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Glenbard West’s Evan Taylor (12) pushes the ball against Lyons, Tuesday 01-15-19. Worsom Robinson/For the Sun-Times.

Evan Taylor, Glenbard West gut out overtime win against Lyons

SHARE Evan Taylor, Glenbard West gut out overtime win against Lyons
SHARE Evan Taylor, Glenbard West gut out overtime win against Lyons

There are likely only a handful of players in the area averaging more than 20 points and double-digit rebounds. Glenbard West’s Evan Taylor is in that elite group, averaging 21 points and 10 rebounds.

But the SIU recruit struggled mightily on Tuesday in LaGrange. Taylor was able to get the shots he wanted, but they would not go in. Instead of sulking or giving up, the 6-6 senior crashed the boards and did what he could to get to the free-throw line.

That effort kept the Hilltoppers close until the end, when his teammates took over to seal a 48-45 overtime win against the Lions.

“That’s been the biggest thing for me this year, to be completely aggressive on both sides of the floor throughout the game,” Taylor said. “I’m focused on staying confident and aggressive because I know the team needs me.”

Taylor finished with 19 points, 22 rebounds and four assists. He was 3-for-16 from the field and and 11-for-19 from the free-throw line.

“I focused on what I could do since my shots weren’t falling at all,” Taylor said. “This is the first time in awhile I’ve struggled like this. I applaud my teammates because they really picked me up. I did not play well at all.”

Taylor wasn’t alone in his shooting struggles. The score was tied at 21 after three quarters.

“They were playing without [injured senior Tyrese Shines], which makes them a different team,” Glenbard West coach Tim Hoder said. “It took them out of their rhythm a little bit. All the games are not pretty, sometimes you have to be able to gut it out and make some plays down the stretch.”

Griffin Foster and Carter Lindstrom, two seniors, stepped up for the Hilltoppers (13-5, 3-3). Foster made a three-pointer with nine seconds left in regulation to put Glenbard West ahead 39-38.

Lyons senior Josh Berry made one of two free throws with seconds left to send the game to overtime and then Lindstrom took over. He made two three-pointers and shot 3-for-4 from the free-throw line to score all nine of the Hilltoppers’s points in overtime.

“Those were huge shots,” Hoder said. “It says a lot about their confidence and the work they put in that they are willing to take those at the end of the game with the game on the line.”

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“I was just saving it all for the end,” Lindstrom joked. “In overtime we had that first possession that took so long and there was just more of a sense of urgency and luckily I got the shots to fall.”

Senior Nolan Niego led Lyons (12-6, 4-3) with 19 points and Grant Niego added 14.

“[Taylor] is having a great season,” Hoder said. “We ask him to do so much and at times he gets tired. We don’t take him out really, he doesn’t get rest. He played half the game on the perimeter and still had 22 rebounds. That number shows his commitment and how hard he’s playing.”

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