Boys Basketball: Lemont outlasts Lincoln-Way WestLemont's Jake Terrazas (42) attempts to block Lincoln-Way West's Kevin White (3), at Monday night's game between Lincoln-Way West and Lemont. | Paul James Bergstrom~For Sun-Times Media
Updated: December 5, 2011 9:10PM
Lemont senior Joe O’Brien knows good basketball is far from the first thing people think about with regard to his school.
If the Indians keep this up, that may change.
After going 8-18 a season ago, Lemont improved to 4-0 this campaign with a 55-51 win over Lincoln-Way West in round-robin play of the Knights/Warriors Winter Classic on Monday in New Lenox.
“I’ve never been 4-0,” O’Brien said after scoring a team-high 14 points, including 12 in the second half. “Lemont basketball isn’t exactly known as being good. This is great.”
Lincoln-Way West (1-6 overall, 0-2 in the tournament) led 41-40 with 5:13 left in the game before the Indians went on an 8-0 run.
Gino Manzella (10 points, 8 rebounds) scored seven points in less than two minutes to bring the Warriors to within 51-50 with 47 seconds to go, but Juozas Balciunas (9 points, 7 rebounds) hit three free throws to seal it for Lemont.
West led 24-18 at the half, but Lemont turned the game around with its penetration. O’Brien scored nine third-quarter points as the Indians posted an 18-9 edge in the period, converting layups off baseline drives and back cuts.
“They were really coming up on us and the baseline was wide open,” O’Brien said.
“They’re a good team, and they were able to get penetration when they needed to score,” West coach Eric Long said. “I can’t fault our kids’ effort. If we play that hard every time, we’ll do good things.”
Kevin White (7 rebounds) poured in 17 of his 21 points in the second half to lead West. Brian Skowronski added 13.
Mike Wisz (13 points) and Jake Terrazas (6 points, 12 rebounds) contributed for Lemont, which improved to 2-0 in the tournament.
“This is unchartered territory for us,” Lemont coach Rick Runaas said. “The kids are excited. I think (West) wanted it a bit more than us tonight, but it’s all about surviving.”