LYONS — In terms of quirkiness, the newly adopted ratings percentage index has nothing on the puzzle that is the Class 1A/2A Mile High League basketball standings.
Teams fight for a league title, sure, but when it comes to district seedings and which teams go where after the regular season — it's like throwing a deck of cards: they go everywhere and pretty randomly, at that.
There was nothing random about how the girls league title was figured out on Tuesday night at Lyons, however. Lyons (a 2A team) needed to beat 1A Heritage Christian to get that elusive title, and they were just simply overmatched at the start in a 55-32 win for the Eagles — who hold the No. 1 spot in the 1A RPI and improved to 18-0.
The game was not as competitive as Lyons coach Jason Maguire envisioned, but it's not all bad news for Lyons (16-3). Next week, the team will still play host for one of two 2A districts that MHL teams participate in.
"Tonight was a good reminder of how hard we need to be playing, and Heritage deserved the league crown the way they played tonight," said Maguire, who saw his team make 15 of 49 field goals in the game and did not have a girl in double figures. "Hopefully this will just be a good eye-opener as we get ready for next week.
"It would have been nice to win this game, but big picture is we want to get better for districts."
Lyons has had its share of injuries and sickness this year, and after losing Taylor Christiansen to season-ending surgery earlier in January the Lions also were without starter Ixchel Leeuwenburgh (vertigo) for a few games recently. Yet LHS still worked its way into a title situation by winning four straight games entering Tuesday.
Leeuwenburgh was back Tuesday night, contributing six points and nine rebounds. But the night belonged to Heritage Christian's Sarah McGinley, the eighth-leading scorer in the state (20.6 ppg).
McGinley got going early and finished three assists away from a triple-double — she posted 28 points and had 13 rebounds to go along with those seven assists. She scored the first seven points for her team, then nailed three lengthy 3-pointers in the second quarter that sparked HCA to a 23-point frame and a 34-9 halftime lead.
The first 54 seconds of that second quarter were a blur for Lyons, and although they came out and played much better in the third quarter they could not get any closer than 39-21 entering the final frame.
"The first half, Heritage just played harder than we did and it gave us a reminder of how hard we should be playing all the time," Maguire said. "They hit four 3's in a minute and they were all from NBA range. It's tough to beat a team like that.
"Third and fourth quarters, I thought we played hard and if we would have had the intensity at the beginning of the game things might have been a little different."
Madison Johnson had seven points and seven rebounds for Lyons in the loss, and Kylee Udovich led the team with nine points.
Heritage Christian 55, Lyons 32
At Lyons HS
HERITAGE CHRISTIAN (18-0, 10-0)
Lacey 0 0-0 0, Bluth 2 3-4 7, Weaver 4 0-3 8, Collins 1 0-0 3, McGinley 11 2-2 28, Hughes 4 0-1 8, Stellingwerf 0 0-0 0, Johnson 0 1-2 1. Totals 22 6-12 55.
LYONS (16-3, 9-2)
Powell 0 0-0 0, Maguire 0 0-0 0, Udovich 4 0-0 9, Johnson 3 1-2 7, Walker 1 0-0 2, Dillon 0 0-0 0, Jonjak 2 0-0 4, Leeuwenburgh 3 0-2 6, Hiebert 0 0-0 0, Hall 2 0-0 4. Totals 15 1-4 32.
Score by quarters:Heritage Christian 11 23 5 16 — 55
Lyons 4 5 12 11 — 32
3-point field goals — Heritage Christian (5): McGinley 4, Collins; Lyons (1): Udovich.