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LT starts conference play on right foot

Published: Tuesday, Dec. 10, 2013 8:00 a.m. CDT
(Bill Ackerman -
Lyons Township's Matt Mrazek protects the ball while going up for a shot in a Nov. 27 game. On Friday, Mrazek and the Lions won at Glenbard West for the first time since the 2010-11 season.

LA GRANGE – The Lyons Township boys basketball team has ambitions of winning the West Suburban Silver this year. In order to do that they have to reverse a few trends from the past couple seasons.

The Lions crossed one of those trends off the list after winning at Glenbard West, 69-56, on Friday. The Hilltoppers had won four straight over LT, including winning the last two in Glen Ellyn by an average of 20 points.

“We knew it was going to be a tough battle and the kids did a very good job,” LT coach Tom Sloan said. “Our league is going to be a real meat grinder this year, so any time we can get a victory in the league, that’s big.”

The Lions (3-2 overall, 1-0 WSS) won with only two players, Chris Hester and Harrison Niego, scoring in double figures. The balance for LT is apparent in the scoring averages so far. Six players are averaging seven points or more.

Niego leads the way at about 19 per game. Hester is averaging 12. Jim Cullen, Omarr Gilbert, Sam Cybulski and Matt Mrazek have also been capable scorers.

Nathan Albertini, who adds size, and Jaquan Phipps, who brings athleticism and good defense, have also been in the rotation.

“Any time you have that many guys scoring close to double digits it means that you’re balanced and the kids are unselfish,” Sloan said. “If one guy has an off night it means somebody else will probably pick up the slack.”

After topping Glenbard West, the Lions were unable make it two in a row against neighboring Riverside Brookfield on Saturday.

LT tried to defend the interior since RB features four players at 6-foot-5 or taller, and the Bulldogs punished them with eight 3-pointers in the first half.

The Bulldogs led by 16 after three quarters, but the Lions got back within one point in the final minute only to fall short 77-74.

LT’s early schedule has featured a number of teams expecting to have winning seasons, including Fenwick, Morton and Riverside Brookfield.

While the Lions are 1-2 in those games, the two losses are both by three points, including one in overtime.

“We’ve played several very good teams so far and we’ve either won or been with everybody,” Sloan said.

Another quality opponent awaits on Friday in WSS foe York, which is 6-0. LT travels to Elmhurst for a 7:30 p.m. tip.


LT 69

Glenbard West 56

LT leaders

• Chris Hester 18 points, 6 rebounds

• Harrison Niego 13 points, 6 rebounds, 6 assists’

• Sam Cybulski 9 points

• Jim Cullen 8 points

• Omarr Gilbert 8 points

• Matt Mrazek 6 points, 8 rebounds


Riverside Brookfield 77

LT 74

LT leaders

• Hester 23 points

• Niego 18 points

• Cullen 9 points

• Mrazek 8 points

• Cybulski 8 points

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