By: Luke Drase
It certainly wasn’t the an ideal start for Lane in their potential conference clinching game against Schurz. Battling new surroundings, the Indians got off to an extremely poor start putting themselves in a 19-2 hole after just one quarter of play.
Luckily for Lane, they managed to overcome their first quarter struggles rather quickly to comfortably defeat Schurz 64-50, and clinch the White-North crown.
“We finally have a senior group, we were really young for a few years” said Lane Tech coach Nick LoGalbo on his teams comeback. “We talked about staying present, staying in the moment and to lock in defensively because that’s where we get all of our energy from.
After their slow start in pretty all facets of the game, Lane slowly started to chip away at the deficit in the second quarter starting on the defensive end by stopping Schurz’ Nakyel Shelton.
Shelton got out to a fast start hitting four threes and scoring 14 total points in the first half alone, but Lane eventually shut down the sharp shooting sophomore holding him to zero points over the final 20 minutes of the game.
Still trailing by nine points going into the halftime break, Lane finally found their shooting touch early in the third quarter.
The post tandem of Vuk Djuric and Calvin Keyes combined for 13 points and three assists in the frame, while as a team Lane scored more points in the third quarter than they did in the entire first half of the game.
“We didn’t feel the gym in the first half,” said LoGalbo. “We only hit two threes in the first half and the others were airballs, and we’ve been averaging 10-12 threes per game. So we just had to get a feel for where we were and I think we responded well.”
Lane used the offensive boost to take their first lead of the game at the end of the third quarter courtesy an off balance running three from Michael Molloy. The Indians carried the momentum from the third quarter into the fourth, while Schurz lost their composure after relinquishing the lead for the first time.
Lane not only maintained their slim lead, but extended it down the stretch by going 13 of 16 from the free throw line in the final quarter to secure the 64-50 win.
Djuric said: “This year we’ve either been really up or really down, so coming back like this was kind of new, but it will definitely help us down the road.”
The Indians finished the game with five players in double figures. Jimmy Mulvaney led the way with 16 points, Djuric added 15 points and eight rebounds, Molloy with 12, Keyes with a double-double of 11 and 10 and Zachary Krysztopik rounded it all off with 10.
With the conference title locked up, Lane now plays the waiting game to see if they will be promoted to the Red-North West super-conference.
In previous years, the public league adhered to a promotion/relegation system where each conference champion would move up a division, but the creation of the super-conferences for this season seemed to have altered that policy as Schurz and Collins remained in the White division despite winning their respective conferences last year.
“We honestly don’t know what winning the conference means, I wish they [CPS] would give us an answer,” said LoGalbo. “I think the super-conferences are a good idea, I think it could have been executed a little better. We want our shot at it like everybody else but it’s not our decision.”
“With how it was before with conference champions moving up it’s a little bit frustrating,” added Djuric. “We were hoping to get back to the red and compete against some amazing teams, but that’s not up to us. We’re just going to play our game and do our job on the floor.”
Though Lane is still unsure where they will play next season one thing is certain, by winning the White, Lane automatically qualifies to compete in the Public League playoffs, where the Indians can give a sneak peek on why they deserve to play against Chicago’s top teams.