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As impressive as Lemont has been, winning 19 of 21 games, coach Rick Runaas is aware the stretch run could dictate just how successful the season will be.
The Indians (19-2, 8-1) travel to T.F. North on Friday for a big South Suburban Blue showdown, followed by conference battles vs. T.F. South, Reavis (Red Division) and Hillcrest.
“The top teams in the divisions are still on our list,” Runaas said. “It’s going to be a challenge. We can’t let down mentally or get taken advantage of physically.”
While Juozas Balciunas has garnered much of the headlines and deservedly so (averaging 21 points per game), the Indians have flaunted considerable depth.
In fact, Lemont boasts three other players who average double digits in scoring: Mike Wisz (15 ppg), Martynas Einikis (13 ppg) and Joe Hehir (11 ppg).
“It’s really a great group of kids to coach,” Runaas said.
Mount Carmel getting healthy
With only one senior on its roster, Mount Carmel is a team to keep an eye on.
The Caravan is 9-12 entering Friday’s home game against Fenwick.
However, the improved play of junior guard Christian Searles and the eventual return of junior David Nichols, out since Thanksgiving with a leg injury, should make the Caravan a dangerous team down the stretch.
“We’re a young team,” Mount Carmel coach Mike Flaherty said. “And, at times, it has shown. We’ve been inconsistent. But we have also shown signs of being a good team.”
Stagg on a roll
Stagg coach John Daniels likes what he has seen from his team since Christmas break.
The Chargers are 5-1 in their last six games, including a 66-35 rout Friday of Andrew.
“I’m really liking the way we’ve been playing,” said Daniels, whose Chargers were 16-5 entering Tuesday’s game against Thornton. “Our guards are playing more aggressively and as a team we’re playing with more confidence.”
The Chargers’ guard tandem of Kevin White and Max Strus, both juniors, combined for 42 points against Andrew.