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In the championship game of the 11th Annual Glenbard West Holiday Classic against Willowbrook, Leyden found itself in a troublesome 13-2 hole early in the first quarter.
Willowbrook was hitting every basket and it appeared the Warriors’ momentum had no foreseeable end.
In hopes of regaining his team’s confidence and composure, Eagles coach Bill Heisler called a game-changing timeout.
“We needed to calm down and after we scored after the timeout, we did. We had to fight through in order to come out on top.”
The Eagles (10-3) ended up outscoring Willowbrook 60-37 in the final three quarters to give them a convincing 67-53 victory and the honor to hoist the championship trophy.
After Willowbrook (6-7) went ahead in the first quarter 16-7, Leyden’s offense came alive with strong performances from senior guards Jonathan Wolf and Omar Lozoya. The two guards combined for 15 of their team’s 20 second-quarter points.
Leyden continued to pour it on in the second half as their offense and defense was relentless on Willowbrook’s athletic guards.
The Warriors were led by their three seniors: Joshua Joiner, Tiger Greene and Nick Kilianek. Joiner scored a team-high 16 points while Greene added 12 and Killianek totaled 13.
However, it was the explosiveness of Leyden’s guards Jonathan Wolf and Anthony Gonzalez who continued to outmatch Willowbrook around the perimeter.
Both of the players were too much for Willowbrook’s defense to handle, the two scoring all but three of their team’s 18 fourth-quarter points.
Gonzalez recorded a double-double with 19 points and 10 rebounds.
Wolf, who scored a team-high 29 points, expressed how great it was to have Gonzalez as his counterpart by stating, “I love finding him down low. If I give him the ball, it is almost certain he is going to score for me.”
With the tournament championship victory coming over a conference foe, it should put other teams on notice that this Leyden squad is the real deal.
“Right now we are at full strength, and I am extremely pleased the way we played in this tournament,” added coach Bill Heisler.