Peotone ends Lisle's season
Lisle won its first girls basketball regional championship in 13 years last week, but it won't get a chance to win a sectional title this week.
Peotone wore down the Lions in the second half of Tuesday night's Class 2A Lisle sectional semifinal, ending the Lions' season in a 44-38 defeat.
"We played the first half how we drew it up," Lisle coach Nick Balaban said. "We played a really good half. Probably left some points out on the floor there, missed some free throws and some layups that probably could have extended the lead to 10 or 12 as opposed to 6. But the effort was good."
The Lions (20-12) -- who split a pair of close games with Peotone during Interstate Eight Conference action this season -- played well in the first half, leading much of the way and going into the locker room ahead 20-14. But even then there were signs the Lions, who only used six players as they have most of the season, were having trouble. A couple of players were coughing frequently, and Balaban called a timeout with about a minute left in the second quarter just to give his players a brief but needed rest.
"These last two games, I don't want to make any excuses, but we've had some players who were extremely ill," Balaban said. "And they played pretty much the whole game. They did play the whole game."
It wasn't enough.
The Lions clearly didn't have their usual burst, and they made only 1 of 14 shots in the third quarter. Meanwhile, the Blue Devils got hot, nearly matching their first-half scoring in the third period.
The Blue Devils took the lead for good 27-24 on an Isabelle Kurowski 3-pointer that beat the third-quarter buzzer.
"They got on a roll there in the third quarter. They hit some shots," Balaban said. "They made more shots and more plays than us, and this game was kind of indicative of how a lot of the season went, where certain halves we looked real good and then there were other halves where we couldn't score the basketball. That's what happened tonight."
The Lions fell behind by 7 with 5:46 left. Lisle couldn't get closer than 3 points the rest of the way.
Junior point guard Natalie Takahashi led the Lions with 16 points, adding 6 rebounds despite an ear infection and a slight case of pneumonia, Balaban said.
Senior TyAnn LeGrand-Melton added 11 points and 9 rebounds.
Kurowski and Cameron Hunter led Peotone with 13 points each.