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Lemont's Martynas Einikis (35) shoots for a two, during Friday night's game between Lemont and Ridgewood high schools. | Paul Bergstrom ~ For Sun-Times Media
Lemont cruised to a 71-46 victory in the small-school championship game at the Romeoville Tournament Friday, as four players scored in double figures.
Joe Hehir led the Indians with 17 points and Juozas Balciunas and Mike Wisz both scored 16. Martynas Einikis chipped in 12 points.
Despite Lemont getting out to a 10-point lead early in the second quarter, Ridgewood held the Indians’ big playmaker, point guard Balciunas scoreless in the first quarter and to only seven points at halftime.
“They were pressuring us from the very beginning and we just moved the ball and tried to play our game,” Balciunas said. “Every player has just one of those days when you’re off. I just tried to do whatever I could to help my team win. It’s not always about putting up big points.”
Balciunas didn’t score his first basket until he sank a three-point shot at the five-minute mark of the second quarter.
The Indians’ lead grew to 13 late in the second quarter, and after a flurry of Ridgewood scoring, Lemont was able to build up its lead and the Indians had a 33-20 advantage at the half.
Balciunas sat for part of the third quarter after missing a three-pointer, and returned in the fourth. Balciunas had a spark early in that quarter when he slapped the ball away at midcourt and went in for a layup.
“I think I pulled him when he took a long three and I told him that he has the green light (to shoot) most of the time, but that was a bad shot,” Lemon coach Rick Runaas said.
Lemont (12-1) scored seven unanswered points to start the third quarter, before Ridgewood countered with a 6-0 spurt. But Lemont had a 20-point lead going into the final quarter and had the game well in hand.
Igor Cirkovic led Ridgewood (10-5) with 14 points.