Boys Basketball: Richards surprises Lemont
By Tony Baranek email@example.com January 4, 2013 11:08PM
Richards' John Montgomery dishes off after drawing attention from Lemont's Juozas Balciunas and Joe Hehir (3). | Mary Beth Nolan~For Sun-Times Media
Updated: February 7, 2013 6:29AM
The Christmas trip to Centralia didn’t go all that well.
The first half and much of the third quarter in Friday night’s South Suburban Red crossover against visiting Lemont wasn’t much better.
But Richards had quite the surprise awaiting on the bench in sophomore Spencer Tears. And when he dropped in, the floor dropped out on Lemont.
“Coming off the bench is a big role, but coach said if it’s open to let it ride. That’s what I did.” Tears said about his back-to-back three-pointers late in the third period that kick-started the Bulldogs to a come-from-behind 81-74 victory.
Josh Meier had 21 points and 12 rebounds, Cortez Harper 20 points, Tears a career-high 16 points and Dedrick Shannon Jr. 13 points as Richards improved to 5-5, 2-3.
Lemont (13-2, 4-1) was led by Juozas Balciunas (25 points), Mike Wisz (16) and Martynas Einikis (16).
The Indians dominated early both on the boards and from a distance, hitting seven three-pointers during a first half in which they built a 48-36 lead. Balciunas was deadly, shooting 8-of-10 from the field and totaling 23 points.
Things would change in a big way.
It was 62-49 Lemont with two minutes left in the third period when Tears popped his back-to-back threes. Harper, who earlier in the period had kept the Bulldogs within striking distance with three baskets, finished it off with a layup at the buzzer to make it 62-59.
Richards took the lead with 6:43 left to play at 65-64 on another fastbreak layup by Cortez. The 6-foot-5 Meier turned the board domination in his direction, scoring twice on putbacks.
Balciunas, meanwhile, was held to just two second-half points, Lemont as a team to just three more threes.
“He was hot (in the first half) but we knew he couldn’t continue to keep doing it all game,” Cortez said. “We just figured that if we came out and played harder defense, we would come back and get in this game.
“We just knew we had to have a spark. That trip to Centralia (1-2) wasn’t good and we knew we had to come back, get some big stops and get a win. That’s what we did.”