Downers Grove North sweeps doubleheader from Mustangs
Breaking its season schedule down into a multitude of segments, Downers Grove North nearly aced the first one.
After a season-opening setback, the Trojans will head into Christmas on a nine-game winning streak after knocking off Downers Grove South 51-31 on Saturday.
Visiting DGN (9-1), which also defeated Proviso West 68-36 on Friday, jumped out to a 22-4 lead after the initial eight minutes and never looked back.
Jack Stanton made three 3-pointers in that period, and finished with a game-high 17 points.
"That start definitely gets our confidence up and their confidence down," said Stanton, who scored a total of 13 points in the first quarter. "They already feel like they've lost after that first quarter. We were rebounding really well, making them turn the ball over and hustling, too. It was a good team win."
Ethan Thulin, who had 10 points, hit a pair of 3-pointers in the second quarter as the Trojans increased the margin to 33-15 by halftime.
"I think the big thing has been our chemistry," said Stanton, when asked what has been clicking during the win streak. "We've been playing together since last year, it's basically the same exact team except we are missing the couple seniors from last year. We are a tight team and we know the playbook well; we know our offense and defense well."
Jacob Bozeman contributed eight points and two steals, and Jake Riemer had seven points and five rebounds. The visitors held the Mustangs (3-7) to 11 made field goals in the game.
"We just fit together as a team," Bozeman said. "The first thing we do when we step on the court in practice is work on our defense. That leads to better shots in transition. And it helps us win because it does lead to better shots overall.
"We just talked about in the locker room, it's awesome to start off 9-1. We lost our first one, but bounced back to go 9-0. We also talked about how we don't want to settle, instead we want to build off this and show what we are about."
DGN had begun the week with a 64-40 win over Hersey on Tuesday.
"I thought we did a really good job rebounding," DGN coach Jim Thomas said. "I thought clearing the boards led to us being pretty efficient in transition. And we have a very deep team. You almost feel bad for our bench, they are sitting there and any other year, they are probably playing 20-25 minutes.
"It's a great start. We called this the first period of the year. Next up is the Christmas tournament, and then in January, you get the rat race of the season. So far everything the guys did in the offseason has paid off."
DGS, which knocked off Willowbrook on Friday, saw its three-game winning streak snapped. Justin Sveiteris and Daniel Laurich finished with seven points apiece.
"Jimmy does a fantastic job," DGS coach Zach Miller said, complimenting his counterpart. "We talked to our guys about trying to match the level they were going to play at. That's what they do, they play super, super hard at both ends and that's what they did from the get-go.
"They pressured us and they executed. Our guys weren't able to adjust to that level of intensity. We have to be able to make adjustments and do things we want to do."
DGN girls 73, DGS 31:
Long known as a program for its defensive prowess, a young Downers Grove North team is quickly finding its footing on the other end of the court.
Led by a career-high 30 points from Hope Sebek, the Trojans continued their recent run of offensive fireworks with a 73-31 victory over Downers Grove South Saturday.
Including Friday's 54-21 win over Proviso West, DGN has now won five straight and scored 53 or more points in each of the last four.
"Individually it feels very nice and rewarding," said Sebek, who got her 30th point on a three-point play at the third-quarter buzzer before sitting out the fourth. "But all of us were giving each other opportunities to score. It wasn't just one person, it was all of us together.
"I think Downers Grove North is known for defense. When we are getting stops, that encourages us to get better looks on offense, to take our time."
Sebek scored 13 points in the opening quarter as the Trojans (10-3) closed the period on a 19-0 run to grab a 23-6 advantage. The junior poured in 15 more in the third, and connected on two of her team's seven 3-pointers.
"We started off a little slow, but it quickly all came together," Sebek said. "We were just passing it up the floor, we were all looking up, doing everything Coach was telling us, and it worked. And the energy was high, which helped all of us."
The visitors forced eight turnovers in that first quarter and 13 for the half, which finished with DGN up 38-14.
Violet Mitchell, who missed all of last season with a torn ACL, knocked down three 3s to finish with 13 points and three steals.
"It feels great to be back on the court," Mitchell said. "I wouldn't feel as strong as I do without my teammates. Last year they were there for me the whole time. It feels really good, I definitely don't take for granted playing basketball any more."
Margaret Fleming also checked into double figures with 10 points, and Kaitlyn Parker had nine.
"The last couple weeks, I feel like we are clicking," Mitchell said. "We are seeing each other open, our vision has been better, and we are moving the ball a lot quicker. And we are there for each other, that really bonds us together."
The Trojans, who led 66-23 after three quarters to bring on the running clock, are currently 4-1 in the West Suburban Silver conference, one game back of Lyons Township.
"I feel like it's kind of happened game-by-game over the last five games," DGN coach Stephen Bolt said. "They are making good reads, making good decisions. They've been doing a nice job offensively. And I'm proud of the kids defending. We did a great job of bringing a ton of urgency defensively. Everyone played great, it was fun to watch."
The Mustangs (7-6) had seen their seven-game winning streak come to an end on Friday in a loss to Willowbrook. DGS, which still sits atop the West Suburban Gold standings with a 5-1 mark, were led on Saturday by 11 points and seven rebounds from Megan Ganschow. Allison Jarvis added nine points.
"DGN is a very disciplined team," DGS coach Lyndsie Long said. "They play very sound defense and can score. They outplayed us.
"That seven-game winning streak was great for our team's confidence. The girls were motivated to keep winning and we are gelling more and more. The last couple games we haven't been at 100%, so we will have to get back to work and fix some things on both ends of the floor."
- Scott Schmid