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At times this season, Lisle’s boys basketball team appeared ready to bust games wide open, but for one reason or another, the Lions made things more difficult than they had to be.
The Lions were faced with that challenge in Monday’s Class 2A Westmont Regional quarterfinals against their rivals from Westmont, but this time around, the Lions withstood it and came out with a win.
Lisle took the rubber match over Westmont, 43-38, to move on to Wednesday’s semifinals against top-seeded Immaculate Conception.
“That’s unfortunately been a scenario for us,” Lisle coach Mark LaScala said. “We’ve been close to blowing games open at times. For one reason or another, whether we don’t get a call or don’t get a finish. The difference is when it’s happened before the kids have gotten discouraged. It happened today, and they stuck with it. I was real proud of them.”
Despite a large rebounding edge (34-21 at the end, 19-8 at the half), Lisle (14-14) found itself in a fight in the fourth quarter against Westmont (15-13) this time around. A 9-2 run keyed by four points from Jean Pietrzak, a three-pointer from Daniel LoGiurato and two free throws from Greg Pietrzak, tied the game at 35-35 for the Sentinels.
But the next trip down, Johnny Parrillo hit a three-pointer for Lisle to give the Lions for good with two minutes left, 38-35.
“It was a really big shot by Johnny, I think that was what separated it,” LaScala said.
Lisle controlled the boards and the tempo throughout, despite never breaking the game wide open. Rebounding was a big key. Senior Lamont Ross led the way with nine rebounds to go with his team-high 15 points.
“I tried to rebound more throughout the season,” Ross said. “I had to step back from that to do some more scoring, but I realized that rebounding was more important, so I went back to that so we could win this game.”
Cody Monson added 10 points for Lisle.
Jean Pietrzak was dominant at times for Westmont. He scored a game-high 24 points and grabbed eight rebounds in the loss.
“I think Jean was the best player on the floor,” LaScala said. “We knew he was going to get some. Part of our game plan was to not let anybody else get some, and it worked out.”
Lisle now faces Immaculate Conception, a team that blew the Lions out earlier this season.
“I didn’t play as well as I should have, but I’m looking to change that this time,” Ross said.