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Boys Basketball: Lincoln-Way East overcomes Plainfield Central

Updated: December 26, 2013 10:34PM



Luke Lizen tore the ACL in his left knee in the final game last basketball season.

The senior point guard worked so hard on his rehab that he was able to punt for the Griffins’ outstanding football team.

Now, he has reached the point where he can provide basketball coach Rich Kolimas with however many quality minutes he needs.

Lizen hit 5-of-7 shots, including 3-of-4 three-pointers, and scored 15 points Thursday to help Lincoln-Way East beat Plainfield Central 76-64 in the large-school opening round at the Romeoville Christmas Classic.

“If coach needs me for the whole game, I can do it,” said Lizen, who helped a second unit that Kolimas said was outstanding. “But we have a good rotation going and a good supporting cast.”

“Luke is still on the way back,” Kolimas said. “If he plays like that, I certainly will consider putting him back in the starting lineup.”

The starters Thursday pulled off a reversal of form as East (2-6) jumped to a 27-14 lead after a first quarter in which the Griffins hit 12-of-15 shots.

“We’ve been down 12-2, 18-5 all year, then we play with everybody,” Kolimas said. “We talked about what we could do to get ready earlier. We played better defense, and we saw the ball go in the hole.”

Josh Jones, the three-point specialist, led the Griffins with 17 points and post player Clint Nooner chipped in 13.

“Clint has moves down low,” Lizen said. “He is hard to guard. We really try to look for him. He scores against those guys who are bigger and slower than him.”

Central (3-6) came out strong in the third quarter and crept to within 43-41 but never got even. Lizen’s back-to-back three-pointers in the fourth quarter were the daggers.

“We started terribly, and that’s something you fear coming out of the holiday,” Wildcats coach Steve Lamberti said. “We turned it on a little later, but you can’t get down like that. Part of the reason this happened is we made it comfortable for them early.”

Austin Velasquez scored 15 points, Johnny Kostelz 13 and Dwight Watkins 12 for Central, which plays Little Village at 10:30 a.m. Friday. East faces Shepard at 5 p.m.



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