Three days after a blizzard hit the Chicagoland area with a fury, the Lemont boys basketball returned to action as it traveled to play the Thornton Fractional North on Friday night.
And, like the snow storm, the trip was a nightmare for the Indians. They were stunned with a 67-20 loss after an offensive explosion initiated by the Meteors.
Lemont didn’t reach double figures figures until late in the second quarter, and the Indians trailed 39-11 at halftime. But the good news is it only counts as one setback.
Lemont coach Rick Runaas urged his team to not dwell on the loss and to move forward.
"We got absolutely crushed," Runaas said. "There was nothing good about this game. We lost a couple starters going in due to injuries. But, bottom line, (TF North) was the better team. We've got to forget about this loss and move forward."
The Indians have lost six of their last-seven games.
To make matters worse, Lemont played without starters Paulus Otruskevicius and Matt Lepowski due to injury.
Indians’ captain Evan Bridwell had troubles scoring against TF North. And, according to Runaas, Bridwell brings his intensity to the rest of the team.
“We got down mentally as well as on the scoreboard,” Runaas said. “ We missed a lot of shots early. Our morale got down (Friday). Evan (Bridwell) had a bad game, and usually (the team’s success) feeds off of him.”
With eight wins, the Indians (8-13, 3-7) have matched their win total of the 2009-10 season. However, the defense of the Indians has to pick up if they're going to surpass that total moving forward. Three TF North players scored in double figures, including Monteroy Rice, who finished with 16 points and nine rebounds.
With the injuries and trials and tribulations, Runaas looks to his underclassmen to up their energy level. Lemont plays host to TF South Thursday.
“We need to come out with more pressure on ‘D,’ ” Runaas said. “This loss should leave underclassmen with a message: ‘You've got to be able to compete at this level.' TF South is going to be a big game. We have to get everyone healthy and get everyone playing on the same page. We’re struggling to do that."