Boys Basketball: Crane tops Lemont in title gameLemont's #33 Paulius Otruskevicius drives to the basket in front of Crane Tech Prep Common High School #35 Christopher Daily held at the Romeoville Christmas Classic small school title game and Lemont lost 58-54 on Wednesday, December 28, 2011. | Larry Kane~For Sun-Times Media
Updated: December 28, 2011 11:16PM
Lemont coach Rick Runaas offered a simple explanation for Crane’s 58-54 victory Wednesday night in the small school championship game of the Romeoville Christmas Classic.
“We just got beat by a better team at the end,’’ Runaas said.
Crane’s Courtney Thomas rebounded a missed three-point attempt by Lemont with eight seconds to play that would have tied the game at 57, then added a free throw with six seconds left to seal the victory.
“I think the kids are believing we’re a quality basketball team and for the most part we showed it tonight,’’ Runaas said. “They’ve got a right to be disappointed, but they should still be proud of their effort.’’
Jouzas Balciunas had 17 points and seven rebounds for Lemont (10-2), while Paul Otruskevicius had 10 points and Joe O’Brien nine points.
“No. 25 (Balciunas) is a player,’’ Crane coach Chris Head said. “They hit some contested baskets.’’
Willie Conner led Crane (7-3) with 16 points and eight rebounds, Thomas had 15 points and Issaiah Hayes had 14, including two free throws for the 57-54 lead with 20 seconds left.
“We had a much better effort tonight,’’ Head said. “We played like a basketball team. We ran the offense, we talked on the floor.’’
Runaas didn’t believe quickness was a factor against the Public League team.
“I didn’t think that was the difference,’’ he said. “I felt like we could get up and down the floor with them.’’
Crane was ahead 28-25 at halftime. Lemont jumped out to a 6-0 lead before Crane put together a 13-2 run.
Argo 60, Urban Prep 40: Argo claimed the large school consolation title as Jalyn Turner led the way with 20 points, Ryan Krob had 10 and Cordell Binns chipped in nine points and seven rebounds.