Glenbard West continues to win by big margins
Glenbard West entered its first West Suburban Silver home game in nearly two years with fans in the stands looking for an early-season litmus test on Friday night.
Through the first four games of the season, the Hilltoppers have crushed their opponents by 31, 41, 39 and 37 points for an average winning margin of 37 points.
As one of the leading contenders for the Class 4A state championship in March, the Hilltoppers had their first difficult moment of the season against Lyons Twp. - for the first three-plus minutes, at least.
Bobby Durkin helped jumpstart Glenbard West's dormant offense, hitting three 3-pointers in the first quarter to lead the Hilltoppers to a 71-34 rout over the Lions in Glen Ellyn.
"I was able to get going in the first quarter and hit some shots," Durkin said. "Braden (Huff) hit me on my first few, and I was able to get rolling from there. I was confident every shot I took, and was looking for opportunities but tried to stay within the offense."
Durkin buried five 3-pointers to finish with 17 points, but he wasn't even Glenbard West's top scorer. Caden Pierce, a Princeton recruit, racked up 23 points, 6 rebounds and 5 steals. Huff, a Gonzaga recruit, added 15 points, 6 rebounds, 7 assists and 3 steals. The Hilltoppers rested their entire starting five in the fourth quarter after building a 67-28 lead.
The Hilltoppers (5-0, 1-0) now get set for a big early-season matchup against undefeated Glenbrook South on Sunday at Ridgewood. The Hilltoppers and Titans are two of the top teams in Illinois.
"This was probably our biggest test, so far," Pierce said. "(Lyons) is a talented team and they play well together. They're pretty experienced, but we played really well as a team and hit some shots. We got Glenbrook South on Sunday. We know they're really good. That should be a good test."
The Hilltoppers provided another beating to their conference rivals, adding to last season's three blowout wins over the Lions, which all came on the road.
By now, Lyons coach Tom Sloan will certainly be happy not to see the green machine until Jan 28.
The Lions (3-1) didn't just struggle scoring points, but they strained finding good looks against Glenbard West's active defense. The Hilltoppers' height, length, athleticism and active hands and feet shrunk the passing lines into very small windows, leading to numerous steals and transition baskets, mostly by Pierce.
Lyons senior guard Tavari Johnson, an Akron recruit, attempted just three shots and finished scoreless in the first half. Johnson was limited to 3 points, scoring his lone field goal on a floater in the lane in the third quarter.
Durkin, an Army recruit, is showing no problems blending in with his new team after transferring in from Hinsdale South.
Durkin's addition gives the Hilltoppers an embarrassment of riches, joining forces with Huff, Pierce, Ryan Renfro and Paxton Warden to form a complete team capable of a state title run. Durkin added an exclamation point on one of his best shooting displays, drilling a corner 3-pointer late in the third for his fifth and final 3-pointer. Durkin admitted it's been a smooth - and fun - transition to his new team.
"So far, this has been one of the greatest experiences playing basketball in my life," Durkin said. "Just coming out here every night, I'm having a fun time playing with these guys."
Pierce also put on an offensive and defensive show, scoring 15 of his points in the third quarter. Pierce said Durkin's game and attitude fit Glenbard West's culture.
"(Bobby) is another great player and he helps out a lot," Pierce said. "I think the biggest thing is he fits how we play. He's unselfish and he doesn't care if he scores 20 points or doesn't score. It's about winning at the end of the day."