LTHS junior guard Jackson Niego (3) scored six points during the Lions' 49-44 win over Burlington Central on Jan. 17 to take home the Burlington MLK Tournament title. | File 2022

The Lyons Township High School boys basketball team responded to another tough task on Jan. 17.

The Lions played Burlington Central for the championship of the Martin Luther King Jr. Tournament on the Rockets’ home court – and then quickly trailed 11-2.

“We had some good looks at the basket that rolled out,” LTHS coach Tom Sloan said. “Fortunately, the guys kind of weathered the storm and settled in.”

The Lions (16-3) soon recovered and went on to win 49-44 to also snap the Rockets’ 12-game winning streak.

LTHS seniors Tavari Johnson and Billy Bach along with junior Nik Polonowski were named to the all-tournament team. The three also were honored at York’s Jack Tosh Classic, where the Lions finished second to Glenbard West.

Johnson had 14 points against Burlington Central, Bach had 13 and Polonowski eight with five rebounds. Jackson Niego and Graham Smith each had six points with Smith adding nine rebounds.

Threes by Polonowski helped LTHS close to 18-14 by the end of the first quarter. The Lions pulled ahead after holding the Rockets (17-3) to three points in the second quarter and seven in the third.

When Burlington Central made a late charge, four late free throws by Bach sealed the victory.

“Playing that was almost like a regional championship against a team as good as Burlington Central,” Sloan said. “They’re on their home floor with a good crowd. It was a good experience. You can’t really simulate something like that in a nonconference game. That’s the benefit of playing in a tournament, where both teams are playing for something.”

During early round tournament games on Jan. 15, LTHS defeated Marian Central Catholic 85-55 and DeKalb 65-64 in overtime.

Johnson (20 points) hit a shot in the lane to give the Lions the one-point overtime lead. The Barbs had a chance to win, but their running 10-foot shot under pressure from Polonowski went off the rim. Johnson also scored 22 against Marian Central.

LTHS moved to 5-1 in the West Suburban Conference Silver Division with its 59-53 victory at York on Jan. 11. Johnson (22 points), Polonowski (12) and Aidan Sullivan (11) scored in double figures.

LTHS girls remain perfect in conference

The Lyons Township High School girls basketball team (18-3) moved to 9-0 in the West Suburban Conference’s Silver Division by beating York 43-26 on Jan. 11 and Proviso West 69-52 on Jan. 15.

Izzy Lee scored a then personal-best 24 points against York and followed that with 26 against Proviso West.

Hailey Markworth scored 12 points against Proviso West. Olivia Mezan added nine against York.

On Jan. 17, Ally Cesarini scored a career-high 22 points in the Lions’ 63-55 victory at Batavia. Markworth (11 points) and Mezan and Lee (10) also scored in double figures.

Lions wrestlers on a roll

The Lyons Township wrestling team continued its recent dual success by beating rival Hinsdale Central Friday.

Victories for the Lions (7-9, 1-2 in WSC Silver) included juniors Zion Nix and Mark Calzada and senior team captains Cooper King and Cooper Schodrof, who both just recently returned to the lineup.

In other big wins, the Lions defeated No. 21-ranked Conant 35-34 on Jan. 17 at Libertyville and No. 17-ranked Antioch 37-35 en route to going 3-0 at the Riverside-Brookfield High School mega duals on Jan. 8. LT also defeated Palatine 63-9 and Johnsburg 60-18.

RBHS gymnast all-around winner at Geneseo

Riverside-Brookfield High School freshman Lia Christiansen won vault (9.0), floor exercise (8.3) and all-around (32.85) and was second on uneven parallel bars (7.45) in a Jan. 12 triangular meet at Geneseo.

The Bulldogs (125.75) defeated U-46 Co-op (122.25) and lost to the host Maple Leafs (126.90). Annabel Krueger shared third on balance beam (8.2).

Lyons Township High School’s gymnasts finished eighth (130.075) at Fremd’s Mari-Rae Sopper Invitational on Jan. 17. Annmarie Holmes tied for 12th on floor (9.25) and Tia Bojic tied for 19th on vault (8.6).