Clark Academic Preparatory High School at 7 p.m. Tuesday at Joliet Central High School.
Parker ended the season at 18-8, and 17-5 in conference play.