A bench player became the latest hero in Weston's crawl up the SWC standings.

Ethan Lee-Tyson scored 10 points off the bench and added four steals to lead the Weston boys basketball team past host Joel Barlow, 40-39 Tuesday night.

The sophomore took over a tight defensive battle when he entered for captain Max Molinsky, who was in foul trouble, in the fourth quarter by breaking a 34-34 tie with five straight points to give his team a small cushion with three minutes remaining.

"That's what team basketball is all about," Trojans coach Mike Hvizdo said. "When one person gets down another guy has to step up. Max is a senior and he's never been in foul trouble and a sophomore came in and stepped up. If Ethan didn't step up then we probably wouldn't have won that game."

Barlow built a 25-16 halftime advantage before Molinsky began to rally Weston. The senior scored nine of his team-high 12 points in the pivital third, including a coast-to-coast lay-up that got Weston to within one late in the period.

Molinsky then committed his fourth foul, leaving him in a position on the bench. Lee-Tyson then turned defensive wizard in the fourth in addition to his offensive prowess, forcing turnovers, which never allowed Barlow to create any offensive rhythm down the stretch.

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"Luckily when I was on the bench the team played great," Molinsky said. "Ethan played unbelievable. His defense turned into offense, he was hitting his shots and was confident. It was great to see it from him; we love it when he's aggressive. He's got talent."

Despite all of this, Barlow found itself with multiple opportunities to win the game. After drawing a foul on a lay-up with 34.1 seconds left, Barlow's Joey Greenspan missed the free throw that would have tied things up at 40. To compound his misery, he himself hauled in the rebound on the miss, only to blow the uncontested layup.

The Falcons had yet another chance to win the game down a point, this time with 6.7 seconds remaining. Will Bracken was left open for a three-point attempt, but the shot rattled off the front rim and the Trojans held on.

"I'll take that shot, because they were down one," Hvizdo said. "If they were down 3 I would have been more upset. If that was the best shot they could get being down one then if they make it then they deserve to win the game. Luckily it didn't."

The atmosphere of the Barlow gym, as the arena was packed, celebrating Senior Night for the Falcons, not to mention a chance to hurt their archrival's postseason aspirations, clearly buoyed the home side as they jumped out to the early advantage.

"I believe the reason they were up by nine and the reason we were struggling offensively is that [Barlow] was high on energy," Hvizdo said. "It's not a talent contest. They threw us off our game; we had to stay positive and energetic no matter what the situation. If you do that, the outcome is probably going to be ok."

By the time the effect wore off, Weston wore down its opponent, and then held on for the crucial victory. The Trojans, with the help of Lee-Tyson's contributions, have now won four out of their last six games, and appear to be peaking at the right time.

"Coach always tells me to be aggressive offensively and play good defense," Lee-Tyson said. "And that's what I did. I was getting open shots and I was making them."

Weston is quickly becoming a dark horse candidate once postseason play begins. After defeating previously-undefeated Immaculate last time out, the Trojans are proving, when healthy, they can become a force in Class M. Although there is work to be done to qualify for the SWC's, the Trojans believe they can compete with anyone.

"There's no reason why we can't climb the ladder in our last two games," Hvizdo said. "We're not just trying to make the SWC's [South-West Conference tournament] like some people may think; we're actually trying to get in there and win a championship."