BROOMFIELD — Turnovers and missed shots put the Lyons Lions in a predicament in the first half with the Sheridan Rams at the Jefferson Academy tournament Friday evening. Following a low-scoring first quarter, the Rams pushed their early lead to 20 points before the half as the Lions couldn't buy a shot on offense.
Instead of rolling over, the Lions fought back with new life on offense in the second half. It was good enough to get a 23-point lead down to single digits, but not enough to get the win as they lost 57-44.
"This is the third game in a row we turned the ball over at a really high clip," head coach Jahmeil McLawrence said. "Ball security has been a focus in practice, but we're still grasping it."
The Lions were focused on stopping Elijah Jones, the junior guard for the Rams who came in averaging 29.5 points per game. With a diamond-1 defense to have a defender shadow Jones at all times, the Lions were able to contain him in the half court for periods in the game. Where Jones hurt them was with his defense as he stripped some ball handlers and converted easy layups on the other end.
While Jones was getting his layups and his teammates were knocking down shots, the Lions were struggling on offense, shooting 19 percent from the field and committing a high number of turnovers in the first half.
"The silly turnovers hurt us," McLawrence said.
McLawrence saw his team show some life on offense in the third quarter with 14 points, but his team still trailed by 20 going into the fourth.
In a matter of minutes, the Lions hit big shots from Logan Farner and Aidan Christensen. Free throws helped the run that cut the lead back down to nine points in the final two minutes of the game.
"We didn't really beat up and harp on them (after the game)," McLawrence said. "We wanted to focus on the positives, which was the second half that we want to build on."
Lyons will return to Jefferson Academy to play in the consolation game at 10:30 a.m. Saturday.
Lyons girls move to 2-1
Three players reached double figures and nine of the 11 players that played for the Lyons Lions (2-1) scored in the girls game versus the Sheridan Rams (0-4) to kick off the Jefferson Academy tournament. Avery Joy led the Lions with 15 points as they defeated the Rams 62-36 to advance to the championship game on Saturday.
"We knew coming in that Sheridan has been down the last couple of years, so there was some things coming in we wanted to work on and execute, especially with the full-court and half-court press," head coach Marcus Richardson said. "The girls really rose to the challenge and executed those two things."
Lyons jumped out to a 17-7 lead with four different players scoring in the first quarter. The lead grew as the Lions forced turnovers with their pressure defense to get out in transition for easy shots at the rim. In the half court, the team also worked around the 2-3 zone for the Rams, getting shots in the paint and from the perimeter throughout the game.
With the big lead in the second half, the Lions saw their big lead shrink late as Sheridan was able to crash the offensive boards and get second-chance points. Cleaning up the rebounding game will be a focus for the Lions as they face the Jefferson Academy Jaguars (2-1) in the tournament championship game on Saturday. The Jaguars are a team Richardson is familiar with having coached the middle school team before coming to Lyons.
"We have to do a better job boxing out against (Jefferson Academy)," Richardson said. "Their energy level will be high. They will fly around and play hard against us, so we have to be able to match that."
Sheridan 57, Lyons 44
At Jefferson Academy
Logan Farner 4 6-11 17, Franklyn Dorschel 4 1-3 9, Aidan Christiansen 2 3-6 8, Harrison Abernathy 2 1-4 5, Andrew Booth 1 0-0 2.
Elijah Jones 10 3-4 24, Armoni Espinoza 3 2-2 11, Josh Benavides 2 2-2 8, Brent Solano 2 0-0 6, Blake Bartsch 1 2-9 3, Noah Lopez 2 0--0 4.
Score by quarters:Lyons (0-3) 5 8 14 17 — 44
3-point field goals — Lyons (5): Farmer 4, Christansen. Sheridan (7): Benavides 2, Espinoza 2, Solano 2, Jones. Fouled out — Lopez. Technical fouls — Bartsch.
Lyons 62, Sheridan 36
At Jefferson Academy
Avery Joy 6 2-2 15, Jazmyn Enny 7 0-0 14, Kylee Udovich 5 0-0 10, Hope Kincaid 3 0-0 7, Hannah Schweiger 2 0-2 4, Mila Faubas 2 0-0 4, Alora Cross 1 0-0 2, Laura Hickey 0 2-2 2.
Emily Sanchez 4 0-0 10, Ive Miera 4 0-2 8, Arianna Drake 3 0-2 6, Genna Aguilar 3 0-0 6.
Score by quarters:Lyons (2-1) 17 16 11 18 — 62