Lisle needed a girls basketball game like Saturday afternoon's convincing victory at Timothy Christian.
The Lions led nearly start to finish in Elmhurst, leaving with a 48-27 nonconference victory.
"We needed it. We've been struggling. We had a rough January," said Lisle coach Nick Balaban, happy to see February arrive after a 2-5 January. "... We had a tough stretch there, weren't putting the ball in the basket. We had some breakdowns defensively. We weren't rebounding well. It just seemed like all at one time, the three things we work on the most at practice (became problem areas)."
The Lions (18-8) went after the Trojans from the start, employing a 1-2-2 full-court trap defensively that forced 33 turnovers for the game. With 10 players in uniform, Balaban often substituted in groups of five, rotating in fresh players.
"We changed it up a little today," Balaban said. "We pressured. We got everybody involved. Everybody played pretty much the same amount of minutes and we got contributions from everybody. I told our kids we're going through a tough stretch and we've got to find out what we're made of when there's adversity. It's easy to do things when things are going well for you, but we were going to need everybody to step up and contribute if we were going to get out of this rut and that's what today was."
"That's something that we've been working on all season and that's the best we've ever run it," Lisle junior Sarah Mogensen said of the press. "We had so much intensity all the time and we were able to cause a lot of turnovers."
The Lions got out of the rut quickly, turning a 2-2 game into 18-7 after the first quarter.
"They came out with really good intensity and we just knew that we had to take it to them right away," Mogensen said. "Once we got up we just kept it going."
Timothy Christian (4-22) fought back in the second quarter, cutting the Lisle lead back to single digits with a Dani VanLaten basket that sent the game to halftime at 26-18. The sophomore guard led the Trojans with 10 points.
"We had a good run in the second quarter," Trojans coach Michele Strube said. "We were aggressive, some nice passing. They kind of handled the press better."
The second half was all Lisle, however.
"We kept our composure and we just kept going as hard as we could and we got back," Mogensen said.
Mogensen scored 7 of her game-best 14 points in the third quarter, and Lisle held Timothy Christian to 1-of-8 shooting, taking a 37-20 lead.
"My team just gave me perfect passes on the inside and I just got really good layups. ... It was so fun," Mogensen said.
The press was a problem throughout for a Timothy Christian team missing three players, two to the flu and one to a college visit.
"But that's OK. My guards will get better for next year. I had a freshman and two sophomores, and they did a good job. They'll see that and they'll grow from it," Strube said. "As frustrating as it is for them they will only get better for it. They don't see it now, but they will."
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