LYONS — Two starters were missing Friday night for the Lyons Lions due to injury and a softball showcase. Two more starters, Kylee Udovich and Jazmyn Enny, both fouled out the fourth quarter of a tight game with the Valley Vikings.
Facing tough odds before and during the game, the Lions still came out on top.
A small run in the fourth quarter from key role players gave the Lions enough of a cushion to hold on for the 38-33 win at home over the Vikings to even their record on the season.
"We had a freshman start at center for us and Hope Kincaid played her best defensive game for us," Lyons coach Marcus Richardson said. "Younger girls had to inbound the ball and hold the lead late and they were able to do that. We were proud of them."
Avery Joy suffered a broken nose at the Jefferson Academy tournament last Saturday and was not cleared to return Friday night. Hannah Schweiger missed the game because of a softball commitment down in Florida, moving freshman Mila Faubus into the starting lineup.
Enny scored or assisted on the first five points of the game for the Lions but quickly picked up two fouls. Another foul in the second put her on the bench for most of the first half. Udovich stayed in a bit longer in the first half but also sat with a pair of fouls.
With the starting backcourt out, the Lions were forced to play a young lineup for long stretches. The first test was to stay alive in the first half, which the team did by holding on to a 12-11 lead after two quarters.
"We needed other girls to step in, but there wasn't really any letdown, which a lot of times happens," Richardson said. "We missed Jazmyn (Enny's) scoring, so we had to work a little harder to create those opportunities in the game."
Both Enny and Udovich were able to stay in the game most of the third quarter and helped the Lions stay in front. The two guards would combine for six of the 10 points that kept the Lions in front 22-15 going into the fourth.
As the two guards picked up their fourth fouls, Richardson chose to sit Udovich for some of the fourth quarter and keep Enny in the game. The gamble worked, in large part due to a 10-2 run sparked by the other players for Lyons. Faubus converted a layup on a pass from Enny, and Hannah Paton — the regular starter who played the entire game without foul trouble — stole the ball from a Vikings' guard and hit a breakaway layup. Kincaid hit another big shot and Monica Luttrell had some free throws late to push the lead up to 10 points.
"It was a huge contribution for us," Richardson said.
With a big enough lead, the Lions survived losing Enny and Udovich to their fifth fouls in the final few minutes. Two games next week leaves the Lions with a chance to get to 5-3 and find a little momentum heading into the winter break.
"I told them that winning always feels better than losing and 3-3 is a lot better than 2-4," Richardson said. "We have a chance to win both games next week. We certainly expect to go into break hopefully 5-3."
Lyons 38, Valley 33
At Lyons High School
Bailey Miller 2 9-12 13, Makayla Kissler 6 1-1 13, Savanna Rutherford 1 1-4 3, Kenzie Ray 0 2-4 2, Rylee Schmunk 1 0-0 2.
Jazmyn Enny 4 2-4 12, Kylee Udovich 4 0-0 9, Mila Faubus 4 0-0 8, Monica Luttrell 0 3-4 3, Hope Kincaid 1 0-3 2.
Score by quarters:Valley (1-7) 7 4 4 18 — 33
3-point field goals — Valley (0); Lyons (3); Enny 2, Udovich. Fouled out — Enny, Udovich.