LISLE – High-flying first quarters propelled the Lisle girls basketball team to back-to-back conference wins.
After the Lions’ second loss of the season – a 53-24 defeat at the hands Wheaton Academy on Dec. 3 – head coach Nick Balaban tested the girls, hoping they would answer the call and overcome the adversity of a busy early season schedule.
“We had played seven games in nine days, dropping the second of a back-to-back to a very good Wheaton Academy team,” Balaban said. “I wanted to see how they handled the adversity, if the team could face it directly and overcome the challenge.”
In successive games against Interstate Eight Conference foes Plano and Herscher, Lisle (8-2, 3-0) girls controlled the tempo and pace of the game from the onset, imposing their offensive will and handcuffing the opposition on defense.
The Lions traveled to Plano Dec. 5, jumping out to a 12-point lead and a 14-2 advantage after one quarter. For the second time this season, Lisle limited an opponent to less then 30 points as it cruised to a 38-26 victory.
Junior forward Kate Twaddle’s nine points paced a true team effort. Leah Reeves chipped in eight points and TyAnn LeGrand-Melton scored seven points.
Last year, Lisle lost to Plano in the I-8 Tournament, marking the Lions’ only conference loss of the season.
“We needed a good start, especially playing on the road against a conference opponent,” Balaban said. “This team lost in the conference tournament against Plano last season, and some of the players used that as motivation.”
Facing Herscher on Monday, senior Sierra Birdsell took it upon herself to extend Lisle’s undefeated record in conference. The captain posted a season-high 21 points, scoring eight in the first quarter and hitting her first four shots.
Like the previous game, Lisle led Herscher 14-2 after the first quarter, then opened a 26-9 advantage by halftime. Behind Birdsell and Sarah Mogensen’s eight points and six rebounds, Lisle won 44-18.
Lisle boys basketball
The Lions opened up Interstate Eight Conference play at Plano on Friday and nearly escaped with a solid win in a hostile environment. Lisle lost 68-64 and will play back-to-back home games this weekend against Reed-Custer (6:45 p.m. Friday) and Latin (2:30 p.m. Saturday).