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Hinsdale Central sophomore sharpshooter Gabrielle Rush isn’t going to make every shot, but when she misses, it must be nice to know that Lily Sarros has her back.
Sarros, a 6-foot-1 senior, had nine of her 11 rebounds in the first half and added seven points and six blocked shots to help No. 23 Hinsdale Central turn back Lyons 54-38 in a West Suburban Silver game Friday in LaGrange.
Sarros said she has had better offensive games, but few that rival Friday’s contest in terms of blocks and boards.
“I’ve played a little bit better offensively, but that’s not necessarily what it’s all about,” Sarros said. “Defensively, it was one of my best halves. It was good to help the team that way. It was a pretty good half for me. I just think when the ball goes up I have to go get it. It’s all about tenacity.”
Rush led the way with 21 points, but was just 6 of 17 from the field.
“My shots were awful in the first half,” Rush said. “But we got so many putbacks off the back rim. Everybody was there to rebound and put them back in.”
Hinsdale Central (9-2, 6-0) used an 11-0 run at the end of the first quarter and beginning on the second to break a 10-10 tie. A rebound basket by sophomore LeeLee Gulledge extended the lead to 30-17 at the break, and a Jenna Broz putback pushed the advantage to 38-23 early in the third quarter.
But Lyons (6-4, 2-4) closed the third quarter on a 9-2 run behind Sara Beck (14 points) and Ashanti Davis (14 points, eight rebounds) and Beck’s short jumper off the glass pulled the Lions to within 40-34 with 7:41 remaining in the game.
“We expected them to make a run because we know they’re a great team,” Sarros said. “But we knew that we could play better, so we were able to keep our poise, keep calm and come out with a win.”
Rush bagged a pair of three-pointers and then fed Sarros underneath as Hinsdale Central answered with an 8-2 run to regain a 48-36 lead with 2:45 remaining.
“Coach (Tom McKenna) said they were going to make a run, so we just needed to be able to keep with it and keep going hard,” Rush said. “I feel that’s when I make shots…under pressure. I felt I was more in a zone at the end. I had a bit more confidence in my shot than I did at the beginning.”
Broz added 12 points and eight rebounds for Hinsdale Central, which could face Lyons next week in a second-round game at the Wheaton North tournament.
“We played with them at the start of the first quarter, but what really hurt us was our rebounding,” Lyons coach Katie Meyers said. “They hit the boards incredibly hard. They got a lot of second-chance buckets that really ended up hurting us.
“We tried to crawl back into it and did a great job in the third quarter,” she added. “We had a bigger lineup in there to match up with their height. It seemed to be effective, but we couldn’t put the ball in the hole as much as we need to.”