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Plainfield Central makes its mark

01/02/2013, 7:08pm CST
By Tina Akouris takouris@suntimes.com

Plainfield Central’s showing at the Romeoville tournament could not have gone too much better and Lemont’s Juozas Balciunas team has his back.

Plainfield Central has had an up and down season, but the Wildcats made their mark in the large-school title game Friday at the Romeoville Tournament.

Plainfield Central beat host Romeoville 54-36, but couldn’t contain Lemont — the small-school title winner — the next night in the tournament’s championship game between the large- and small-school champs.

“If you’re going to play four games, you might as well win four,” Plainfield Central coach Steve Lamberti said. “We were here last year and in the same situation, so our guys aren’t satisfied. Lemont’s a heck of a team, but these kids battle and they try.”

What worked against Romeoville appeared not to have worked against Lemont.

The Wildcats put pressure on Romeoville in the third quarter and put the game away early, continuing to apply the pressure in the fourth quarter for good measure.

Against Lemont, all Central could muster was a stretch in the third quarter in which it outscored the Indians 16-7 and cut the Lemont lead to two.

That was an ‘off’ night?

Lemont point guard Juozas Balciunas had what some in the know would consider an off night in the Indians’ victory over Ridgewood in the Romeoville Tournament’s small-school title game. He scored 16 points but was limited to seven points by halftime and even was benched for a couple of minutes after taking an errant three-point shot.

“We expect so much out of him that when he’s not near-perfect we think there is something wrong with him,” Lemont coach Rick Runaas said. “He is (under the microscope) and I don’t think the pressure is on. But he expects a lot out of himself and we expect a lot out of him.”

But he has help ...

Balciunas may be under the microscope, but he has a supporting cast to take the pressure off.

Friday against Ridgewood in the small-school title game at Romeoville, Joe Hehir (17 points), Mike Wisz (16) and Martynas Einikis (12) all chipped in.

“They bring their ‘A’ game every single day and it’s nothing new,” Balciunas said. “That’s what they’re supposed to do.”

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