Stanton reaches 1,000 milestone as Downers North takes 3rd at Tosh

Jack Stanton said that he and the other seniors from Downers Grove North wanted their shot at the Jack Tosh Holiday Classic at York in Elmhurst.

“We were at East Aurora last year and the tournament was not that competitive,” Stanton said. “So the seniors came together after last season and we decided that we wanted to be in the Jack Tosh. We looked at it and it is the most competitive.“

Stanton along with his teammates had a great finish in their school’s first appearance in the tournament Saturday. The Trojans knocked off Palatine 43-34 in the third-place game to come home with some serious hardware.

It was a doubly special night for Stanton who scored his 1,000th career point. The three-year varsity player had 16 points, including seven in the quarter. He also knocked down four shots from outside the arc.

“I don't do much,” Stanton said. “They kind of get me open and they do all the hard work for me. I just look pretty making shots.”

Downers Grove North (10-2) needed those shots to hold off Palatine. Neither team led by more than three points until a rebound from Aidan Akkawi and a pass out to Owen Thulin, who buried a three to give the Trojans a 35-30 lead with 5:09 to play.

“I know I am not the best shooter on the team,” said Akkawi, who had six rebounds, all on the offensive backboard.

“So I just look to get the offensive rebounds and either find the open guy or get a putback. I try to do my thing and the points just come from the other guys.”

Akkawi did it again for the Trojans. He grabbed another offensive rebound and kicked out a pass to Stanton, who then drilled a three to give Downers North a 38-30 lead.

Palatine (12-5) was able to close within six on two occasions after that, but the Pirates just couldn't climb all the way back.

“We jumped into this tournament knowing we were going to get good matchups all the way,” Downers Grove North coach Jim Thomas said. “We didn't get the outcome that we wanted in the tournament, we are happy to finish third in one of the best fields in the state, if not the best one.”

Downers Grove North posted wins over Highland Park, Stagg and St. Laurence before losing to eventual tournament champion Metamora in the semifinals.

“The ability to turn around film and then have our scout guys run their X’s and O’s was something special,” Thomas said. “All of our guys bring a ton of value. It is a barometer to see where we are at.”

Palatine had its best finish in the tournament. The Pirates, who were consolation champions in 2019, were in the quarterfinals last year.

Palatine beat eventual consolation champion Lake Forest in the opening round. They then beat one-loss Riverside-Brookfield and Yorkville before losing a close game to Bolingbrook in the semifinals.

“We are definitely walking out of this tournament better than when we walked in,” Palatine coach Eric Millstone said. “That's all you are looking for in a Christmas tournament.”

Palatine was led by Connor May, who had 17 points and 9 rebounds. Darrin Dick and Carter Monroe each added five points.

“Downers North did not make it easy for us for what we wanted to do offensively,” Millstone said. “We got ourselves in some bad shot clock situations where we took some bad shots.”

Downers Grove North got 11 points from Alex Miller, six points and five rebounds from Jake Reimer and five points and five rebounds from Thulin.

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