Lyons pulls away from York
Aside from a single quarter, the Lyons Township girls basketball team has been nearly flawless this season.
On Friday night in La Grange, the Lions were able to atone for that lone misstep.
In a matchup of teams atop the West Suburban Silver, LT defeated York 57-42 and in the process, knocked the Dukes from the ranks of the unbeaten while running its winning streak to seven games.
The victory also served as a bit of revenge for the Lions, who dropped a 50-47 overtime nonconference decision to the Lady Dukes back on Feb. 13. In that matchup, LT led by seven heading into the final eight minutes.
"I would say, it's a great feeling for our team," said senior Lindsey Hahn, a Winona State recruit, who led all scorers with 22 points. "That was a tough loss for all of us. We came into this game knowing we had to work together and I think we really showed how well we can play together.
"It was a fun game to play. Both teams played great and they gave us a run for our money. I'm really happy that this time, it came out in our favor."
Hahn hit four 3-pointers as did junior teammate Olivia Mezan, who finished with 20 points. Mezan, a transfer from Montini who is used to playing in big games, hit back-to-back trifectas in the third quarter after the visitors had sliced a 25-14 halftime deficit to eight.
"My teammates helped out a lot," Mezan said. "I was in a little bit of a slump at the beginning of the season and tonight I got it going with the help of my teammates. They were driving and then kicking it out and when I hit the first one, it gave me confidence and I was able to keep hitting them."
Hailey Markworth chipped in with 7 points and 9 rebounds for LT, which finished the game on a 14-4 run.
"I'm very proud of these girls," LT coach Meghan Hutchens said. "This team is special. We've had the opportunity to coach many of these girls for a few years now, we have six seniors. They are very dedicated to each other and that's all 17 of them. We've dedicated these last two weeks to getting better. We have a goal to be conference champs and we have a goal to win the conference tournament."
After kicking off that West Suburban tournament on Saturday, the Lions have games against Downers Grove North and Oak Park-River Forest next week with the league title on the line. LT (8-1) is currently 4-0 in league play while York (6-1) fell to 3-1.
"It means everything," said Hahn when asked about playing meaningful games in the final week of the shortened season. "It makes it so much more special and important for all of us. For the seniors, this is our last time playing for LT. And for this team, just the love we have for each other, I think that shows. It's so exciting that we even had a season and now to have these games that are so important, it means so much more to all of us."
York saw its six-game winning streak to begin the season snapped and the 3-point line was the main culprit. While the home team made 11 3-pointers, the Lady Dukes went 1-17 from behind the arc.
Amaya Rufus scored 11 points and Megan Juneman added 9 for York, which trailed 8-0 at the outset and never recovered.
"They did a great job attacking us off the dribble," York coach Brandon Collings said. "We got beat too much and that left their shooters open. We also got killed on the offensive boards and that led to 3-pointers. You can't make a very good 3-point shooting team even better by giving them wide-open looks."