Despite suffering a hard-fought 57-44 loss to two-time defending tournament champion Notre Dame on Monday night, Lane Tech is still optimistic about its chances of winning the 12thAnnual Frank V. Lollino Sr. Thanksgiving Basketball Tournament.
The varsity boys’ Indians trailed by just two at halftime, but a scoring drought and a host of turnovers in the third quarter sealed their fate against the sharp-shooting Dons in the tourney opener.
“We scheduled [Notre Dame] for the first game because we wanted to go after them and see where we were,” said Lane Tech head coach Nick Logalbo. “Overall it was a good performance. We battled hard and had them where we wanted at halftime. We just needed to make more adjustments in the second half.”
Senior co-captain and forward Eric Simmons, who finished the contest with 11 points, agreed with Logalbo’s evaluation.
“It was a tough one to lose,” he said. “I felt like we came out slow, but we picked it up and punched back. The start of the second half really killed us.”
Notre Dame junior guard Justin Halloran led the Dons third quarter surge, connecting on both of his three-point attempts. He finished with a game-high 17 points.
Meanwhile, the Indians staggered on offense, shooting just 35 percent from the floor in the second half.
Yet, many of the players in the Lane locker room remained upbeat about their chances of taking home the tournament crown.
“We almost beat Notre Dame—it was a tough loss—but I think we can win this,” said junior forward Zach Barth.
Senior forward Davielle Philips was confident his teammates would step it up.
“I think we can win the whole tournament,” Philips said. “We just need to play as a unit and make sure we leave our hearts on the court every day. We can win.”
However, the road to a championship won’t get any easier for the Indians. On Tuesday, they face off against Red-North Conference foe Taft, followed by games against a young and talented Zion-Benton squad, Payton and Evanston.
“It’s always a bloody rivalry with Taft, and every year we want each others’ throats,” Logalbo said. “Tomorrow is going to be a war, Wednesday is going to be a war, and then we’ve got Payton and Evanston—all good teams. So it’s a coin-toss, and it’ll be a good chance to see where we are.”
The round-robin tournament runs through Saturday.
Indians’ Remaining Tournament Schedule:
Tuesday, Nov. 22 – 3:30 p.m. vs. Taft
Wednesday, Nov. 23 – 7 p.m. vs. Zion-Benton
Friday, Nov. 25 – 7 p.m. vs. Payton
Saturday, Nov. 26 – 5:15 p.m. vs. Evanston