The annual Jack Tosh Holiday Classic always serves as a mid-season check for many teams in terms of both their development and outlook for for the second half of the season. Hosted by York High School, the tournament offers a plethora of teams playing in a mad dash of games over a five-day span that culminates on New Years Eve (Dec. 26-31).
Aside from enjoying all the hoopla surrounding the tourney, the Lyons Township High School boys basketball team gained a measure of revenge against area rival Riverside-Brookfield in the quarterfinals of this year's 45th edition of the tourney.
After losing to the host Bulldogs by 20 points (72-52 on Dec. 1), the Lions won the rematch 70-62 at Tosh on Dec. 28. Trailing 26-24 at halftime, LTHS outscored the Bulldogs by 10 in the third quarter to create enough breathing room for the win as the teams scored 23 points apiece in the fourth.
The Lions' Tyrese Shines and Grant Niego shared top-scoring honors with 19 points apiece on 17 and 18 shots respectively. Nolan Niego, Grant's older brother, contributed 14 points, four rebounds and two assists, while Michael Niedermeyer finished with seven points and three rebounds.
LTHS shot well from the field (24-for-49; 48.9 percent) and exceptionally well from the free throw line (18-for-20; 90 percent). The Lions also won the rebounding battle, 27-21, against RBHS.
The Bulldogs' Zach Vaia (17 points), Andrew Veon (16 points, 9 rebounds), Charles Terry (12 points, 7 rebounds) and Reggie Loury (12 points) all scored in double figures.
Downers Grove South ended the Lions' bid for a tourney title in the semifinals. The Mustangs pulled out a 59-55 overtime victory. Nolan Niego, who netted a game-high 25 points on 9 of 17 shooting, fueled a Lions' comeback in the fourth quarter to force overtime. The 6-foot-3 Shines contributed 14 points, 11 rebounds and five assists.
Justin Eagins (21 points, 8 rebounds) and Wes Hooker (19 points, 10 rebounds) paced the Mustangs.
In the third-place game, St. Laurence rallied after a sluggish first quarter to beat the Lions 78-61. Trey Davis and Jeremiah Williams scored 17 points each for the Vikings, while Nolan Niego also scored 17 to go with four rebounds and three assists. Shines had 15 points and six rebounds and Niedermeyer contributed nine points.
LTHS notched victories against Lake Forest (66-50) and Metea Valley (73-38) in the first and second rounds, respectively.
In other games for RBHS, the Bulldogs went 3-0 capped off by a 65-47 victory against Wheaton North. The Falcons led 29-24 at the haf; however, RBHS responded by outscoring Wheaton North 41-18 in the second half. The Bulldogs dominated the boards (27-13) and made 17 of 23 shots inside the three-point arc.Terry led the way with a double-double of 19 points and 10 rebounds. Hanley added 16 points and Vaia 11.
RBHS edged Naperville North 62-57 in the second round at Tosh. Veon, who provides an interior presence, showed off his versatility by making 5 of 7 3-pointers to finish with a game-high 21 points. He also pulled down six rebounds. Senior Patrick Hanley (20 points) also caught fire from the perimeter, making 6 of 12 treys, while Vaia added 14 points, eight assists and four steals. The Bulldogs made 13 of 30 attempts on treys, while the Huskies went 6-for-13 on 3-pointers.
In their tourney opener, Vaia and Veon scored 14 points each to power the Bulldogs past McHenry 64-36. Veon also had five boards and five assists, while Terry chipped in 10 points, six rebounds, four assists and two steals.
York squeaked by Downers Grove South 65-62 in the Tosh final. The host Dukes won their third Tosh title since 2012. LTHS won the championship in 2009 and RBHS in 2001
After an extended break post-Tosh, LTHS resumes action with a pair of conference road games at Downers Grove North (Jan. 9 at 7:30 p.m.) and at Proviso West (Jan. 11 at 6 p.m.).
RBHS (12-3, 4-0 Metro Suburban) hosts Brother Rice on Tuesday, Jan. 8 in a non-conference game. Tip-off is 7 p.m.
Nazareth Academy struggles at tourney
The Roadrunners lost three of four games at the Tosh tourney. Darnell Hanson (15 points) and Tagen Pearson (12 points) led Nazareth to a 45-40 victory over Minooka in a third-round action. Daine Hanson and Connor Fritzsche added six points apiece. Nazareth shot well against the Indians, making 17 of 31 shots and also went 9-for-12 at the charity stripe.
In other games, the Roadrunners lost to St. Laurence (84-62), Lemont (68-57) and Glenbard East (63-42).
Nazareth hosts De La Salle on Saturday, Jan. 5 at 3:30 p.m.