ELLINWOOD, Kan. The Lyons boys have faced their share of woes in recent seasons. The Lions won just 10 games over the last four seasons – with half of those wins coming just last year. This year’s Lyons squad entered Friday’s game in Ellinwood at 9-2 with wins against Hugoton, Larned, and Pratt-Skyline – all ranked teams. The Lions added to their list, spoiling Homecoming in Ellinwood with a 53-50 win over the ranked Eagles.
“It’s having everybody back from last year and having a heck of an off-season,” said Lyons coach Brian Friess. “We had some kids who played a lot of basketball this summer. (Junior Trey McClure) especially had a great off-season. Our kids, they’re tired of losing. We have some guards who are fast and we can shoot the ball pretty well.”
Ellinwood, playing in front of a packed and raucous house, led 24-23 at the half. Lyons stormed out of the half with a 3-pointer from McClure for a 26-25 lead. McClure added a pair of free throws, then senior Connor Minix sank a long two and the gap grew to 31-25.
“I don’t know that we did anything, other than get them a little rattled,” Friess said. “There was a lot of chirping going on out there. I told our guys the most disciplined team was probably going to win. I don’t know if we were more disciplined, but I think we held our composure pretty well.”
Rey Alamos added a basket to put the Lions to cap a 10-1 run midway through the third quarter. Just as important down the stretch, Ellinwood freshman Brit Dutton picked up a fourth personal foul. Lyons held on to a 39-34 lead heading into the fourth.
Each time the Eagles got close the Lions were able to pull away. Minix swished a baseline jumper early on, then McClure answered a Tyler Knop trey with a drive to keep the lead at 45-39 with 5:03 to play. Ellinwood was able to get as close as four points several times late but Lyons picked up free throws from McClure and senior Aaron Gomez. In all, the Lions went 8 for 10 from the line in the fourth quarter.
“Early in the year we didn’t (make free throws), but the last four games we’ve been shooting around 75-77 percent from the line,” Friess said. “The kids have really done a good job.”
All those points proved pivotal late. Dutton created space to hit a 3-pointer with just 23 ticks left. That basket made for a one-possession game at 53-50. Lyons had a good luck but missed and freshman Parker Scheck rebounded for the Eagles. Freshman Tyler Stuhlsatz drew contact in the waning seconds but the game ended with that 53-50 score.
Despite his foul trouble, Dutton still led all players with 19 points. Senior David Hammeke added 13 points and 14 rebounds, most of which came on the offensive end. McClure finished with 15 points and eight rebounds for Lyons. Alamos reached double digits with 11 points, and Gomez and Minix each finished with seven points.