The Lyons boys won two big road games, both upsets, to climb up in the standings heading into the final week of the regular season. At Dayspring on Friday versus a 10-4 Eagles team, a shorthanded Lyons team earned a hard-fought 55-51 victory. What made this win special were contributions from unlikely sources.
Freshman starter and second-leading scorer Tucker Mills was unable to make the trip due to illness. Already down two other varsity contributors (junior Jordan Valente was unavailable, and senior Isaac Roberts is out with an injury), things did not look especially promising for the Lions. Sophomore Grant Gau, who regularly plays on the junior varsity, was asked to come in to fill a major role. Junior Ben Botkin started in Mills’ absence and played well, but suffered from early foul trouble.
It was sophomore Gage Basey that carried the load for the Lions throughout the first half. The Eagles had no answer for Basey, who scored on several put-backs and post moves to push the Lions to a 34-26 lead at the halfway point. The third quarter was more of the same. Junior Bode Shiver, who hit five three-pointers on his way to 16 points, provided a huge scoring lift in the second half. The Lions would lead by as many as 16 in the game, but the final two minutes provided some scary moments.
Playing with four fouls, Basey found a loose ball, stepped to the basket with it, and scored, but not before charging his opponent and fouling out. With the team up by just three, senior Harrison Abernathy was taken out at mid-court and had to leave the game. In a bizarre turn of events, the official called traveling on the Eagles and awarded Lyons possession at half court. Another freshmen, Alex Dugan, entered the game and found himself with the ball after the inbound pass. He was immediately fouled and came to the line for a one-and-one opportunity. Shaking off some nerves, and with a bit of luck, Dugan banked in the first to give Lyons a four-point margin.
Luckily for the Lions, Abernathy was able to return, and helped Lyons run out the clock to earn the big win. Basey finished with a monster game (19 points, 10 rebounds). The win gave Lions its fifth conference victory, but not their last for the week.
On the heels of the win at Dayspring, the Lyons boys had a quick turnaround with a Saturday road trip to Union Colony to face the 10-5 Timberwolves. This game was a make-up from the previous week. The late schedule change meant that coach Jahmiel McLawrence was unable to attend due to a previous engagement.
The Lions seemed to enjoy the underdog role. They pulled off another big win, 63-50, spoiling the home team’s Saturday night plans. Union Colony had a chance to finish second or third in the district standards prior to the loss. Now, they are looking up at the young Lions.
With freshman Tucker Mills back in the lineup, but not completely healthy, another Lion would need to step up. Sophomore Gage Basey was his usual self, adding 17 points and 13 rebounds. Junior Bode Shiver stayed hot from the outside, hitting four three-pointers. The biggest contribution would come with 20 points from another freshman, starting guard Nathan Richardson. Richardson hit a big three pointer from long rage, along with seven free throws and some clutch drives.
The three players accounted for much of the scoring, but it continues to be the Lyons’ team defense, and their team-oriented spirit, that is carrying them to these wins. Sitting at 8-9 with a winnable game Tuesday night at home, the Lyons will finish the Mile High League with a winning record (6-4) and a chance to host a district game next week.