BRAIDWOOD – Without Sarah Mogensen and Monifah Davis, Lisle’s girls basketball team faced an uphill battle in the third place game at the Interstate Eight Conference tournament.
Mogensen was on a band trip and Davis was out sick, and the short-handed Lions lost 38-22 against Seneca on Jan. 23. A 48-43 loss against Peotone in a tournament semifinal sent the Lions to the third-place game.
Lisle (17-7 overall, 7-1 Interstate Eight) fell behind Seneca early, trailed 22-19 at the half and couldn’t overcome Seneca’s stifling defense.
“Seneca plays a good, solid half-court, man-to-man defense,” Lisle head coach Nick Balaban said. “They did a nice job defensively in terms of protecting the paint. They exploited our lack of an inside game and prevented us from establishing a rhythm. We just couldn’t get anything going.”
After taking away the Lions low post, Seneca swarmed the perimeter, forcing Lisle to take bad shots, turn the ball over and foul Seneca ball handlers
But Balaban applauded the effort of several subs, who saw increased playing time due to the absent players and starters facing foul trouble.
“Our reserves, for the most part, finished the third and fourth quarter,” Balaban said. “They looked pretty good. I was impressed with the way they played and competed.”
Melissa Ericson paced Lisle with seven points off the bench. Sammi Maas finished with six points in relief while leading scorer Sierra Birdsell also finished with six points.
The Lisle girls will try to halt their two-game losing streak when they travel to Westmont on Thursday for the annual rivalry game.
The two squads met earlier this season at Lisle’s Cage Classic Holiday Tournament. The Lions won that meeting, 38-29, but Balaban knows records and history go out the window during rivalry games.
“In a rivalry game, records often don’t mean a lot,” Balaban said. “We expect them to be up to the challenge, and we have to be prepared and ready to play. We have to go out there and do all the things necessary to get a win on the road.”