Mrazek has big night for Lyons to drop Willowbrook
Elmhurst, 02/25/13--| Lyons Township's Robert Palmer and Willowbrook's Kyle Rushing fight for a loose ball. Lyons Township High School played Willowbrook High School in a boys basketball Class 4A regional quarterfinal game at York High School Monday evening. Jon Langham~for Sun-Times Media
Updated: February 26, 2013 1:15PM
ELMHURST — Matt Mrazek is known as a big wide receiver for Lyons’ football team, but his contributions on the basketball court were huge Monday night.
The 6-foot-4 junior forward scored a career-high 16 points to help Lyons advance in the Class 4A York Regional with a 67-56 victory over 19th-seeded Willowbrook.
Lyons, a No. 15 seed, will play West Suburban Silver rival York for the third time this season at 7:30 p.m. Tuesday in the regional semifinal. The second-seeded Dukes (20-7) already own two wins over Lyons, 53-38 Dec. 7 and 62-43 on Jan. 26.
Lyons (13-14) could celebrate a playoff-opening win after the Warriors (10-17) missed their first 10 shots to open the game and never recovered.
“We are pleased as heck to win and advance,” Lyons coach Tom Sloan said. “It was not pretty. An ugly victory is much better than an ugly loss in the playoffs.”
Mrazek scored 12 points in the second half to turn away Willowbrook, which trailed 29-23 at the half. Lyons scored the first 10 points in the third quarter to take a commanding lead and Willowbrook could not threaten. Lyons outscored the Warriors 20-13 in the third quarter.
The Warriors shot 1-of-13 in the first quarter and 6-of-25 in the first half. Tiger Greene scored Willowbrook’s first basket, a 15-foot jumper with 1:46 to go in the first quarter to trim Lyons’ lead to 16-5.
“Our defense was big,” Mrazek said. “If we start off fast like that on defense, we’re going to turn that into our offense.”
Willowbrook struggled to adjust to Lyons’ zone defense and Lyons outrebounded the Warriors 32-23. Mrazek had eight rebounds while guard Harrison Niego (seven points) finished with nine.
“They were basically 6-(foot)-2 and 6-3,” Mrazek said. “I knew with their (lack of) height, I had an advantage.”
Christopher O’Reilly added 13 points for Lyons while Sam Cybulski scored 10 points off the bench despite playing with four fouls.
Joshua Joiner led Willowbrook with 17 points and eight rebounds. Greene collected 14 points and Yashua Trent had 12. Chris Poole (11 points) nailed three 3-pointers in the second half to help the Warriors.
“I thought we were flat at the beginning. They guys were tentative,” Willowbrook coach Chris Perkins said. “They were short-arming shots.”
The Warriors lost seven of their last eight games and ended the season with a four-game losing streak