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Considering that he has already visited Indiana and talked with the Hoosiers’ head coach Tom Crean, it’s a safe assumption that Lyons sophomore Harrison Niego is on the recruiting radar. With ample time to make his college decision, the precocious point guard’s short-term focus is helping his high school team win games, which he clearly showed during Lyons’ 62-56 win over visiting Riverside Brookfield on Saturday.
Niego and senior sharpshooter Jarryd Heath shared team-high scoring honors with 18 points apiece for Lyons (2-3). Chris O’Reilly (13 points, six rebounds) and Matt Aikens (10 points) also contributed as the Lions had four scorers in double figures.
“My teammates got the ball to me in scoring positions and I was able to put the ball in the hoop a little bit,” Niego said. “I’m here to do whatever it takes to win. We played very good team defense [tonight], and we’re a very good team once we get going.”
Leading 19-13 after one quarter, Lyons reeled off 11 unanswered points to extend its lead to 30-14 with 2:41 left until halftime. O’Reilly and Niego each netted four points during the Lyons’ spurt which ended on a three-pointer by Heath.
Led by senior guards Damonta Henry (game-high 21 points) and Eric Loury (13 points), the Bulldogs rallied from a 50-35 deficit after three quarters to pull within 52-46 on a Henry putback bucket midway through the fourth quarter. However, Lyons essentially traded scores the rest of the way to hold off RB (3-3).
“We were expecting RB to make a run,” Lyons coach Tom Sloan said. “It was a very physical game. We coughed it up a few times, but fortunately we regained our poise and made enough free throws down the stretch.”
Riverside-Brookfield’s 6-8 center Miki Ljuboja, who finished with nine points and 13 rebounds, fouled out with 3:13 remaining in the game. Lyons implemented an “all hands on deck” approach against the Bulldogs’ star big man by rotating in Nikola Josipovic, Robert Palmer and Matt Mrazek defensively.