An air of mystery has contributed to the Lisle boys basketball team's six-game winning streak.
"Going into one game I don't know who's going to score for us," said Lions coach Mark LaScala.
Lisle's multiple scoring options, interchangeable parts and length in both frontcourt and backcourt might intrigue him but can frustrate opponents, as it did Tuesday in the Lions' 56-47 Interstate Eight Conference victory over visiting Coal City.
"We're typically a pretty good defensive team," said Coal City coach Kevin Kiper, "but when you do have so many different offensive parts that can attack it's difficult for anybody to guard."
Coal City senior forward Sean Micetich led all scorers with 22 points, but Lisle had seven players score between 4 and 10 points. Cameron Stitt, Elisha Basnight and Devin Tincu each scored 10 while Mark McGrath added 6 points and 9 rebounds.
"I think it's our team chemistry," said team co-captain Jonas Wilke, a 6-foot-3 guard who with Basnight buoyed the Lions early with a basket, 2 steals and a blocked shot. "We've built that up and we've been getting closer as a team. I guess we just clicked and we've been rolling since the Plano (Christmas) Tournament."
Among a cluster of teams in the pack behind IEC unbeaten leader Herscher, Lisle (10-9, 4-2) won its seventh in nine games and surpassed .500 for the first time since its third game of the season.
In a first half featuring six lead changes and three ties, Lisle's Connor Webb ended it on a second-chance basket and ran straight into the locker room with a 25-24 halftime lead. Coal City (9-9, 3-4) challenged throughout but never again led.
Kiper said the Coalers haven't won when allowing more than 50 points. That became problematic when Micetich pulled Coal City within 42-39 at 5:32 of the fourth quarter only to see Lisle sprint to an 8-0 run behind the 6-foot-5 trio of Jakub Kowal, Webb and Tincu.
The Lions won the second-half rebound battle 22-13, and free throws by McGrath and Kowal held off two Coal City surges to within 5 points. Coalers forward Blake Harseim, a force late, scored 10 points with 8 rebounds, 3 blocks and 3 steals.
"I think we did a better job in the second half cutting off their second-chance points," LaScala said. "I think they had more one-and-dones in the second half."