Downers Grove South sees further growth in win vs. Proviso East

Since the beginning of time, parents have been extolling the virtues of sharing, and the Downers Grove South boys basketball team is quickly learning just how beneficial that trait can be on the court.

The key to Downers South's 82-78 defeat of visiting Proviso East on Friday night was an offense that shot 72 percent from the field with 22 of those baskets coming as a direct result of an assist.

The win was Downers South's fourth in six games after it opened the season 2-13.

Leading the way was junior Jake Dimovski, who dished out 10 assists on the night, while adding 19 points of his own.

"I have a lot of confidence in my teammates," he said. "I'm just passing them the ball and I have confidence that they'll make the shots."

Dimovski's biggest helper of the night may have come with four minutes to play when he spotted fellow junior Angelo Ognianov open in the corner. Ognianov rose up and hit a 3-pointer, his fifth of the game, to give the Mustangs (6-15, 3-4 West Suburban Conference Gold Division) their biggest lead at 73-62.

"We're just moving the ball and guys are getting good looks," said Ognianov, who also got into the sharing act with 5 assists. "I thought that shot was a big difference in the game, but I've been shooting it better lately; the percentage is going up."

Indeed, the Mustangs needed every bit of that margin as the Pirates (12-7, 4-3) roared back behind a pressing defense that forced 24 Mustangs turnovers. A 15-6 run was sparked by 6 points from Javon Johnson and 4 from Tim Shorts, with the Pirates pulling within 79-77 with 58 seconds to play. The Mustangs kept their cool, though, and three free throws from Dimovski and Michael Rheintgen in the final 32 seconds helped stave off Proviso East's final charge.

The Mustangs led by as much as 20-10 late in the first quarter before the Pirates clawed back to 38-34 at halftime with Johnson scoring 10 points and Terrence Thomas adding 7. Neither team led by more than a basket through much of the third quarter, with Proviso East taking its first lead since 9-7 on Jaloni Johnson's 3-pointer that made it 47-46 midway through the period.

In addition to sharing the ball, Downers South coach Kris Olson listed a growing maturity as a reason his young team, with four juniors and a sophomore in the eight-man rotation, has turned a corner recently.

"Our guys are starting to realize how hard you have to practice every day - and it's all 17 guys," Olson said. "I didn't think they knew how hard they had to work. We have a lot of juniors playing minutes and they didn't know the difference between junior varsity and varsity basketball."

Downers South junior Kobe Jones - yes, he takes his name from the Lakers great - came off the bench to contribute 19 points, on 8-for-8 shooting from the field, and 6 rebounds.

"I'm just being myself, my teammates are feeding me and the coaches are pushing me to get better," he said.

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