Lyons holds off Conant comeback

SHARE Lyons holds off Conant comeback

Chris Hester finished with 16 points, leading five players in double figures, and Lyons held off an emphatic second half rally by Conant, for a 69-64 victory in Friday’s second round game in York’s 40th Jack Tosh Holiday Classic.

Harrison Niego added 11 points and Omar Gilbert, Sam Cybulski and Jim Cullen each contributed 10 points for Lyons, which advances to face Metea Valley in one of Saturday’s quarterfinals at 3:30 p.m.

“Harrison Niego is the guy most people would talk about, but the fact that we have other guys who can score is why we’ve played pretty well,” Lyons coach Tom Sloan said. “A perfect example is when (Conant) cut it to a one-point game and Harrison found Chris Hester who found Matt Mrazek for a lay-up and three-point play.”

That play gave Lyons a 64-60 led with 1:41 left.

Lyons (7-3) led 38-33 at the half and used a 7-0 run over just 48 seconds in the third quarter to take a 49-36 lead, but Conant came back fighting, outscoring Lyons, 14-2, to close out the quarter and pull within 51-50 on Ryan Blaha’s (18 points) lay-in.

“I thought our kids did a nice job of just hanging in there,” Conant coach Tom McCormack said. “Controlling our defensive backboard allowed us to get back into the game and we were right there. We’ve been in that situation before, but haven’t been able to get over the hump at the end of a close game.”

Cullen sank both ends of a one-and-one to give Lyons a 67-63 advantage with 13.5 seconds left.

Conant (7-4) had one final opportunity with 2.4 seconds left. Blaha made the first of two free throws and then intentionally missed the second in hopes of a long rebound and desperation game-tying three-pointer, but Lyons collected the rebound and Hester sank two more free throws.

“I thought we were really poised at the end,” Cullen said. “We held ourselves together, picked each other up when we needed and came out with a great win.”

Joe Ranallo paced the Cougars with 26 points and 7 assists and D’Angelo McBride had 10 points and 10 rebounds.

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