It’s no secret that the Lyons boys basketball program has consistently been a dominating force in Section V. They have won a sectional title in Class C for three consecutive years and were looking to get their unprecedented fourth in early March with a shot to continue on to the NYSPHSAA Final Four.
This dream has sadly come to a halt because of COVID-19, and the program is left uncertain if they can keep this dynasty alive.
Dean Schott Jr. became the head coach heading into the 2018-2019 season, and has helped lead his team to two sectional titles in his first two seasons at the helm. He really hopes there is a season for his boys.
“I pray every day that these kids get a chance to play,” said Schott. “I am of the belief that they need to play because playing is what they love to do.”
The team finished first in their league in the 2019-2020 season with an overall of 21-3. They showed teams no mercy blowing them out by 30 points some games. They have enormous confidence in themselves, and a chance to compete and potentially win a fourth consecutive Section V championship would be a tremendous opportunity for the team.
Some of the players on the Lyons team experienced the great moments that came with the sectional finals at the Blue Cross Arena over the past three years. One individual who has played a role in all three is Justin “Tuti” Smith.
Smith has been on the varsity team since his freshman year at Lyons High School. He is eager to get back on the court with his team and become part of something even greater.
“It’s a great accomplishment,” said Smith when asked how it feels to win three consecutive titles. “But the biggest goal for me and my team is to win a state title.”
Something like this has only happened once before in Lyons, back in 1995 to 1997. Lyons currently holds the second most Sectional V titles with 20, right behind East High who has 24.
“It means a lot to us,” said Smith. “It shows how good the Lyons basketball program is and will be for a long time.”
Schott has great faith in his team to accomplish the goals they have set for themselves this season, he says this is a team that doesn’t come around often.
“This team has the potential to be a generational team,” said Schott. “These boys have been with me for years knocking at the door of a State Championship.”
With COVID-19 influencing how the world works, the team has not been able to practice together, but the players and coach are doing all they can.
“It has been very tough, there are so many restrictions,” said Schott. “Luckily I have a group of kids that love the game so they are finding ways to keep playing.”
The new start date for the 2020-2021 season remains uncertain, if it will happen at all.
The team is on the brink of making history in small town Lyons, and it would be devastating to not be a part of something incredible, especially for the seniors who have come so far in their high school careers. Instead, they may be perpetually wondering what could have been.
All the team can do now is to continue to work and be ready for the call that a season is happening. Even with a season, there is almost no chance of a state tournament beyond Sectional play.
“I just hope we have a season,” said Smith.
– Article submitted by Ben Rockefeller, Lyons HS Class of 2017