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Tyler leads the way for Villa Park
BREA — Brea Olinda boys basketball coach Jeff Sink walked away from Tuesday’s Century League game against Villa Park with an admission about opposing center Lamont Tyler:
“We didn’t feel that he would hurt us as much as he did,” Sink said. “He was better than I thought.”
In Sink’s defense, Tyler was better than he’d ever been. The junior scored a career-high 28 points to lead Villa Park to a 68-66 victory against the Wildcats at Brea Olinda High.
A year ago, Tyler was one of the last players off the Villa Park bench, averaging about four minutes a game. Now he is the team’s second leading scorer and, at 6-foot-10, 280 pounds, one of the biggest mismatches in the county.
“He's worked so hard to become a good player,” Spartans coach Kevin Reynolds said. “We have an advantage with Lamont so we’re going to go there.”
And keep going. Tyler scored nine points during a 15-2 fourth quarter run that ultimately kept No. 10 Villa Park (14-4, 4-0) unbeaten in league. The Wildcats (14-4, 2-2) trailed by one in the final minute and appeared to take the lead on a Michael Turner layup, but Turner was called for the charge.
Villa Park guards Kevin Olsen and Luke Selway each knocked down a pair of free throws to seal the victory. Selway had 21 points.
The Spartans have won 14 of their past 15 overall, but three of their league victories have been by five points or less.
“There’s never an easy game in the Century League,” Reynolds said.
“This league can change in a week. You can go from no losses to two losses pretty quick.”
Turner led Brea Olinda with 17 points and center Vilius Vysniauskas had 14.
The Wildcats took their first lead in the opening minute of the fourth quarter after trailing from almost the opening tip-off. Villa Park, behind 12 points from Tyler, built a 16-point cushion in the first quarter, and led by double digits throughout the first half.
“We came out flat,” Sink said. “It was the first time we’ve done it all year. You can’t spot a team 16 points. We did come back but that’s emotionally and physically tiring.”