Lisle boys basketball coach Mark LaScala took pride in the Lions’ rally. Westmont coach Craig Etheridge liked his team’s poise.
In Monday’s Class 2A Aurora Christian regional quarterfinal Westmont used that poise and a couple John Kelly baskets to eliminate its top rival 57-54.
“It’s great to get redemption,” said Kelly, citing Lisle’s Interstate Eight Conference win earlier this month.
No. 5 seed Westmont (9-20) faces No. 1 IC Catholic Prep at 6 p.m. Tuesday. At 8 p.m. No. 2 seed St. Edward gets No. 3 Aurora Christian.
No. 5 Lisle (4-23) led the Sentinels 25-23 at halftime, then got outscored 18-9 in the third quarter and trailed 43-34 early in the fourth quarter. The Lions mounted a 13-4 run to tie with 3:06 left to play.
“I’m just so proud of our guys for battling back,” LaScala said.
Lions guard Nick Massura hit a 3-pointer, his fourth of the game, and Shane Murray and Massura converted consecutive three-point plays.
Westmont’s Adam Berg scored on a putback, but Lisle’s Jeremy Glavanovits bulled to the rim for a bucket, and Murray scored again to tie 47-47.
“We weathered that third-quarter storm,” LaScala said, “kind of got it together at the end of the third quarter. And then they went up again and we came all the way back to tie it.”
Kelly then untied it on a 3 from the right wing. Montraveous Little stole the ball right back, and the Sentinels’ Danny LoGiurato went up to shoot but instead found Kelly gliding down the lane for a 52-47 Westmont lead with 1:36 left.
“I was happy with the 3,” Kelly said, “but we played great down the stretch. We did give up a lead but we battled back and we maintained it. It was a great team effort.”
“This time we maintained our poise,” Etheridge said. “Even though they made a little bit of a run and they did some good things we didn’t panic, we didn’t really get upset. We had some silly turnovers on our part and in the past, earlier in the year, that was enough to do us in for the game.”
Lisle’s Connor Bielat used the glass to pull within 52-49 with 58 seconds left. Little answered with two free throws and followed a Lisle turnover with two more for a 7-point spread. Despite Lisle’s Tommy Kuliavas scoring 5 points in the final 19 seconds, that was safe.
Massura, hot early, led all scorers with 18 points. Bielat added 14. Kelly led Westmont with 14 points in Lisle’s ninth loss by 5 points or less.
“It was a tough season, obviously,” said senior captain Glavanovits. “I feel like we’re better than our record, but that doesn’t mean anything now. I’m proud of the team, though. We stuck together, played hard every game, never gave up.”