Lisle knocks off Wilmington
The Lisle boys basketball team did what it needed to do to remain a factor in the Interstate Eight Conference race by beating visiting Wilmington 75-61 on Friday.
"Reed-Custer has one loss and three teams (including Lisle) have two losses each. If Sandwich beat Reed-Custer tonight that would tighten things up and make it a four-way tie," said Lisle coach Mark LaScala.
The Lions travel to Streator next Friday to close the regular season. Streator beat Lisle by 2 points during holiday tournament play.
As for the battle against the Wildcats (7-18, 0-9), Lisle was in control from the start, but Wilmington put up a strong showing on offense and stayed in the Lions' rearview mirror.
"We were very strong on offense, not as strong on defense. But give credit to (Wilmington). In the second half we were trading baskets because we were not getting stops," LaScala said.
Lisle (15-12, 8-2) led 19-8 after the first quarter on 7-of-17 shooting from the field while Wilmington was 3 of 16. The second quarter saw the Lions stay with the hot shooting hand at 8 of 15 and needed it as the Wildcats heated up their shooting hand at 5 of 13.
Grant Haen made good on a putback at the buzzer to give Lisle a 37-24 halftime lead.
"They were hitting the big shots and we had to pick it up on defense," said senior Adalberto Gutierrez.
The Lions came out big in the third quarter as Mark McGrath scored 11 of his game-high 22 points including the period, including five unanswered at the start that put his team up by 18.
The Wildcats whittled the Lisle lead down to 12 late on two free throws from Sam Jones. The Lions, though, led at the end of 24 minutes, 54-38.
Two other Lisle players finished scoring in double digits. Senior Ryan Gillen scored 15 and senior Nick Massura had 12. McGrath also had a game-high 11 rebounds.
Gutierrez, Gillen, Massura and Derrick Redmond played their final game on the Lisle court. That went through Massura's mind.
"I thought how much we're finishing this season together. We all came in as freshman excited about being in the program," he said. "We've had season success in conference. We're tied for second and maybe we can better that and go as far as we can in regionals and sectionals."