Lyons junior Cybulski answers call on defense
Sam Cybulski (left) of Lyons Township is about to have his layup blocked by Jared Brownridge (23) of Waubonsie Valley as Warrior Javaris Stewart (33) also defends. | Jon Cunningham~For Sun-Times Media
Wrestling: at OPRF Invite, 8 a.m.
A.J. Villareal and Jarvis Sanders lead Lyons into its last invitational of the regular season before regionals begin Feb. 2. Lyons finished second at OPRF last year behind the host Huskies and is coming off a fourth place finish at Palatine’s Berman Classic Dec. 28. Lyons’ last dual meet of the season is Jan. 25 against Lake Park at home.
Boys basketball: vs. Kenwood, 6 p.m.
Former Lyons star Jim Maley returns home and take the bench after taking over Kenwood’s program a few years ago. Maley is part of Lyons royalty, along with sisters Katie and Kelly. Expect a large crowd of Maley family members torn between rooting for hometown Lyons or Jim’s team. Maley’s father, Jim, is the girls basketball coach at St. Joseph, which plays at 2:30 p.m. Saturday.
Updated: February 19, 2013 12:26PM
LA GRANGE — Growing up with two older brothers, Lyons’ Sam Cybulski learned plenty about competitiveness.
The 6-foot-3 junior guard has used those life lessons when it comes to basketball.
“My brothers (Greg and Nick) always beat me in everything when I was little and I hated it,” Cybulski said. “I still hate to lose. It’s the worse feeling in the world.”
While Cybulski was disappointed falling to rival Hinsdale Central 55-39 Friday in La Grange, he did his part defensively, especially in the second half.
After Hinsdale Central’s Brian Owens torched the Lions with five 3-pointers in the first half, Cybulski guarded the Red Devils standout in the second half for the Lions (6-9, 1-4 WSC Silver).
Owens didn’t even get a shot off in the final two quarters.
“He’s a great player and shot the lights out in the first half,” Cybulski said. “I focus on defense a lot. It was really hard, but I stuck with him the whole time and tried not to let him get a shot off. My legs were feeling great, I was low to the ground and I was forcing him to his left the whole time. He was probably tired by the time he dribbled up court because I was full-court guarding him.”
Lyons coach Tom Sloan was not surprised by the job Cybulski did.
“We told him to come in and shut down the guy that was hot and he did that,” Sloan said. “He’s 6-3 with long arms and is athletic and quick, but mostly he has the will and desire to guard people.
“He’s just tough mentally and physically. He hates to get beat on a single possession and when the guy he’s guarding gets an opportunity to score he takes it personally. He takes a lot of pride in that. That’s what it boils down to.”
Cybulski also played shortstop and pitched for the Lyons baseball team’s summer league championship team.
That kind of athleticism is a big reason why he’s been able to shine defensively, even if it’s a trait Cybulski believes developed just recently.
“My (strong) defense really just started this year actually,” Cybulski said. “I’ve gotten a lot more athletic and it’s helped my game a lot. My defense makes me play better on offense, too.”