Lyons sophomore Erin O’Brien, who scored 13 points, guards Argo senior Abby Gamboa during the Lions’ 73-46 victory. Photo by Steve Metsch
Lyons too much for Argo in regional championship game
By Steve Metsch
Going into the Class 4A Proviso East Regional title game, Lyons knew it had to keep close tabs on Argo sharpshooter Apple Guerrero.
The 5-foot-10 junior is Argo’s top threat and for the second consecutive season finished runner-up in the voting for South Suburban Conference Player of the Year.
Despite the Lions’ attention on Guerrero, she still managed to pour in 25 points to lead all scorers. Unfortunately that total accounted for more than half of the Argonauts’ points in a 73-46 Lyons’ victory on Feb. 18.
“They’re a very aggressive team, (and) tall,” Guerrero said. “I had to figure out how I could get to the basket without getting blocked.”
The Lions did what they do best: Run and gun while hitting open players with passes.
Four Lyons players scored in double digits as the well-balanced Lions (27-3) proved simply too much for Argo. They led 24-12 after one quarter and never looked back.
“There’s a reason why they’re the No. 1 seed,” McCarthy said. “They’re deep, (have) some great 3-point shooters. We had a hard time on both ends.”
The Lions will play Mother McAuley at 6 p.m. Feb. 22 in the Lyons Sectional semifinals.
Argo (13-14) tried to slow down Lyons by using their “Tiger Three” offense. Players dribble from sideline to sideline, passing to each other until someone has an open shot.
Unfortunately for the Argonauts, those shots didn’t fall as often as they needed to. Lyons responded to many of the misses with rebounds and subsequent fast breaks.
“The key for us was to hang around as long as we could because this is a team that can roll it up in a hurry,” McCarthy said of the Lions.
Lyons coach Meghan Hutchens said the team’s balance “has been a strength all year.”
“They have each other’s support and their backs,” she said. “It’s fun to watch when they can all do damage.”
For most of the game, the Lions were without starting senior guard Hailey Markworth, who limped off the court with an injured ankle with 4:50 left in the first quarter. Hutchens erred on the side of caution and is hopeful Harkworth can return for the regional semifinal.
Lyons led 48-26 lead at halftime.
“Everybody on the floor can score, (that) makes it real hard to guard us,” said Lions guard Izzy Lee. “We always have people ready to step up. That’s the best part about this team.”
Lyons junior guard Ally Cesarini scored 12 of her team-high 17 points in the first half.
“We did not take [Argo] for granted at all,” Cesarini said. “You don’t know what can happen.”
Lyons sophomore guard Elin O’Brien scored 13 points with three 3-pointers. Junior guard Ella Ormsby chipped in 10.
If the Lions win Tuesday night, they will play in the sectional championship game at 7 p.m. Thursday, Feb. 24 against either Kenwood or Whitney Young.