Guard Corey Davis remembers not too long ago being a sophomore on the Glenbard West varsity boys basketball team.
Now Davis is a senior mentor for an inexperienced lineup relying on sophomores.
"I was young once at a time, too, so playing with those young guys is kind of fun, like a déjà vu kind of," Davis said. "Those young guys put in a lot of work this summer so I know they can handle this."
The Hilltoppers took a step in their growth Tuesday with a 67-61 victory over also rebuilding Glenbard East in the second round of the District 87 Tournament at Glenbard West.
Alex Passi, a sophomore starter along with Justin Pierce, had 20 points for Glenbard West (1-1). Davis added 13, five of them coming on late free throws to help seal the victory.
The Hilltoppers have been even younger in their first two games. They have been minus junior Keith Hayes, their leading returning scorer at nearly 20 points a game.
"Even though we're young, it's a mature, focused group and there are some pretty confident kids in that group," Glenbard West coach Tim Hoder said. "I think we can withstand a little bit of that (adversity) and we also have Corey, a three-year varsity guy. That helps, having some of that leadership, and the kids have a lot of confidence in him, too, to make plays when we need them."
Glenbard West had to fight off the Rams (0-2), who kept coming behind a personal-high 29 points from senior guard JaRon Hall, their lone returning starter.
After the Hilltoppers led by as many as 12 early in the second quarter, the Rams closed to within one point twice in the third quarter and missed one shot for the lead.
The Hilltoppers were back ahead 46-42 entering the fourth quarter. The Rams closed to 49-46 and missed a 3 that would have tied the game, but the Hilltoppers got a key putback by Davis and a 3 from Pierce and led by at least six the rest of the way.
"We didn't roll over. We kept fighting and fighting and fighting. We had two or three different opportunities and couldn't quite get over the hump," Glenbard East coach Scott Miller said.
"We've got new guys. We've got some young guys, trying to mesh. I thought we did that. (And) you've got to give Glenbard West credit. They hit a couple of big shots to keep us far enough away."
Glenbard West lost to Glenbard South 72-59 Monday, coming within two points after trailing 21-11 after one quarter.
On Tuesday the Hilltoppers led 17-6 after one quarter by scoring the last 15 points of the period led by two baskets by Passi and two 3s from reserve guard Will Reedy.
"It was balanced scoring tonight. It was great to see everyone contribute," Davis said.
Passi had 15 points in the second half. He finished with two 3s, a three-point play and sank 8 of 9 free throws
Glenbard East freshman starter Michael Finley had 14 points. Pierce, who had 6 points on 2 fourth-quarter 3s, scored 19 Monday.
"With those sophomores, any one of them can have an outburst any given night," Davis said. "Alex is the future. He has a great pass, great vision. He can get to the bucket easily. You've just got to get him to shoot the ball. Once he starts shooting, he's going to be a key contributor. He's got his own destiny right now."