Riverside-Brookfield’s 6-foot senior Kelsey Egger and Lyons Township’s 5-11 sophomore Ashanti Davis are at different stages of their respective high school basketball careers. Unfortunately, the two stars – one established and one budding – didn’t match up too often during the Lions’ 65-43 win over visiting RB on Saturday afternoon.
Limited by two fouls in the first quarter, Egger sat on the bench for a key stretch of the first half when the opportunistic Lions pushed out to a 36-21 lead. Coupled with the absence of Egger, RB didn’t help its cause by turning the ball over several times during the first quarter.
RB guard Kiley Rusen kept the Bulldogs (4-4) within relative striking distance by scoring seven of her team-high 14 points in the first quarter.
Egger scored 10 points and grabbed eight rebounds in the second half; however, Davis’ complete game effort of 19 points and nine rebounds complimented by the play of Colleen Connors (14 points) and Clare Polega (10 points, 7 rebounds) carried LT to victory.
The win was huge for the host Lions (3-6), who have already dropped several close games this season, including a 41-38 loss to York on Friday. The Lions’ lone conference win (44-34) came against rival Hinsdale Central as Davis scored 10 points to lead LT.
Lyons starting senior point guard Lindsay Esposito missed the game (sprained ankle) against RB. Even without their experienced point guard, the Lions impressed veteran RB coach Larry Rocco.
“I thought Ashanti Davis was outstanding,” Rocco said. “She’s very talented and [first-year LT head coach] Katie Meyers is a good coach. Both teams played hard.”
Rocco also praised the work of his own guards Maggie Zeleny (6 points) and Danielle Peco. The latter player, a transfer from Sandburg, has made an immediate impact for the Bulldogs this season.
“Danielle is probably our best three-point shooter along with Kiley Rusen,” Rocco said. “We’re a young team so it’s a learning process. The kids are still learning their roles within our system. I’m optimistic that we will get better as the season goes on.”
Prior to their area showdown with LT, the Bulldogs earned a valuable Metro Suburban Conference win by defeating Ridgewood 56-43. Trailing 34-32 at the half, RB rallied behind the inspired play of junior Meghan Orgler (12 points). Egger had a team-high 18 points and 14 rebounds, while junior Elena Duve chipped in 11 points and 12 boards.
Losing four starters off last year’s 27-4 club, Egger (15 points per game, 13 rebounds per game) has been an anchor for the talented but relatively inexperienced Bulldogs.
“Kelsey has been up with the varsity since her sophomore year,” Rocco said. “She’s a leader and one of the best players in our conference.”