LYONS — The Lyons boys basketball team needed a jump start to their season after only scoring 26 points in their opening contest on Wednesday at Liberty Common.
Clear Creek's Noah Sarria played the perfect villain in Friday's nonleague home game — a player who brought the intensity that the Lions knew they needed to match.
And they did.
Despite Sarria's 40 points for the game, Lyons mounted a furious rally in the second half and managed to walk off the court winners 67-66 after Joe McCain hit two free throws with 3.7 seconds left on the clock to finish off a balanced and heart-stopping effort.
"You just always have to be ready for free throws," said McCain, whose fourth quarter also included two clutch 3-pointers as the teams played at a furious pace down the stretch. "Our team has a lot of fight, and we always come back because we just want to get wins.
"We're just going to keep getting better."
The Lions scored 25 points in the final stanza, nearly matching their 32-minute output of two nights ago. Late in the third quarter, they were down to Clear Creek 51-38. But that's when they started to heat up.
After sinking just two 3-pointers in the first half, Lyons started to make the extra swing pass or the drive and kick-out to their open shooters, and they started hitting them. Tristan Chavez, Colton Jonjak and McCain all calmly sunk treys after halftime, and the Lions were able to run the floor and convert some turnovers into points as well to erase that 13-point CCHS advantage.
Sarria, however, didn't slow down a bit after posting 21 first-half points. With 30 seconds left in the game, he hit his sixth 3-pointer to give CCHS a 66-65 lead after his team had fallen behind by as much as 65-57.
Both teams then exchanged empty possessions, but McCain was able to draw a foul along the baseline to get to the free-throw line. Cool and collected, he drained the shots even though he had to bridge a Clear Creek time-out between them.
The Golddiggers drew up a play to get the ball to Sarria, and he was fouled at half-court with 2.5 seconds left to go to the line, as well. But Sarria couldn't find the range on either one, giving LHS the win.
"Our team is very unselfish and we'll pass and pass until we get an open shot," McCain said.
Lyons had seven scorers all with at least seven points, including Chavez and Evan Reeves with 11 apiece.
Lyons 67, Clear Creek 66
At Lyons HS
CLEAR CREEK (0-2)
Sarria 13 8-16 40, Gerding 5 4-4 17, Mercer 1 0-0 2, Judge 2 2-3 6, Diaz 0 1-2 1. Totals 21 15-25 66.
Chavez 5 0-1 11, Jonjak 3 0-4 9, Keane 3 1-2 7, McCain 3 4-4 13, Reeves 5 1-3 11, Farner 3 1-2 8, Nagy 2 4-8 8. Totals 24 11-24 67.
Score by quarters:Clear Creek 17 21 13 15 — 66
Lyons 9 22 11 25 — 67
3-point field goals — Clear Creek (9): Sarria 6, Gerding 3; Lyons (8): Jonjak 3, McCain 3, Chavez, Farner. Fouled out — Diaz, Farner.