LT defeats Hinsdale Central
Grant Niego had the right idea.
"I was just trying to sit on the ball and get some steals," the Lyons Township guard said.
Niego was the central figure in the Lions earning their first West Suburban Silver boys basketball victory Friday night in Hinsdale.
Niego scored 10 of his game-high 22 points in the fourth quarter as Lyons overcame virtually a game-long deficit to best Hinsdale Central 52-44.
"They kind of stunned us a little bit in the first half," Niego said of the Red Devils' 13-0 run to offset the Lions' scoring the opening five points of the game. "They were shooting the 3-ball real well. I think they hit like five in a row. In the third and fourth quarter, we were able to settle down on defense."
It was a near-disastrous second-half for Hinsdale Central after Zach Northey opened the third-quarter with back-to-back 3-pointers.
The Red Devils (5-8, 1-2) did not score from the field again until Connor Nelson converted a driving layup with 22 seconds to play.
The Lions (7-5, 1-3) closed out the Red Devils from the free-throw line to secure their first league victory.
Niego, following his pullup jumper in the lane to give LT its first lead of the second half at 39-38, then scored the next four points on steals and breakaway layups.
With Hinsdale Central continuing to struggle mightily from the field, the Lions' Ben Engels doubled the lead with a three-point play with 58.9 seconds remaining.
"I happened to be getting to the basket," Engels said. "I tried to get it near the basket."
Hinsdale Central, leading 29-25 at the break, could only manage to score nine points after Northey connected on his consecutive 3-pointers to open the second half.
The Red Devils had chances to pad their dwindling leads late in the third quarter and early in the fourth.
But seven missed free throws during the sequence proved fatal with the team unable to generate any consistency from the floor.
"Those hurt us, but they will fall the next time we play," Hinsdale Central post Mac Quest said. "We spend a lot of time on free throws in practice. We just have to execute better in the second half."
Michael Niedermeyer was also in double figures for LT with 10 points.
Northey and Ryan Issacson scored 11 points each to lead Hinsdale Central in the league encounter characterized by most games between archrivals -- pageantry underscored by competing and equally rabid fan bases.
"A lot of guys were feeling out playing in this environment," LT coach Tom Sloan said. "We got our feet under us."