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Lions off to roaring start to season

LISLE – Lisle’s girls basketball team is off to a roaring start.

Inflicting a suffocating zone defense upon opponents, the Lions took second at the Riverside Brookfield Thanksgiving tournament, winning four out of five games played over the holiday weekend.

Lisle also posted an impressive 47-12 victory over Luther North to open the season on Nov. 19, then won its first Interstate Eight Conference game against Sandwich 52-36 on Monday.

The jam-packed schedule has not deterred the girls’ play, according to first-year head coach Nick Balaban, as the Lions won six games in 14 days and are again a contender I-8 conference with an overall record of 6-1 and 1-0 in the league.

“Our schedule has given us a chance to get a lot of games – and various game situations – under our belt,” Balaban said. “It’s given our core a chance to step up, work together and respond to a different in-game scenarios.

“The RB Thanksgiving tournament was a good benchmark for us. We knew that if we played well there, if was a good indication that we can play with anybody.”

Balaban insists that a key to the Lions hot start is their defensive dominance. So far, Lisle’s zone and trapping scheme has held five of seven opponents to 40 or less points.

“We have set the tone defensively,” Balaban said. “Our zone defense causes a lot of problems for opposing teams, and we have rebounded very well. Our goal is to always play strong defense – that’s who we are.”

Sarah Mogensen leads the team with 9.6 rebounds per game while Sierra Birdsell is averaging six rebounds and two steals per game.

The two have paced the Lions on offense as well. Birdsell is averaging 11.4 points per game and Mogensen is averaging 10 points per game. Junior forward Monifah Davis has chipped in 5.8 points per game.

Lisle was scheduled to play at Wheaton Academy yesterday and will remain on the road to face Plano in an I-8 game at 6:45 p.m. Thursday.

While Balaban has only positive things to say about his teams’ play during the grueling schedule, he is looking forward to returning to a regular practice schedule.

“I think the team’s intensity, adrenaline and enthusiasm have been amazing,” Balaban said. “It will be nice get back to practice, so we can approach specific situations and fine-tune our play.”

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