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Aurora Christian got physical with Lisle, and it helped the Eagles put an end to a three-game losing skid.
Aurora Christian forced Lisle into 19 turnovers during the Eagles' 62-54 nonconference victory on Monday night in Lisle.
"I thought we played great defense," said Aurora Christian junior guard Johnathan Harrell, who had 13 points. "After losing a few in a row, we were just hungry to get out there and play good defense because we knew if we played good defense — it would bring us good offense, which it did tonight."
The game was tight until Lisle senior guard Dawon Burrell picked up his third foul with 5:26 remaining in the second quarter, which prompted coach Mark LaScala to sit Burrell for the remainder of the half.
Aurora Christian (4-4) took advantage and went on an 11-0 run to open up a 35-25 lead at halftime.
The Eagles maintained their lead thanks to the steady play from guards Roger Show, Haydn McNelis, Zach Singer and point guard Ryan Suttle, who finished with a game-high 18 points. It was Suttle's play at the point position that kept the Eagles in command.
"Suttle played his best game of the year," Eagles coach Pat McNamara said. "He was great on defense and attacked on offense. He was in control. He took care of the ball and did a nice job of giving it up to his teammates and we really moved the ball well because of his play."
Aurora Christian's lead swelled to 58-42 in the early stages of the fourth quarter, but the Lions (6-5) chipped away and pulled to within 60-54 when Matt Bucher scored with 58.8 seconds left. The Lions managed to force a turnover and had a chance to pull even closer, but Lamont Ross missed with 28.8 seconds remaining. Ryan McQuade secured the rebound, was fouled and sealed the Eagles' win with a pair of free throws. Aurora Christian helped its cause by making 18 of 20 free throws while the Lions were 6 of 12.
The two teams could meet again in the postseason in the Class 2A Westmont regional.
"It was good for us to see them," said Burrell, who finished with 10 points before fouling out in the first minute of the final quarter. "Pressure is pressure and we have to be able to do a better job of fighting through it — better than we did tonight. I have to learn to stay out of foul trouble because it is important to be on the floor at the end of games. It was tough to sit there knowing that you won't get back into the game and help your team."
Ross and Jeremy Glavanovits each had 13 point to pace the Lions.