Rebounding is critical for Payton — both this year and in the future


Payton guard Sam Algas snares an offensive rebound vs. Morton.

Note: This story, which is over 590 words, was free until 11 a.m. on Jan. 31. It is now available via a one-time payment of 47 cents or a subscription to The Public League. Each article/subscription purchased helps ensure that Chicago Public League football and boys basketball receive this type of coverage beyond the 2016-2017 academic year. You can view and purchase photos from the Payton-Morton game here

By: Eric Van Dril   |   Jan. 31, 2017

Payton enters each game with a magic number and a goal.


The number is 10.

The young Grizzlies’ goal is to keep each of their opponents under that many offensive rebounds. Doing so has been difficult at times.

“Our guys do a pretty good job of trying to contest shots, but we’ve got to do a better job of finishing plays on defense with rebounds. It’s a huge Achilles’ heel for us,” Payton coach Quinn Peterson said. “(Ten) is like our magic number. When we do that, we’ve won. But it’s really hard for us to do that. We’ve got young guys and they kind of get bumped and pushed around a little bit. We’ve just got to get tougher.”

Payton is at a natural disadvantage in most of its games, especially in the White-North.

Not only are the Grizzlies young — they started a freshman, two sophomores and two juniors against Morton on Sunday, Jan. 29 — but they are often smaller and less athletic than their opponents.

That was the true against Morton, who grabbed 14 offensive rebounds in its 52-45 victory. The Grizzlies (7-14) put up a strong fight despite the taller Mustangs’ second-chance opportunities and the fact they shot 28 more free throws. They couldn’t prevail, however.

Payton, which has just one player who is taller than 6-foot-2, has experienced similar struggles in its matchups with Mather and Schurz. The White-North’s two-best teams are taller, older and more athletic.

“We are a small team,” Payton junior guard Vince Scalise said. “It’s hard when you’ve got guys who are like a foot taller than you. But there are no excuses. We’ve got to box out.”

Payton forward Charlie Pillsbury added: “It’s a whole team effort. … Everyone’s got to box out. Everyone’s got to go hard for the ball.”

It’s also important to be tough, Pillsbury said, and not be intimidated when battling a player like Mather senior forward Dolapo Olayinka. Olayinka is 6-foot-5 and very athletic. He regularly finishes conference games with double-digit rebounds.

“You’ve got to hit him hard with your butt on the first play and send a message,” Pillsbury, a 6-foot-2 sophomore, said. “You’ve just got to keep fighting.”

Boxing out, fighting for boards and rebounding as a team are three important aspects of rebounding effectively for Payton.

Another is instincts, Peterson said.

Instincts and continuing to fight are two reasons why Pillsbury grabbed a team-best nine rebounds against Morton (7-11) and blocked three shots.

“A big part of (rebounding) with our guys is instincts and them playing in games,” Peterson said. “Us playing in open gyms and us playing in summer leagues is going to be something that really helps us out because we’re a step behind on a lot of things. And that just comes from having instincts to go and get the basketball.”

Building strength will be another major point of emphasis during the upcoming offseason.

Payton has continued to lift weights during this season. The Grizzlies do so on Monday mornings and after practice on Thursdays, according to Scalise.

“(Peterson) is definitely trying to help us out in that regard because we’re playing against grown men, basically,” Scalise said. “Whatever we can get, we need.”

In-season lifting has helped Payton’s players improve upon their strength, Pillsbury added. The Grizzlies figure to lift more often during the spring, summer and fall.

That should help Payton hit its magic number more consistently.

“Strength and athleticism are our biggest weaknesses,” Pillsbury said, “so if we work on them in the offseason, we’ll be good for next year.”


By | January 31st, 2017|Basketball, Payton|

3 stars: Morton 52, Payton 45 (Jan. 29, 2017)


Morton defeated Payton 52-45 at Northside on Sunday, Jan. 29. The Grizzlies are now 7-14 overall.

The Public League’s 3 stars

1. So. G Detalian Brown, Morton. Brown led the Mustangs in scoring with 16 points. He also had a game-high four steals.

2. Jr. G Vince Scalise, Payton. Scalise led all scorers with 18 points. He hit a pair of 3-pointers in both the first and fourth quarters.

3. Sr. C Tyric Edwards, Morton. Edwards finished with seven points and a game-best 11 rebounds.


By | January 29th, 2017|3 stars, Basketball, Payton|

Photo gallery: Lane Tech 58, Payton 44 (Dec. 21, 2016)


Lane Tech pulled away from Payton thanks to the Indians’ outstanding third quarter on Wednesday, Dec. 21. You can read The Public League’s story here.

This gallery has been removed in order to make this website run as quickly as possible. The photos in it can now be found, viewed and purchased here.

By | December 23rd, 2016|Basketball, Lane, Payton, Photo gallery|