Downers South dominates in win at Willowbrook

Downers Grove South had all phases of the game working at a high level in a dominating first half against Willowbrook.

The Mustangs had their transition game running at warp speed. The defense was on point with 10 steals and 12 defensive boards. Six players scored at least seven points in the opening 16 minutes.

But those weren’t the most impressive feats by the Mustangs. They also dominated the halftime show — at Willowbrook.

In the end, the Mustangs rolled to an 84-55 victory over the Warriors in West suburban Gold play in Villa Park.

The Mustangs displayed their chemistry on Friday night, during the game with a prolific offensive and defensive performance — and in their support for Downers Grove South athletic director Brandon Murphy.

Murphy, a 2001 Willowbrook graduate who was a standout wrester, was one of six honorees into the Willowbrook Hall of Fame during an elaborate halftime ceremony. Of the six new inductees, Murphy had the most extensive list of accomplishments in the brochure.

And the entire Mustangs’ basketball team and coaches made a point to sit on the team’s bench for the entire length of the 20-minute halftime presentation.

“Mr. Murphy was out there as well, so it was special to see him going back to his roots,” Downers Grove South senior guard Dominic Marcantelli said. “He’s a Mustang now. It was nice to acknowledge him and all the other Willowbrook (Hall of Famers), so that was special to see.”

Back on the court, the Mustangs could rest a bit due to their all-around team effort. Keon Maggitt hit three 3-pointers to finish with 13 points. Marcantelli matched his backcourt partner, burying three 3s for 13 points. Justin Sveiteris added 11 points, seven rebounds and three assists, while Daniel Laurich had 11 points.

“I’m happy with how all of our guys competed,” Downers Grove South coach Zach Miller. “These girls were just focused. The second quarter they really put it on them. It all started with our guards and our pace. Our big fellas were able to rebound and outlet it out to those guys, but it starts with our defense.”Miller said his team’s chemistry is one of the main factors in their success. The Mustangs (18-7, 8-1) shared the ball, attacked the glass and hounded the Warriors’ ballhandlers.

“I love this group,” Miller said. “It’s a different guy every night. They don’t really care. No one is hunting or shooting too much. They have a lot of joy for each other.”

Maggitt, a junior point guard, played solid on both ends of the court. The left-hander has been a valuable addition to the Mustangs this season. His smooth ballhandling and perimeter shooting gave the Warriors fits all game.”Playing on this team has helped my game get better,” Maggitt said. “Everybody has helped me out a lot this year. I just try and look for my team and be an actual point guard.”

Marcantelli, a North Central recruit, said the Mustangs were working in perfect harmony against the Warriors (8-18, 3-6).

“This is a very special group and we’re all comfortable with each other,” he said. “Tonight, we played and had fun and took it quarter by quarter. Everybody got in and almost got a bucket. It was an amazing game to be a part of.”

The Warriors had a few positives in the defeat, mainly sophomore guard Otis Powell erupting for a game-high 27 points and pulling down 11 rebounds.

“(Otis) is having a great season and adjusting to the speed and physicality of the varsity level,” Willowbrook coach Chris Perkins said. “The game is starting to slow down a bit for him. He’s having a great season…We’re a young group this year after having graduated nine guys. Downers Grove South is a veteran team. We knew it would be difficult tonight, but minus tonight, we’ve been playing much better. We didn’t match up with the physicality tonight.”

Article Comments
Guidelines: Keep it civil and on topic; no profanity, vulgarity, slurs or personal attacks. People who harass others or joke about tragedies will be blocked. If a comment violates these standards or our terms of service, click the "flag" link in the lower-right corner of the comment box. To find our more, read our FAQ.