Basketball coaches often say shooters need to keep on shooting.
It’s advice Downers Grove North senior Deivis Skirgaila took to heart Tuesday night.
Skirgaila’s 5 second-half 3-pointers sparked the Trojans to a 48-46 victory over Wheaton Warrenville South in the opening game of the Addison Trail Invite.
After missing his four first-half shots — all 3-pointers — Skirgaila kept his confidence coming out of halftime. Shooting 5 of 7 from beyond the arc, he helped the Trojans (6-4) rally from a 4-point deficit at the break.
“The coaches were confident in me, they told me to keep shooting,” said Skirgaila, who scored all 15 of his points in the second half. “Once you hit a couple you just get some confidence and it’s easy at that point.”
Downers North’s victory chances seemed hopeless after WW South (0-3) closed the second quarter on an 11-0 run to take a 21-17 lead. The Tigers held the Trojans scoreless for 7:03 until Dave Edwards split a pair of free throws in the opening minute of the third quarter.
That’s when Skirgaila started getting hot. Three 3-pointers gave the Trojans a 29-28 lead entering the fourth quarter. Baskets by the Tigers’ Aidan Hernandez and Matt Kienzle put WW South back in front at 35-32, but another Skirgaila 3-pointer started a pivotal 10-0 run that put Downers North ahead to stay at 42-35.
“I thought our kids played hard, they battled and they didn’t quit down the stretch,” said Tigers coach Bob Szorc. “But we’ve got to execute better on the offensive end. Execute better on both ends of the floor.”
WW South didn’t go away quietly, especially Kienzle. The junior guard made four 3-pointers in the final six minutes to keep the Tigers close.
Kienzle 3-pointers narrowed the gap to 42-38, 43-41 and 45-44, but the Trojans’ Myles Farley and Nick Norton combined for 11-of-13 fourth-quarter free-throw shooting to keep Downers North ahead.
Norton scored 10 points for the Trojans, who overcame 23 turnovers. Kienzle poured in a game-high 21 points for WW South, which committed 20 turnovers.
“In the end I thought we kind of won it at the free-throw line,” said Trojans coach Jim Thomas. “We won ugly.”
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