Downers North quiets Prospect in finale of MSL/WSC challenge

Downers Grove North had too much defense for Prospect Saturday in the inaugural Mid-Suburban League/West Suburban Conference challenge at Addison Trail.

The Trojans defense held Prospect scoreless for 13:05 and Downers Grove North was able to grab a big lead and then hold on at the end for a 46-34 win.

“It's a game of runs,” Downers Grove North coach Jim Thomas said. “We are very similar to them in style. We got a few stops and converted on the other end.”

Prospect (12-5) opened up on fire. The Knights scored the game’s first seven points. They went on to hit five of their first seven shots to lead 11-2 with 2:48 left in the fifth quarter.

That's when the the Trojans, playing without Jack Stanton who was injured in practice, turned up their man-to-man defense.

They forced six turnovers from there and contested nearly every Prospect shot as the Knights missed their next eight shots. Prospect did not get back onto the board until 5:17 remained in the third quarter.

“I felt like we were getting decent looks,” Prospect coach Brad Rathe said. “It is tough to get anything against them. They are big and long.”

Meanwhile, the Trojans (12-2) found their offense after a slow start. They scored 23 unanswered points to lead 25-11.

Downers North appeared to be in complete command. They took a 34-15 lead with 1:48 left in the third quarter on a three-point play by Bobby Grganto.

But there was still fight left in Prospect.

The Knights began to pressure the ball. They forced a trio of turnovers with Prospect converting on the offensive end.

The Knights were able to cut the lead to 40-34 with 1:02 to play. But that's as close as the Knights would get as the Trojans converted 6-of-8 free throws down the stretch.

Aidan Akkawi had 10 points and 7 rebounds for Downers North. Alex Miller also had 10 points while Owen Thulin chipped in 9 points and Jake Riemer and Grganto each had 5 points.

“Both teams fought tooth and nail all the way to the end,” Thomas said. “I thought we had them dead to right. Then they were pressuring us and getting turnovers.”

Drew Terpins led Prospect with 15 points while Jerry Drucker and Ryan Lifton each had 6 points.

“So much of this game is about confidence and swagger,” Rathe said. “Our body language got a bit down. I told them we had to have a bounce in their step.”

In other games at the challenge:

Leyden 55, Elk Grove 36: Leyden (13-3) led 35-31 after three quarters before pulling away in the Shootout opener. The Eagles were paced by Drelyn Jones, who scored 14 of his 22 points in the final quarter. Elk Grove (2-13) was led by Matt Martarano, who had 8 points.

Buffalo Grove 51, Morton 31: Lucas Adam-Ndu netted 19 points as the Bison (7-10) rolled.

Wheeling 75, Addison Trail 49: Wheeling (6-11) cruised past the host Blazers (6-11). Brent Collar led the Wildcats with 29 points while Pawel And Rakoczy added 17 and Zach Neukrich 15 points. Addison Trail (6-11) was led by Isaiah Cortes, who had 16 points and Luke Smith who added 12 points.

Hoffman Estates 70, Willowbrook 62: After the first three quarters were tight, Hoffman (11-6) pulled away in the final quarter behind Daiquan Daniels, who had 28 points. OJ Powell led Willowbrook (5-8) with 31 points.

Rolling Meadows 66, Oak Park 58: Jack Duffer poured in 25 points while Lazar Lazarevic had 24 and Ian Miletic added 10 points, 10 rebounds and 8 assists as the Mustangs (13-2) held off Oak Park (6-8).

Glenbard West 58, Hersey 45: Glenbard West (9-8) rallied from a four-point halftime deficit to down Hersey (8-10). TJ Williams led Glenbard West with 16 points while Jared Ryg led Hersey with 15 points.

Conant 53, Hinsdale Central 44: Camden Lathos scored a season-best 29 points as the Cougars (8-9) held off a scrappy Hinsdale Central team. Yusuf Cisse added 9 points for Conant while Vincas Buzelis led Hinsdale Central (7-10) with 20 points.

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