At least the Lyons Township boys basketball team ensured a split at the United Center on Saturday. About six hours before the Bulls turned in a clunker, dropping a 97-81 decision to the Phoenix Suns, LT sparkled in a 65-36 win over Prospect in the afternoon.
“It’s always a great experience for our guys to play here on the Bulls home floor,” LT coach Tom Sloan. “Our players saw Derrick Rose walk by in the hallway, and they soaked in the atmosphere. Before we went out on the floor though, one of our players Matt Mrazek reminded everybody we’re here to play well and win a basketball game.”
The Lions (7-9) made good on Mrazek’s reminder by dominating the action against Prospect, particularly in the second and third quarters. Up 10-8 after the first quarter, LT went on a 14-3 run to build a 24-11 advantage at halftime. The Lions broke the game open with a 21-6 spurt in the third quarter to put away Prospect.
Sophomore guard Harrison Niego (20 points) made 7-of-13 shots and went 5-for-5 from the free-throw line to lead LT. Jarryd Heath and Connor Onion contributed eight points apiece.
“Everybody got in the game and we played well at both ends of the floor,” Sloan said. “The NBA three-point line can be a little deceiving and the court is bigger. We got on the court before the game to work on some drills and adjust accordingly.”
On Friday, visiting Hinsdale Central defeated LT 55-39 as Red Devils senior Brian Owens led the way with 16 points, six assists and two steals. Owens canned all five of his three-pointers in the first half to give Hinsdale Central a 34-24 edge at the half. The Red Devils (8-5, 4-1 West Suburban [Silver] Conference) shot a sizzling 55 percent (21-of-38) on the night.
Hinsdale Central also held another advantage, according to Sloan.
“Hinsdale Central has bigger athletes than we do at several positions,” he said. “When we pressured the ball in the second half, they countered by using their size advantage well. Overall, I thought we played okay. We had some good shots, but they didn’t fall for us.”
Chris O’Reilly led LT with 10 points. Heath scored eight points and Niego finished with seven points. Sam Cybulski also played well, particularly on defense, holding Owens to one point in the second half.
The Lions are back in action this weekend with a road game at Proviso West on Friday before hosting Kenwood, which is coached by former LT basketball star Jim Maley, on Saturday. Both games tip-off at 6 p.m.
“Proviso West is very athletic and applies tremendous pressure defensively,” Sloan said. “We need a good week of practice to get ready for them.”