Lyons Township High School girls basketball coach Paul Krick would prefer that no one knew about Gaby Galassini’s free-throw shooting prowess.
But that cat is already out of the bag.
Galassini is shooting 85.1 percent from the line, a number that will only go up after she sank 10-of-10 attempts, all in the second half, in Saturday night’s 50-39 West Suburban Conference Silver Division victory over Oak Park and River Forest in La Grange.
“[The key is] just going up there every time having confidence I’m going to make it,” Galassini said. “I like it. I feel confident and I know my teammates are pretty confident in me, so I don’t mind taking [pressure] free throws.”
Galassini, a 5-5 senior guard, said her perfect showing from the line is unusual, though Krick said he’s seen it before. Galassini made 97 out of 100 attempts during a summer challenge, including 54 in a row.
Galassini’s shooting was needed because the visiting Huskies (8-11, 0-4) gave the Lions a stiff test. OPRF led 17-8 at the end of the first quarter and shook off a 21-8 run by LT to surge in front, 36-31, on a three-pointer by Emily Schreck late in the third quarter.
None of that action surprised the Lions.
“No, I think every team in this conference is really good,” Galassini said. “We didn’t come in thinking we’d get an easy win, so we kind of expected it to be a pretty good brawl.”
The game lived up to the billing, with the Huskies making four three-pointers in the first quarter and forcing the Lions to play more man-to-man defense than they normally do.
“It shows you that this is a game of adjustments,” Krick said. “You put your game plan together and scout other teams and see how they handle things and then you come in to the game and all of a sudden you can’t locate where their shooters are.
“It forces you to play some man more than we anticipated, so that is a credit to them. They have many girls who can knock down the three and they did.”
The Huskies have been relegated to spoilers in the Silver race and the nearly handed the Lions (11-2, 5-0) their first league loss. OPRF has had a lead in all of their conference games.
“In the first half they just came out wanting it more,” Galassini said. “They played more aggressive than us and so at halftime we just talked about how we wanted this so we had to come out and play like we wanted it more.”
Even so, the Lions still trailed 36-33 after three quarters. They responded by outscoring the Huskies 17-3 in the fourth quarter. Galassini, who had a game-high 13 points to go with four assists and four rebounds, made two free throws to put LTHS ahead to stay, 38-36, with 6:49 left and Nina Scaramella followed with her third three-pointer.
Schreck, who led OPRF with 12 points, all on three-pointers, drained a trey to pull the Huskies within 41-39 at the 5:54 mark but the visitors did not score again and Galassini sank six more foul shots. OPRF freshman Maeve Nelson had nine points, five rebounds and four steals and Madison Siler added six points, sinking two of OPRF’s eight three-pointers. Callie Shelton had six points and 13 rebounds.
Scaramella finished with 11 points, while Vicki Swift added eight points and Emily Pender five points and 13 rebounds for LTHS, which snapped a two-game losing streak. The Lions finished sixth at the Wheaton North Falcon Classic, suffering their first two losses of the season.