Lyons Township High School junior Brady Chambers is a standout baseball pitcher slated to play at Michigan State. On Jan. 16, he provided huge relief in the role of closer for the boys basketball team.
Chambers’ rebound and two free throws with two seconds left sealed the Lions’ 60-57 victory over Burlington Central in the championship game of Burlington Central’s Rocket Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. Classic.
Seniors Nik Polonowski and Jackson Niego were named to the all-tournament team for the Lions (17-2), who won their pool by beating Marian Central Catholic 60-51 and DeKalb 62-55 on Jan. 14. The Lions led both games early before coming from behind in the second half.
“To have success in three close games against good teams is going to help us in situations as the season rolls along – guys making plays at important moments, free throws in tight situations,” LTHS coach Tom Sloan said.
Polonowski (14 points), Connor Carroll (12 points, 6 rebounds), Chambers (11 points), Niego (6 points) and Matthew DeSimone and Graham Smith (5 points each) fueled the victory over Burlington Central. LTHS led 48-41 after three quarters.
A 6-foot-6 reserve, Chambers had his third game in the last four with at least nine points.
“He’s been playing very well. We’ve had the opportunity to get him involved and he’s really flourished with the extra minutes and extra time,” Sloan said.
Top performers on Jan. 14 were Polonowski (20 points, 6 rebounds), Carter Reid (11 points, 5 rebounds), Carroll (8 points), Niego (8 points, 4 assists), Smith (8 points, 7 rebounds, 4 assists) and DeSimone (6 rebounds, 4 assists) against MCC and Polonowski (13 points), DeSimone (10 points), Niego (10 points), Chambers (9 points), Carroll and Reid (8 points each) and Smith (7 rebounds) against DeKalb.
In West Suburban Conference Silver play, the Lions suffered a 38-37 home loss – their first in the league — to Glenbard West on Jan. 10 on a last-second 3-pointer in the left corner off an inbounds pass from underneath the basket.
Polonowski had 24 points, followed by Reid (5 points), Smith (4 points, 10 rebounds), Niego (5 steals) and DeSimone (5 rebounds).
The Lions (5-1 in WSC Silver) are now tied for first in the loss column with Hinsdale Central (16-2, 4-1). The teams meet Jan. 20 in Hinsdale.
LTHS had just won its last conference game 39-38 over Downers Grove North on Jan. 6 on a late basket by Niego. The Lions led the Hilltoppers (11-7, 3-2) throughout the rematch on Jan. 10 and were up eight late with three minutes left before the Hilltoppers made three threes.
“It was a combination of [many factors]. It was kind of one of those days,” Sloan said. “Ultimately, it was just a rough outing and give Glenbard West credit. They played very well and made some big shots down the stretch.”
LTHS won 76-47 at Oak Park and River Forest on Jan. 12 behind Polonowski (18 points), Chambers (12 points, 7 rebounds), Niego (11 points), DeSimone (9 points, 5 assists), Reid (8 points, 4 rebounds), Smith (8 points), Carroll (4 assists) and Caleb Greer (4 points).