The Lyons Township High School boys basketball team faced rival Hinsdale Central in the Lions’ annual “Blackout” game on Friday. After a promising start by LTHS, the Red Devils turned out the lights on their hosts to notch a 65-49 victory.

Hinsdale Central outscored the Lions 39-19 over the second and third quarters en route to a comfortable win. The game started differently with LTHS building a 17-5 lead before Hinsdale Central cut the deficit to 19-12 at the end of the first quarter.

Tied at 34 at halftime, Hinsdale Central took the lead for good early in the third quarter when junior guards Drew Sheperd and Chris Eck hit several three-pointers.

“Shepherd shot the ball very well,” LTHS coach Tom Sloan said. “In the second half, (Hinsdale Central) got several second-chance opportunities, which definitely made it hard to put together a comeback. We got a little bit impatient as their lead grew and took some quick shots.”

Junior swingman Connor Niego had a monster game for LTHS with 18 points and 17 rebounds. Noah Niego contributed 13 points and seven boards. Cawone Hester finished with five points and six rebounds, while guards Tyrese Shines and Nolan Delaney scored four points apiece.

LTHS made just 18 of 51 shots (35.3 percent) and 8 of 17 free throws (47.1 percent) with eight assists and 17 turnovers.

“(Hinsdale Central) played a lot more physical than us in the second half,” Connor Niego said. “We came out a little flat and didn’t match their physicality inside and outside.”

Despite coming up on the short end Friday night, the Lions appreciated the support of their home crowd against the rival Red Devils.

“I really love it,” Connor Niego said. “What this student body does and what this community does to support us is incredible. I love playing at LT more than anywhere else, especially in a game like this one.”

Sloan was hoping the Lions could have won the game as a tribute to seniors Jack Drogosz, Kyle Hornacek, Hester and Delaney.

“All four of our seniors are wonderful kids and they all give maximum effort in everything they do,” he said. “They are definitely great role models for the program. It would have been nice for us to win this one for them.”

Although the Lions are 8-13, the team possesses enough talent to threaten most opponents in the postseason.

“We are starting to gel more and more as the season goes on,” Connor Niego said. “I feel like we can get a little better defensively and we need to just keep moving the ball on offense. It’s about finding that flow we need to win games.

“I still feel like our team is progressing as the season goes on. Hopefully, we’ll be playing our best basketball by the state tournament.”

LTHS hits the road this week with games at Glenbard West on Wednesday, Feb. 17 (7:30 p.m.) and at Fremd on Saturday, Feb. 20 (7:45 p.m.).