Lane rolls over Schurz 52-38 to open city playoffs


Ruby Thompson

Lane’s Ethan Grunebaum (5) attempts a hook shot.

By Theo Gary, Managing Editor

Thick and wet, the snow was heavy Wednesday rescheduling what was supposed to be Lane Varsity Boys Basketball’s first round city-playoff game against Schurz. Like clockwork, the snowplows rumbled through and Lane, bigger, stronger, faster and better, beat Schurz 52-38.

Once Schurz stepped on the court, it was clear immediately that they simply did not match up athletically. Schurz’s tallest player, 6’2” Tyshawn Jones, matched up only with Lane’s shortest starter, 5’11” Ethan Grunebaum.

Lane started strong when Lucas Basille scored on an inside fadeaway against a Schurz triple team. But Schurz played strong to start, when a period of crisp passing broke Lane’s early zone and Jones scored on an open net. 

Jones was the best player on the floor for Schurz, scoring 15 points and grabbing rebound after rebound over taller and more athletic players. Jones did his team’s dirty work as well, setting screens for open elbow midrange makes. 

Jones tempered Lane’s start, his solid play holding Lane off the boards and out of the inside. The slow start could be attributed to a lack of effort, according to Boys Varsity Head Coach Nicholas LoGalbo.

“Our guys just kind of weren’t mentally there — it was very clear. And we took a lot of plays off,” LoGalbo said postgame.

Sean Molloy jump-started a struggling Lane offense late in the first quarter when he stepped into an open three at the top of the key.  

However, Schurz guard Jashawn Knighton would get by the Lane defense for an inside layup and later hit a corner three to cut the Lane lead to one.   

Schurz’s guards were a defensive problem all night.

“They have two great ball handlers [Knighton and Cortez Harris] who were able to get into the paint and cause some havoc for them,” LoGalbo said.  

Starting late in the first quarter, Lane went to a full court press, hoping to rush Szhurz in their halfcourt offense.

“We went to a zone press off the make because we knew we could rush them a little bit,” LoGalbo said.

 Jack Tzur, who finished with a season-high 12 points, hit a catch-and-shoot three to end the first quarter. Lane went into the break leading 14-10.

 Schurz started the second quarter on fire, making plays defensively and offensively. Guard Jewgrante Abraham hit a corner three then assisted on a Jones layup to take a 15-14 lead. This theme continued all night as Schurz beat Lane’s zone-and-trap easily, finding the open man on back cuts when Lane doubled the ball-handler.  

Schurz switched to zone, but Lane beat it with an Anthony Zanders layup. After hitting a pair of shots earlier in the second quarter, Grunebaum converted a layup off an inbound, and Lane went into the locker room up 29-22.  

Lane switched between a man and a zone defense in the second quarter. Both were effective, but according to LoGalbo, Lane’s man-to-man defense needs some work. 

“When we make some of our rotations, we’ve gone to our zone,” LoGalbo said. “And we thought that that did a pretty good job. And it didn’t really give them too much flow. But at the end of the day, we knew we had to work on our man stuff and get back to what makes us us.”

 The second half was mostly a formality. Schurz started with energy, but there was absolutely no doubt about the game’s eventual winner.  

Lane’s Shaheed Solebo began the quarter with a pair of misses and Schurz capitalized with a Knighton catch-and-shoot three. Grunebaum and Molloy answered with a three for each.

Lane’s defense was suffocating in the third quarter, allowing seven total Schurz points. The key to the improved defense was mostly effort, according to Tzur.

“We really just focused on defense,” Tzur said. “We had to really hone in on our switches. We were playing lazy. So we just lock it in — do what we do.”

 Lane entered the fourth quarter up eight, 37-29.

Tzur, who hit four threes, had a fantastic game which he capped with an assist for a Grunebaum three. 

Tzur hopes his strong game translates into the future.

“I’ve had a pretty tough season shooting the ball thus far,” Tzur said. “But, [I] finally cracked it open tonight and hopefully it stays.”

    Zanders punctuated the Lane win when he stole the ball from Jones on a low-block post up, missed a transition layup which Solebo put back.

Schurz would score some garbage time points, and Lane won 52-38.

Going into Lane’s second round playoff game on Monday against basketball powerhouse Curie, LoGalbo said he needs his team to stay focused. 

“We have to stay ready every game and that we have to keep improving,” LoGalbo said. “And you know, hopefully tomorrow will be another chance for us to improve.”