LA GRANGE – What began as a rough week had a great ending for Lyons Township’s Tyrese Shines.
Sidelined most of the week by a concussion, Shines showed no ill effects with 22 points, five rebounds and four steals as the Lions defeated Glenbard West 58-46 on Jan 20 for their first conference win.
“Ty had a concussion, and [Jan. 19] was the only day he practiced this week,” Lions coach Tom Sloan said. “He might only have to practice on Thursdays the rest of the year.
“I think he was really hungry to get out there. He played as well as he has all year.”
The Lions capped a great weekend with a 59-50 win over York on Jan. 21 to improve to 9-7 overall and 2-4 in the West Suburban Silver. But it was Shines’ play off the bench against Glenbard West that ignited the surge.
After rallying from a 22-14 second-quarter deficit into a third-quarter tie with the Hilltoppers, the Lions took command on a huge Shines sequence.
His three-point play (layup and foul) with 16.4 seconds left in the third put LT up 42-39, and Shines’ steal and layup on the ensuing inbounds pass added fuel to a 14-1 run that gave the Lions a commanding 53-40 lead with 2:57 left.
For a player who endured recent physical ailments, it was a different kind of illness that inspired Shines’ big finish.
“My approach was, I’m sick of losing,” Shines said. “We lost a lot of conference games. It’s time to take more W's and less L's.
“The second half we came out to play. In practice we’ve been going hard, and we tried to maintain that.”
Connor Niego (17 points, 13 rebounds), Lazarius Williams (nine points) and Shines combined for 34 of LT’s 38 second-half points, 16 by Shines. The Lions made 13-of-20 second-half field goals to the Hilltoppers’ 8-of-25 clip.
“We didn’t give up as many uncontested drives to the basket as we did in the first half,” Sloan said.
“We played solid defense, and offensively the guys did a nice job of being patient and getting things going to the basket instead of passing around the perimeter. We played better on both ends, and both sides fed off each other.”
Shines has fed off a recent challenge beyond his concussion – moving from the starting lineup four games ago to a role off the bench.
“It’s for a good cause,” Shines said. “Toward the beginning of the season I was slacking on defense. Coach [Sloan] made me work on that, and that made me better.”
Connor Niego (15 points), Noah Niego (13) and Shines (11) led the way in the win against York, adding to a big weekend for the Lions.
“I think this is going to give us a huge confidence boost,” Shines said.
“It’s the team growing up,” Sloan said. “We’ve been talking about being patient and not forcing things. Our guys didn’t care who scored, but the team winning first. Everybody benefits when that happens.”
If you go
Who: Lyons Township at Downers Grove North
What: West Suburban Silver boys basketball
When: 7:30 p.m. Jan. 27
Where: Downers Grove North, 4436 Main St., Downers Grove