LANSING – On paper, Friday’s matchup didn’t seem to favor Lemont’s boys basketball team.
T.F. South was playing on its home floor and was one game behind Hillcrest for the top spot in the South Suburban Blue standings while the Indians were missing leading scorer Mike Wisz.
But in the end, a total team effort proved to be the difference as Lemont notched a 60-57 win.
“We probably had no business winning that game,” Lemont coach Rick Runaas said.
They were playing for everything. But it’s nice as a coach to get that feeling at the end of the night of seeing a lot of the things you have been teaching play out on the floor. It was an exciting win that left me very proud.”
Luis Marquez topped the visitors with 16 points and 11 rebounds. Ryan Shereck posted 10 points and four rebounds and Austen Gumber added eight points and three steals.
“Luis has been playing with confidence and assertiveness the last few weeks,” Runaas said. “Something has really clicked with him. He is demanding the ball, and when he is getting the ball, he is being assertive with it. He is making good, quick decisions.”
One day later, Lemont nearly pulled off another big victory, instead falling 49-45 to Waubonsie Valley at the East Aurora shootout, which was originally scheduled for Feb. 1 before being canceled because of the weather.
The Indians were in possession of the ball down two with less than 20 seconds remaining, but a potential game-tying basket was waved off because of a charge call. Marquez again led the way with 11 points.
“That was another good team win,” Runaas said. “[Waubonsie] had a lot of nice pieces and were well-balanced. We led for most of the game, but in the fourth quarter we let it get away from us a bit.”
Lemont closes out the regular season tonight at home against Reavis on senior night.
The hope is that Wisz will be able to return from his ankle injury he suffered Feb. 18 against T.F. North as the Indians hope to take momentum into the postseason.
“When you go through a little losing streak like we did in January,” Runaas said, “it is very easy for young players to pack it in and stop listening. But that hasn’t happened and it’s nice to be rewarded for that later in the year.”