Casmer, Lisle take regional
Lisle junior guard Abby Casmer had plenty of reasons to smile on Thursday night.
After enduring a nagging ankle injury that limited her play for most of the season, Casmer is finally healthy and become an integral player for the Lions.
She picked a good time to be playing her best basketball of the season.
Cassidy Allen scored 15 points and Casmer added 14 to lead Lisle to a 48-33 victory over St. Joseph in the Class 2A Lisle regional championship game.
The Lions (26-7) advances to Tuesday's St. Joseph sectional semifinal, where they will play UCCS/Woodlawn at 7:30 p.m.
Casmer, part of an all-junior starting lineup, is on a scoring tear. She pumped in a personal-high 21 points and added 11 rebounds in a regional semifinal win over Crane on Tuesday.
"I just haven't had a good season personally, but I've been doing what I can to help the team," Casmer said. "I think today I had a better game. I've had an ankle injury all season, and it just started feeling much better a couple of weeks ago, so I've been trying to do as much as I can in our games, but now I can put in some more points."
Allen, also a junior guard, sparked the Lions by scoring 6 of her team's first 9 points. She helped the Lions pull away in the fourth quarter with six points in a three-plus minute stretch that expanded the lead to 44-29.
"This means a lot to me and our team, especially since we've been working all season toward this and won it on our home court," Allen said. "We're all really excited for next year, too. We're hoping to go far in the playoffs. The team had great energy and brought us all up and we worked really well together."
The Lions' defense forced the Chargers into several rushed shots and turnovers to gain control of the game midway through the second quarter. Nessa Walsh paced the young Chargers with 14 points.
Sophomore center Kylie Russell had a strong second quarter to give the Lions some cushion, scoring 6 second-quarter points and finishing with 5 rebounds.
"(Kylie) has always been big for us, just with her blocks and everything," Casmer said. "Having her in the game is a huge help, and makes us all feel more positive because she can get the block or rebound and get putbacks."
Junior guard Tara Kane sealed the win with two straight drives late in the game to hand the Lions their fourth regional title in program history, according to Lions coach Nick Balaban.
"This is our third one since I've been here and fourth one in school history," he said. "This group has worked hard from day one. This was a goal: To get to the sectional. I'm happy for them. They deserved it. ... Defensively, we executed what we needed to do."