Lyons Township is for real -- espeically when it remembers to play that way.
The Lions did so in a timely manner Saturday night, quickly erasing a 10-point deficit in the second quarter against host Prospect en route to a 62-56 win at the Jean Walker Field House.
Trailing 23-13 after Prospect opened with hot shooting from the perimeter by Bobby Frasco (20 points), Danny Thomas (9), Kyle Formanski (9) and Joe Paczko, the Lions regrouped.
First Lyons tightened up the defense and made it a little tougher for a Prospect team that shoots the ball pretty well to get good looks. Then the Lions (10-6) turned the offense over to defensive pests Jim Cullen (18 points) and Harrison Niego (15).
Their ball-hawking caused enough problems for the Knights, but their timely shooting did even more damage. Between them, they opened the second half with 7 straight points, including Cullen's 3-pointer, to give the Lions the lead for good.
As far as tightening up the defense, "We did a good job of that in the second half of the second quarter and in the second half," said Lyons coach Tom Sloan (no relation to the school's legendary 1953 state championship head coach, Greg Sloan).
Everyone chipped in. While Frasco was still piling up his points, Sam Cybulski, primarily, along with Niego and Jaquan Phipps, got up tighter on Frasco. Phipps used his athleticism to put down three key fourth-quarter baskets to blunt any rallying thoughts by the Knights (9-7) as well.
In the fourth quarter, with Lyons having seized control, Cullen added a breakaway layup beating the press, Niego threw in a circus-move twisting layup and Matt Mraz helped out Phipps around the basket as the Lions maintained control.
Prospect coach John Camardella felt the game the game got away when Lyons wiped out that first-half deficit.
On eight straight possessions, he noted, the Knights not only failed to score but failed to gets shots on five of them after committing turnovers. Lyons carried the momentum into the second half and by the time Cullen hit 2 free throws early on, the Lions had finished a 17-3 run spanning the second and third quarters to take control for good at 39-33.
Frasco blamed himself for having his shooting eye desert him as the Knights missed repeated open looks.
"We came out guns blazing," noted the 6-foot-4 senior. But in the second half, "We started forcing shots."
"I was proud of them," said Camardella, even more proud than in their nail-biting win over Rolling Meadows the previous evening.
"Both teams had big games (Friday) night," said Sloan, whose club edged rival Oak Park-River Forest. "It's good to be in situations like this, where you have to make free throws under pressure and play defense under pressure."