Lyons Township girls basketball coach Katie Meyers and Chicago Bulls head coach Tom Thibodeau have more in common than you might think. In fact, both bench generals enter their third campaign of work triggering impressive team turnarounds of the Lions and Bulls. While the Bulls’ recent two-year run of success is well-documented, Meyers quietly guided LT to a 16-11 record last season, a considerable upgrade from 2010’s 9-17 mark in her debut as head coach of the Lions.
With all due respect to coach “Thibs” though, Meyers’ coaching mentality most closely mirrors former John Wooden, the legendary former UCLA coach.
“I believe in John Wooden’s philosophy that success isn’t necessarily measured in wins, losses and championships for athletes,” Meyers said. “Success is something much bigger than that. It comes from constant and never ending improvement. That will always be our goal as a staff and program.”
If the Lions continue their upward trend of improvement both in the results ledger and overall development of its players, West Suburban (Silver) Conference opponents will have their hands full this season.
Despite the loss of three key members in Colleen Connors, Maggie Orlowski and Clare Polega to graduation, LT welcomes back several rotation players, notably Ashanti Davis, Victoria Swift, Kayla Morrissey and Sara Beck.
Davis, an all-conference player last season, is a senior guard who can impact a game at both ends of the floor with her scoring ability and defensive prowess. Swift is a sharp-shooting sophomore guard who developed her off-the-dribble attack game during the offseason. Like Davis, Beck lends plenty of experience and talent as a strong senior scorer/rebounder. Morrissey is a very skilled junior guard known for doing a lot of the dirty work for LT, whether it’s taking a charge or diving for a loose ball.
Providing backcourt depth, LT features a trio of talented players in Taylor Bastyr, Stacy Demes and Gaby Galassini.
“We want to improve upon last season in terms of scoring capability and our toughness,” Meyer said. “This year, our goals are to hit the floor in loose ball situations, sprint and pass in transition, and handle ball pressure and intense man-to-man pressure with more poise. We are looking to attack the hoop more aggressively, while increasing our defensive pressure.”
With the West Suburban (Silver) Conference race pegged as relatively wide open, Proviso West, LT and Hinsdale Central headline a crowded pack.
“Our conference is tough this year,” Meyers said. “Every team has a better squad [than last year]. It’s going to be an interesting and fun race, and this type of competition is what it’s all about.”
Hosting its own Thanksgiving tournament, LT (2-0) won a pair of games over the weekend, defeating Queen of Peace 51-25 (led by Davis’ 14 points, 6 rebounds) and also topping Oak Forest 68-42. The Lions resume play with three more games this week, before opening conference competition at Proviso West on Saturday, Dec. 1 (2:30 p.m.).