Lisle ices another ICE triumph
Everyone played, everyone scored. Most important, Lisle won a game it needed to win.
One day after taking their first loss in the Illinois Central Eight, the Lions beat Herscher 58-34 on Tuesday in Lisle.
"It was a very critical game," said guard Demetrius King Jr., whose 10 points led 12 Lisle scorers. "We needed this win to stay on top of conference. That loss put us in a tough situation, but tonight we got the win, put us back on top."
Even with Monday's loss to Streator, Lisle (11-9, 7-1) remains tied for first place in the ICE with Manteno, which beat Wilmington on Tuesday.
"I think they had a little chip on their shoulder," said Herscher coach Ron Oloffson, whose Tigers were led by Joe Holohan with 10 points.
Through 16 minutes it was an even match. The game was tied 6-6 after one quarter and Herscher (10-9, 4-4) clung within 23-17 at halftime.
King and Lisle forward Anthony Raineri were in early foul trouble. After an effective first quarter Raineri's backup, Josh Farrell, was as well.
Cal Payne, Sean Martin, Greg Sharafinski and Joe LaScala came in to help make 4 of 5 second-quarter field goals and 7 of 12 free throws.
The Lions returned from halftime with renewed energy -- and a 17-1 run.
"Coach (Mark LaScala) told us that the first three minutes in the third quarter were really going to determine the game," said King, who opened the period with a three-point play and added a 3-point shot.
Farrell chipped in a three-point play off King's high-low assist. Ray Bandzoumouna scored 6 points in less than two minutes and tipped an offensive rebound to Connor Nigro for the easy basket.
The run essentially sealed the deal. The Lions led 44-23 entering the fourth quarter.
That let Mark LaScala empty the bench. Starting guard Sean Etzkorn's coast-to-coast layup came between 3s from Chris Johnson and Will-Jay Daniels to cap it off.
"In past games the bench hasn't shown up like tonight. We really came out and, especially in that second half, put the nail in the coffin," Sharafinski said.
"I was really happy with the bench, I love the bench," he said. "We were super-loud tonight. It's so much fun to be on the bench. It parallels the amount of fun playing sometimes."
Lisle now faces five of its last six ICE foes on the road.
"We like where we're sitting, and we're proud of that, but at the end of the day we still have to go through the gauntlet of the road games. I have a lot of faith in our kids and we'll play hard and see what happens," Mark LaScala said.