Despite a two-game slide, the Lyons Township boys' basketball team still landed on its feet over the weekend, and still controls its own destiny in the West Suburban (Silver) Conference.
After falling 56-50 to a fast-starting Oak Park and River Forest team Friday night, the Lions bounced back to beat Hinsdale Central 38-30 on Saturday to maintain a two-game lead over OPRF in the standings.
"What good right now is that we just have to worry about how we play and not about how someone else is playing," LT coach Conte Stamas said. "It would have been nice to win at home Friday, but we made it through a tough stretch the last two weeks and still managed to win three conference games on the road. We were looking at scores Friday and Saturday. Now we don't have to do that because if we take care of ourselves then we're in control."
OPRF (11-8, 5-3) opened Friday's game with a 12-0 run and still led 17-6 after one quarter. The Lions managed to tie the game at 21 with two minutes left before halftime, but the Huskies closed the half with six unanswered points before opening the second half with another bucket for an eight-point lead.
"I thought that was the key point in the game," Stamas said. "We just seemed to be fighting an uphill battle all night, and to see a swing like that within a couple minutes of basketball was too much to overcome."
LT came within 42-39 in the fourth quarter but would get no closer as the Huskies went to the free-throw line 25 times compared to only 13 shots from the charity stripe for the Lions. Adam Powers finished with a game-high 21 points with nine rebounds and Todd Nyberg chipped in 11.
It was the second straight loss for the Lions, who dropped a non-conference game the previous Tuesday on the road against Wheaton North 54-49 in overtime. In that game, LT lost a five-point lead to begin the fourth quarter.
Stamas thinks the extra game, coupled with only two days to practice for a pair of conference games, may have led to the letdown.
But if LT played the Huskies with a hangover, back-to-back losses going into Saturday's game against Hinsdale Central (9-12, 4-4) seemed to energize the tired Lions. Despite trailing 8-7 through one quarter, LT held the Red Devils to only five points in the second quarter to take a 15-13 halftime lead.
The Lions held a 24-21 lead going into the fourth quarter before outscoring Hinsdale Central 14-9 down the stretch. Powers, Ben Mundt and Mike Scavuzzo each scored 10 points for a well-balanced LT attack, and Powers pulled down 16 rebounds.
"I think what happened Friday was a wake-up call for us," Stamas said. "That was the first game all year we seemed to lack energy going into a game. But we came out Saturday with more enthusiasm and energy. We felt we played really good defense to hold them to only 30 points."
The Lions also connected on 11-of-14 attempts at the free-throw line and had 20 attempts for the game. That compared to only six for the Red Devils.
LT plays again Friday at home against Proviso West, a team the Lions only beat by three points earlier in the season. That game will be followed by a visit Saturday from Riverside-Brookfield on Saturday (7:30 p.m.).