SENECA — The Seneca Fighting Irish are just too sharp from the foul line to allow them a double-digit fourth-quarter lead. Lisle found out Friday.
Playing at home for the first time since Dec. 15 with the Interstate Eight Conference lead in the balance, Seneca made 17 of 18 fourth-quarter free throws and 25 of 27 for the game to notch a 64-48 win.
“We say it’s a shocker when they miss,” said Irish coach Russ Witte.
Conlan Callahan, the seventh and final Callahan sibling to go through Seneca, made five 3-point baskets and scored a game-high 22 points. Fellow guard Peyton Schrag scored 20, nailing all 15 of his free throws in the fourth quarter.
“Our kids worked their tails off to try to get back in it and he just wasn’t going to let it happen,” said Lisle coach Mark LaScala, whose Lions fell to 9-9 and 5-1 in the I8, a game behind Seneca (14-3, 6-0).
“When you have a lead and you can give it to that kid who’s strong with the ball and is going to make his free throws, there’s not a lot else you can do. We tried. Our kids battled all the way and I’m proud of our effort, but they were just the better team tonight.”
Lisle started strong, point guard Dan Monson scoring 6 points and forward Lamont Ross grabbing 5 rebounds to post a 10-8 lead. Seneca turned the tables, rolling on a pair of 3s by Jimmy David and one each from Callahan and Austin Applebee to enter halftime up 24-18.
“Usually they make the open 3s on a mismatch and we don’t talk enough,” said Lisle’s Dawon Burrell, who scored 11 points to follow Ross’ 14. “And then they do the flex cut and they get wide open. It’s hard to get on them once they’re already in the air.”
“I don’t think it was bad defense,” LaScala said. “I think it was good shooting.”
He saw the turning point in the third quarter. Quick shots and 5 Lisle turnovers enabled Seneca to extend a 26-23 lead to 42-28 entering the fourth.
Callahan’s fifth 3-pointer — the Irish made 9 of 19 from the arc — had Seneca up 45-31 early in the fourth quarter. Now scrambling, Ross hit a bank shot then scored on a steal and lay-in. Two Jonny Parrillo free throws cut the lead to 49-37 with 4:49 left.
Working hard, LaScala subbed for offensive or defensive matchups and the Lions repeatedly put Seneca on the line, hoping to catch up. Schrag wouldn’t allow it.
“It’s really hard to come back against a team that makes all their free throws like Seneca did,” Parrillo said. “You’ve got to give them credit for that.”Copyright © 2014 Paddock Publications, Inc. All rights reserved.