ELMHURST – Lyons Township took fourth place at the Jack Tosh Holiday Classic, but also took some knocks along the way.
Already playing without starting forward Chris Hester, who injured his knee in the quarterfinal win over Metea Valley on Saturday, Lions finished Tuesday's third place game against Highland Park without star guard Harrison Niego. The Giants won 53-39.
Niego turned his ankle in the second quarter on a breakaway and left the game. He returned to the Lions' bench in the middle of the third quarter with ice wrapped around his ankle and didn't put any weight on it until after the game. The junior is a Division I prospect with college offers already in hand.
“Hopefully we’ll have plenty of time for him to rest and get the swelling out of there," LT coach Tom Sloan said. "If he can be ready to play for next Friday that would be a big bonus for us.”
LT has over a week to heal up. They next play Jan. 10 against Oak Park River Forest in a West Suburban Silver game.
Highland Park got off to a hot shooting start and led 32-19 at halftime. Once Niego went down, the Giants scored the next 17 points to build a 47-19 lead. The Lions immediately battled back with a 15-0 run, but ran out of time to complete the comeback.
Omarr Gilbert led LT with 12 points. Griffin Furlong scored 11 points and Jaquan Phipps added 10.
"It’s unfortunate because we played really well [earlier in the tournament] and for several reasons didn’t play that great over the last couple days," Sloan said. "Hopefully we can use this break to get everybody healthy and build on what we did well in the first three games.”