Lyons Township holds key to conference title destiny

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By CHRIS PUMMER

With a pair of wins and another contender getting upset over the weekend, the Lyons Township girls' basketball team's hopes of a West Suburban (Silver) Conference title are alive and very well.

The Lions dispatched Oak Park and River Forest 54-47 on Friday night before crushing York 58-27 on Saturday. But just as important as the two LT wins was OPRF's 29-23 upset of Hinsdale Central.

It was Hinsdale Central that dealt the Lions (16-5, 8-1) their only conference loss of the season, and the Red Devils were unbeaten before falling on Saturday.

Both teams will play again Jan. 29. Both teams also have one loss in the conference, so the Lions hold the keys to their own conference destiny.

"It's going to come down to that game provided both teams take care of their remaining conference schedule," LT coach Dawn Schabacker said. "We still have to win out, but it will come down to which team is playing good ball down the stretch."

The Lions finished off a sweep of the Huskies on Friday, but it wasn't as easy as the 24-point blowout LT won last month. Despite breaking the Huskies out of their zone defense early by hitting some early 3-pointers, the Lions only lead 34-31 after three quarters.

For much of the third quarter, which saw the Huskies go on a 13-6 run, the Lions were without Mallory Heydorn, who spent time on the bench in foul trouble.

But Lauren Kazmierczak and Colleen Caplice helped fill the void, and with Heydorn back on the floor in the fourth quarter, the Lions were able to nurse the lead into a victory.

Kazmierczak scored 14 of her game-high 19 points in the first quarter and connected on 5-of-7 shots from beyond the arc for the game to help the Lions to a double-digit halftime lead. Caplice finished with 14 points and Heydorn had eight for the game.

"Oak Park is an improved team and a lot of different players really stepped up to help us win that game," Schabacker said. "Kazmierczak came out on fire and helped get us a lead and that was important."

The Lions didn't leave any room for doubt in Saturday's romp over York. Heydorn scored a team-high 24, Kazmierczak scored eight and Caplice and Lindsay Blazek each had six.

Amy Hochberg, Jessica Lee, Anna Friel and Becky Kiverts also chipped in points to make it eight Lions that found their way into the scoring column on Saturday. Schabacker was glad to see balance in the scoring, as well as minutes for her bench.

"We play a tough schedule and don't always have a chance for everyone to score or even get a chance to play," Schabacker said. "We got to see some nice things from everyone and got some people some playing time to keep them sharp so they're ready if we need more minutes down the stretch."

The Lions host Downers Grove North at 6 p.m. on Saturday They'll then have home and away games on Tuesday and Thursday, respectively, against Wheaton-Warrenville South and Buffalo Grove.

A week from Saturday is the rematch with Hinsdale Central. This time the Lions will get to see the Red Devils on their home floor.

"It's been a goal to win conference and it's nice to know we still have a chance at an outright title," Schabacker said. "Our conference has been such that no team has dominated from beginning to end. If we stay steady, we can meet that goal."

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