After splitting a pair of games at the Tosh Holiday Classic, the Lyons Township boys basketball team faced the unenviable task of playing three games over a 20-hour span to close out the tournament. While sweeping three wins in that quirky scheduling scenario might not quite be mission impossible, it proved too much to ask for the Lions who captured one victory in three tries.
Lyons opened its three-game tester with a 60-56 loss to St. Ignatius. Sam Cybulski led the Lions with 15 points while Matt Mrazek (11 points) and Chris O’Reilly (10 points) also reached double figures. The Lions struggled at the free-throw line, making only 6-of-17 attempts.
With a 9 a.m. tipoff the following morning, an understandably sluggish LT fell behind Palatine 28-16 before rallying for a 63-59 win. O’Reilly (20 points) and Tosh All-tournament team selection Jarryd Heath netted 18 points apiece in the second half to fuel the Lions’ comeback. Cybulski chipped in 14 points.
Seven hours later on Saturday, the Lions faded in the second half en route to a 58-51 loss to Naperville North. For the tournament, LT finished with a 2-3 record.
“Our game against St. Ignatius was quite a battle,” LT coach Tom Sloan said. “I think both teams were spent after the game. The next day , both [LT and St. Ignatius] lost the second game of that day. I think we ran out of gas against Naperville North. That’s not an excuse, but it’s tough to play three games over 20 hours against good competition.”
In their tourney opener, the Lions routed Lane Tech 71-37. LT seized a 22-4 lead at the end of the first quarter and cruised the rest of the way as Heath scored 18 points. Matt Aikens had 12 points, six rebounds and six steals. Harrison Niego and O’Reilly tallied 10 points apiece. The versatile O’Reilly also recorded eight rebounds and seven assists.
“We played very well at both ends of the floor,” Sloan said. “We had 12 baskets in transition and our guys shot the ball well.”
In Game 2, Waubonsie Valley bested LT 65-55 despite a standout effort from Heath. The Lions’ senior sharpshooter tied a school record by sinking seven three-pointers in one game. Waubonsie Valley star Jared Brownridge, a Santa Clara University recruit, countered Heath’s marksmanship with 22 points of his own, including four baskets from beyond the three-point arc.
“I felt like we improved from start to finish at Tosh,” Sloan said. “The biggest thing is it allows [LT assistant coach] Jeff Johnson and myself an opportunity to really evaluate our team and individuals strengths and weaknesses.
“We’re going to implement some major and minor changes at both ends of the floor going forward.”
LT (6-8, 1-3) hosts West Suburban (Silver) Conference rival Hinsdale Central on Friday at 7:30 pm. On Saturday, LT visits the United Center to take on Prospect at 1:30 p.m. before the Bulls vs. Suns game at 7 p.m.