Lyons Twp. routs Conant at York

 
 
Updated 12/28/2021 6:32 PM

Tavari Johnson bolted into the lane for a runner before it got swatted away.

Johnson, the Lyons senior guard, wiped his memory clean within seconds by intercepting a Conant inbounds pass for a transition layup to put a stamp on Lyons' 55-18 victory over Conant in the second round of the Jack Tosh Holiday Classic on Tuesday.

 

"I think that's how you have to play the game and really in life in general," said Johnson, an Akron recruit who finished with 18 points, 5 rebounds, 2 assists and a steal.

"You've got to adjust. With a basketball game, you're going to get multiple chances. That's the beautiful thing about it: He blocked my shot, but I knew that's probably not going to be the last time I'm going to get to the basket."

To Lyons coach Tom Sloan, that short-memory component for Johnson is "something he does a very good job of."

"We encourage him to be aggressive," Sloan said. "When you do those kinds of things, you might throw the ball away one time; you might get a shot blocked. That's part of the game. Mistakes are going to happen. As long as they're not mental mistakes or silly mistakes; if they're mistakes where you're just trying to make the right play, that's life and you move on. He and the other guys do a really good job of that."

Lyons (9-3) advanced to the quarterfinals between either Highland Park or Sandburg.

Utilizing both a heavy-pressure man defense and 2-3 zone, Lyons held Conant scoreless from the field in the second half besides 4 made free throws. Lyons took a 27-14 advantage at the half. Those free throws came with 1:01 left in the third quarter from Colin Francia and at the 7:03 mark from Camden Lathos.

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The Cougars (6-3) suffered through a difficult shooting night.

"We're proud of our guys. We've been focusing on the defensive end of the floor, specifically the last few weeks, but all season long," Sloan said. "Maybe we caught Conant on a day where they didn't shoot it very well. I think we probably had something to do with it. And, that's what happens when you play in a tournaments where you play back-to-back-to-back. It's tough to shoot it well multiple games in a row."

Conant sophomore Yusuf Cisse said Lyons' switch from man-to-man to a zone defense had an impact on the Cougars.

"Our offense mainly facilitates around against man-to-man defense," Cisse said. "Against that zone [and] the full-court press and stuff, it just kind of got to us. Kinda kept the ball on one side of the floor most of the time instead of looking into the post."

Lyons was also paced by Nik Polonowski's 10 points, while Aidan Sullivan had a team-high 12 rebounds. Lyons won the rebound battle 32-18.

Conant was led by Cisse's 5 points. Lathos had 4 points and 4 rebounds.

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