ELMHURST – Things should get real interesting real soon for York’s boys basketball team.
The Dukes started conference play with wins over Proviso West (60-35 on Dec. 6) and defending West Suburban Silver champion Hinsdale Central (34-30 a day later). A 2-0 start in West Suburban Silver play is nice, but it’s just the start.
“It’s a real good start, but we certainly can’t be satisfied,” York coach Vince Doran said. “We’ve been very strong defensively early on here in the season. There’s tremendous room for improvement on the offensive end, and I think that will come with time.”
Tonight’s opponent is a Lyons Township team with plenty of talent. The Lions feature junior Harrison Niego, who has Division I offers, and a senior-heavy team. LT won at Glenbard West in its conference opener.
“It’s definitely going to be a good challenge,” Doran said. “They might be the best team we’ve played to this point. They have a Division I point guard and their kids play hard.”
York (6-0) has won five in a row against LT, including a regional semifinal last year. The key to making it six in a row will be limiting Niego’s effectiveness while feeding Frank Toohey the ball inside. At 6-foot-8, Toohey will have a height advantage in the paint against the more guard-oriented Lions.
So far this season, most teams have focused on limiting his impact on the game by double teaming him in the post. Toohey and his teammates have punished opponents for that strategy so far.
“I think there’s a heavy focus on Frank and he’s the type of player that’s very unselfish,” Doran said. “When he gets doubled, I think one of his best assets is passing the ball.”
The Dukes have held five of their six opponents to 40 points or less, and York’s scoring output has come from a number of different players. A handful of Dukes are capable of leading the team in scoring in any game.
“I guess that’s been our trademark this season early on,” Doran said. “Different guys have led us just about every night in scoring, and that’s hard to prepare for if you’re our opponent. I think our kids are pretty unselfish for the most part and do a pretty good job of spreading the ball around.”