Boys basketball builds on standout season

Team is currently ranked 22nd, looks toward annual ‘Blackout Game’


Jackson Niego ’23 shoots jumpshot in rivalry game against Hinsdale Central High School on Jan. 20 (Klos/LION).

Matthew Klos, Reporter

This year’s varsity boys basketball team has gotten off to a pronounced start, currently posting a record of 21-4 and battling conference threats Downers Grove North and Hinsdale Central, who are both competing with LT for first place in the West Suburban Silver Conference. LT’s tough losses have come from defending state champions Glenbard West (17-9), #9 ranked Rolling Meadows (24-5), #10 ranked rival Hinsdale Central (25-3), and Downers Grove North (23-3). The Mustangs of Rolling Meadows are led by University of Minnesota signee Cam Christie

“That’s the beauty about Chicago basketball and the West Suburban Conference. “A lot of great hoops [are] being played with high levels of talent surrounding it all,” shooting guard and University of Pennsylvania commit Niklas Polonowski ‘23 said. “Playing against great competition has helped us learn how to shut down a certain player and how to adjust our defense to mold around teams’ best players.” 

LT held all-tournament leading scorer Connor May of Palatine High School to only nine points in their win over Palatine at the Jack Tosh Tournament on Dec. 31. May was averaging 33 points per game prior to facing the Lions. Here, LT also defeated Saint Ignatious College Prep. Polonowski led the way with 19 points and six assists. 

“We are a very unselfish team and we’ve fallen in love with each other’s success,” Polonowski said. “Those aspects create such an amazing environment to play in.”

After taking over the role in 2008, varsity head coach Tom Sloan looks to add another winning season to the record book. As a former walk-on and University of Illinois Urbana-Champaign alumnus, Sloan holds high expectations for his players. 

“It was evident in the summer that the group had the chance to have a very successful season,” Sloan said. “Not only do they have the skill, size, and athleticism, but they also have a strong work ethic, and they are very unselfish.” 

Whether it was hanging around together, practicing together, or even organizing games for themselves in local gyms or at local parks, all of these reasons play a factor in the team’s success so far this season, Sloan said. 

LT will host opponent Lake Park High School on Feb. 17, which will triple as their last regular season game of the year, their annual “Blackout Game,” as well as the boys’ senior night. 

“The ‘Blackout [Game]’ is definitely something that I am looking forward to this year,” power forward Brady Chambers ‘24 said. “As a junior I haven’t had the opportunity and experience to play in a blackout game, so it has been marked on my calendar since the season began. Going to these games as a kid and experiencing the environment in the past has convinced me I want to be a part of it.”

All statistics and rankings are according to the Chicago Sun-Times and are current as of the print deadline on Feb. 10.