By Melvin Tate
The Lyons Township High School girls basketball team put together one of its best efforts this season on Jan. 10 at home as the Lions roared past Hinsdale Central 69-42 in the annual "Pink-Out" game.
The purpose of the event is to raise awareness about cancer. Proceeds from the sale of baked goods went toward charities and organizations that serve as support groups for cancer victims and their families, while at the same time raising money towards finding a cure for this dreadful disease.
For LTHS coach Meagan Hutchens and her team, this game took on added meaning.
"This year, it hit close to home," said Hutchens. "One of our captains, Elli Kosanovich, lost a close family friend, and this was to bring awareness to the ovarian cancer she had. There were a lot of community members here tonight to support her."
The game itself was never in doubt as LTHS scored the first eight points and never trailed. The Lions used an aggressive defense to force Hinsdale Central out of many of its offensive sets, which led to rushed shots along with numerous turnovers. LTHS led the Red Devils 20-9 after the first quarter and maintained a double-digit lead the rest of the way.
"We were coming off a rough game (a 38-37 victory over Schaumburg on Jan. 7), so we wanted to have fun, shut them down defensively, and just let our offensive game come," said Hutchens. "We knew we could approach them inside, (but) we wanted to hit from outside. When our outside game is working, we're a hard team to stop. Tonight, our shots were falling; it felt good and I'm proud of the girls for bouncing back."
Courier reaches 1,000 career points
LTHS senior forward Lily Courier reached 1,000 career points with a three-point basket at the 3:26 mark of the first quarter. The game was paused for a brief ceremony as Courier was presented with a poster symbolizing the achievement, and afterwards she was gracious.
"It's pretty exciting," said Courier, a Lewis University signee. "I feel I've worked hard, and it's finally paid off. We've been waiting for this game, and it's nice it happened."
"A lot of family and friends came out to support Lily," Hutchins added. "I've had her in the program since she was a freshman, and it's been special to see her grow over the years."
Courier and junior guard Lindsey Hahn each finished with a game-high 17 points for LTHS. Kosanovich added 13 points and 4 rebounds, while sophomore Izzy Lee contributed 9 points off the bench for the Lions (10-7 overall, 5-2 in West Suburban Silver).
Lanie Randle was the only Red Devil player to reach double-digit scoring, finishing with 12 points. Kendall Butler added 9 points and Tessa Howe 7 for Hinsdale Central (2-9, 0-5).
After seeing several players - including Courier - miss time due to injury, it appears that LTHS has returned to full strength and poised to have a strong second half of the season. Hutchens feels having a deeper roster will make a difference, particularly when facing league teams the second time around.
"We're approaching the second half of our conference season," Hutchens said. "We faced injuries and missed Lily [Courier] through much of the first half, but now it's going to be exciting to see how much we've grown when we face these teams again."