Turnovers prove costly for Lisle in loss to Herscher
One way to combat an opponent with a couple big forces in the paint is to prevent them from getting the ball into the post, which is exactly what Herscher did for much of Friday night while picking up a road win in Lisle.
The first-place Tigers (16-4, 7-0) came to town well aware of the Lions' post presences, namely 6-foot-7 Tubari Stewart and 6-5 Christopher Farrell. But the Illinois Central Eight front-runners limited the damage from the twin towers with a pressing zone defense that led the way to a 54-41 victory.
Lisle trailed 28-23 at the half but picked up its defensive game to start the third quarter while drawing even at 28-28 following a 3-pointer from guard Nicholas Jachim. But Herscher forced the home team into eight turnovers in the third quarter and six more over the final eight minutes of play.
By the time Farrell scored inside with five minutes left to play in the fourth quarter, the visitors had used a 13-0 run to take a 41-28 lead.
"Their whole defensive game plan is to try and disrupt your timing with their press and their zone and they do a really good job with that," Lisle coach Mark LaScala said after his team dropped to 10-10 overall and 2-7 in conference. "I thought we came out in the third quarter and did a really good job defensively ... we got a number of stops, we tied it at 28 and then the turnovers really hurt us."
Tigers coach Brent Offill had no complaints with his team's defense.
"I get nervous when they have those two bigs because they're solid," he said of taking on Stewart and Farrell, who did combine for 23 points and 13 rebounds for the Lions. "They had a couple breakdowns (on defense) but overall our kids did a great job of being in the right position and helping each other out. There was great talking on defense. In practice we pride ourselves on that all the time. Talk, communicate and make someone beat us."
Stewart led all scorers with 13 points in the first half, but he was held to just one third-quarter bucket in the second half, with the Lions' turnovers playing a big part in that drop in production. Even so, the senior forward liked the way his team played against the experienced Tigers.
"I felt the team played with intensity and effort. We really tried to put our hand on the boards today and we played with heart," Stewart said. "We practiced all week and we executed what we practiced, but we started to get overheated and we started to play with too much pace and we didn't keep our momentum."
Brock Wenzelman led the Tigers with 14 points and 4 steals, and each Herscher starter tallied at least 8 points. For Lisle, Stewart led the attack with 15 points, while Farrell and Zachary Ebert each added 8 points.