Inexperienced Lions to lean on two seniors

LT mixes a pair of returners with a young squad

Caption
(Staff photo by Matthew Piechalak)
Lyons Township senior forward Matt Aikens throws a pass to a teammate during a shooting drill at practice Saturday, Nov. 10, 2012.

At a glance
COACH
Tom Sloan
2011-12 RECORD 11-16 (6-6 West Suburban Silver)
TOP PLAYERS
Matt Aikens        sr.    F
Sam Cybulski        jr.    F
Jarryd Heath        sr.    G
Harrison Niego    so.    G
Chris O’Reilly        sr.    F
FIRST GAME 7:30 p.m. Wednesday, Nov. 21 vs. Argo at LT Thanksgiving tournament

8
Players on the Lyons roster listed at 6-foot-3 or taller

WHAT TO WATCH
Lyons Township entered last season with virtually no varsity experience and somewhat expectedly had a streaky season.

This year’s team doesn’t have much returning experience either, but seniors Jarryd Heath and Chris O’Reilly give LT a pair of reliable players.

“It’s not like we have a ton of experience, but at least we have a couple guys that have seen some real live varsity action and guys we can count on in pressure situations and have been there before,” coach Tom Sloan said.

O’Reilly was a regular starter and Heath earned big minutes off the bench. Those two will be essential in steadying the ship as the season goes on, but the season will likely hinge on a group of varsity newcomers.

Sophomore guard Harrison Niego will give the Lions some perimeter shooting and junior forwards Sam Cybulski and Nikola Josipovic provide some height and athleticism. The early season top six in the LT rotation, with the inclusion of senior Matt Aikens, are all 6-foot-1 or taller.

“We’re not huge, but we have pretty good size across the board,” Sloan said. We’ll probably get more offensive rebounding opportunities and it will probably be harder for teams to score around the basket against us this year.”

LT could get a boost from some football players joining after the Lions’ gridiron season came to an end last weekend. Sloan said four or five football players have expressed interest in playing basketball, most notably 6-foot-4 junior Matt Mrazek. Mrazek will step in as a rotation player right away with a chance to start. Quarterback Zach Mahoney could join once he recovers from a nagging shoulder injury.

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