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Oak Park's defense pins in Lyons' Sam Cybulski during the game on Friday, February 8, 2013. | Joel Lerner~Sun-Times Media
Oak Park-River Forest won its first five West Suburban Silver games of the season, but the hopes of a repeat for the defending conference champions were dashed Friday night at Lyons.
Slumping OPRF couldn’t get out of its funk as Lyons picked up its biggest win of the season with a 61-52 victory. Lyons’ only previous conference wins this season were against Downers North, but three three-pointers from Chris O’Reilly late in the third quarter and a bushel of free throws in the fourth quarter carried Lyons (11-12, 3-7) to the upset.
“I’d probably say so at this point [that this was a big win],” Lyons coach Tom Sloan said. “Oak Park is a really, really good team. I can’t think of a team [we’ve beat] that I think is better than this one. They are the No. 3 seed in our sectional.”
O’Reilly, one of Lyons’ top tennis players in the spring, didn’t score in the first half, but finished with 14 points and five rebounds. His three consecutive three-pointers pushed Lyons from a 28-24 lead to a 37-26 lead with 53 seconds remaining in the third quarter. OPRF leading scorer Erick Locke (team-high 17 points) made a pair of threes to end the third quarter, but Lyons did not relinquish the lead with 14 of 17 free throws in the fourth quarter.
“When your shots do not fall, you do anything you can to get the guys involved,” said O’Reilly, who missed all five of his shot attempts in the first half. “Hopefully we can carry this momentum into the state playoffs in two weeks or so. There was not a better way to go out in my senior year than winning our biggest game at home.”
Turnovers and poor shooting doomed the Huskies (14-8, 5-4), who have lost four of their last five games. Alex Gustafson added 15 points on five three-pointers. OPRF made 8 of 25 three-pointers in the game.
“I thought we played hard, but we didn’t play smart,” OPRF coach Matt Maloney said.
Sophomore Harrison Niego scored a game-high 20 points for Lyons by making 11 of 12 free throws in the second half. Sam Cybulski scored 12 of his 16 points in the first half for Lyons.
“We’ve won three in a row for our first three-game win streak of the year,” Sloan said. “We’re making a lot of progress. A win like this is so big for the kids.”