Boys Basketball: Billy Bach, Lyons ease past Maine South
By Gregg Voss - for Shaw Media
LA GRANGE – You’ll start to notice a theme among the Lyons Township boys basketball players.
They don’t like to miss.
Case in point: Senior forward Billy Bach led all scorers with 16 points in a 45-40 win over Maine South Tuesday night, but …
“I missed a couple of free throws I want back,” lamented Bach, who hit four three-pointers and added four defensive rebounds.
His senior teammate, guard Aidan Sullivan, added eight points, none bigger than the four in a row he made in the final 13.7 seconds that salted away the victory.
He, too, had regrets.
“I missed two yesterday, so today I just wanted to take my time, put some more arc on it, and just trust myself that I can make them like I do at practice,” said Sullivan, who also contributed eight rebounds, three at the offensive end.
So the Lions stress about shots they don’t make?
“We’re always trying to get better,” Bach said simply, and that perfectionist posture is what has put LT at 2-0 heading into the final game of its own Thanksgiving tournament at 7:30 p.m. Wednesday against Lincoln-Way East. They’ve also won both games without star senior point guard and Akron recruit Tavari Johnson, who was unavailable Monday and Tuesday but will return Wednesday.
The Hawks (1-1) hit five three-pointers of their own in the first half, which staked them to a 25-22 lead at halftime. But the Lions locked down on their perimeter defense in the third quarter, holding Maine South to just a pair of baskets in the period and took a 31-29 lead into the fourth.
The teams played basically even until the 5:59 mark, when Bach and Sullivan went to work.
Bach dropped in a three-pointer from the top of the key to give LT a 38-35 lead. Then the Lions slowed things down, giving up just one free throw before Bach connected on another three at 2:34, this time from the right side of the top of the key that would put his team up for good.
Sullivan got fouled twice in the last 13.7 and made his free throws before Maine South senior guard Ryan Modert hit a layup as the buzzer sounded.
“The guys we had out there played really hard and unselfishly,” Lyons coach Tom Sloan said. “All four teams that are here are all very good, well coached, play really hard and don’t get much easy stuff. The kids made some really big plays down the stretch to win it.”
Despite the loss, it wasn’t a bad night by any stretch for Maine South. The team’s three-headed senior scoring cavalcade of Kyle Rieger (13 points), Julian Triffo (13) and Nicholas Rentas (10) accounted for nearly all of the Hawks’ scoring, save two buckets from Modert.
But they could only manage one three-pointer in the second half, a shot from the top of the key with 7:30 left in the game by Rieger.
“I was really proud about how we played,” Maine South coach. Tony Lavorato said. “We’ve got seniors, so we’re playing with seniors and one junior. We lost our top eight, and we’ve never been in that position before, and the more where it’s tight like that, the better we’re going to be.”