IC Catholic Prep doubles up Lisle to cap perfect week

IC Catholic Prep junior guard Jake Gallagher made the play of the game on Saturday afternoon.

The only problem, though, was he barely got to see his highlight-reel two-pointer.

Driving hard to the basket in a nonconference game against Lisle, Gallagher tossed the ball high off the glass while tumbling to the court. As the ball slowly nestled in the hoop, Gallagher triumphantly rose up to a large round of cheers and plaudits from the mostly pro-Knights crowd.

"I got the deflection and came down the court and noticed (the defender) was on my back and was looking to finish," Gallagher said. "I got to the floor and saw it went in. We had a bunch of energy from the students, so that was a changing moment in the game."

Indeed, it was a changing moment in the game. After Gallagher's old-fashioned 3-point play late in the second quarter, the Knights gained control of the game to cruise to a 58-29 win over the Lions.

The Knights (5-4) capped a perfect week - three wins in three games - with a nearly perfect game. They played solid defense, crashed the boards, neutralized Lisle's height and bulk advantage with active hands and feet on defense and pushed the pace. Gallagher fueled the Knights' solid two-way effort with 16 points, Dean O'Brien added 11 points and Aidan Johnson chipped in with 9 points.

"We brought a lot on intensity on defense, getting a ton of deflections and steals and that made scoring a lot easier since it was a lot of fastbreak layups," Gallagher said. "It was a fun game to play in. We started a little slow as a team, but we're playing well now with three straight wins and looking to get more next week."

The Knights and Lions (3-5) were locked in a physical battle that featured a number of tumbles to the floor throughout the game. The Lions struggled in the second half, mainly due to foul trouble by senior center Chris Farrell. The 6-foot-5, 280-pound Farrell, who scored 21 points and pulled down 20 rebounds against Evergreen Park in late November, did not play the final 11-plus minutes after picking up his fourth foul. Farrell, an offensive/defensive lineman, finished with 2 points. Junior guard Drew Nigro scored 7 points to lead the Lions.

"We had moments," Lisle coach Andrew Weber said. "We had a lot of guys play a lot of minutes on Friday night, and it caught up to us in an early afternoon Saturday game. We did some good things, and are still building on them."

Johnson, a second-year varsity player, scored on a putback early in the second quarter to push the Knights' lead to 15-8. Johnson said the Knights' defense sparked the blowout win.

"We played really fast and got a lot of deflections and our bench brought a lot of energy and that transformed to our play on the court," Johnson said.

IC Catholic coach T.J. Tyrrell said his players had a bounce-back week.

"I thought our guys stuck with the plan and kept the defensive intensity up to keep them off-balanced," he said. "We had a lot of guys step up and give us good energy. Jake had a really good game for us, getting in passing lanes and getting deflections and also finishing with contact. We challenged the guys at the start of the week, and they got three wins."

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