Both teams made mistakes and both teams did some good things. In the end Downers Grove South, led by senior guard Danny Spinuzza, defeated Addison Trail 52-46 to open West Suburban Gold play on Friday night in Addison.
Spinuzza was the game's high scorer with 18 points.
"Danny is a leader and a competitor when the game is on the line, he's going to make some shots and he's going to make some plays," said Mustangs coach Kris Olson.
The Blazers started slowly but picked up their game late in the second quarter on the hot hand of senior guard Joe Kurucar, who had 7 points, including two 3-point baskets, to give the Blazers a 24-23 lead at the half. Kurucar finished with 16 points on the night.
The Mustangs (1-0, 2-3) came out on fire for the second half with 9 points to take the lead 32-26.
"What turned it around for us was our pressure," Spinuzza said. "That got them scrambled and helped us get steals and points on the fastbreak end."
The Mustangs had a 38-29 lead after three quarters of play. But the pesky Blazers (0-1, 2-4) came back with three 3-pointers by Kurucar to take a 44-41 lead with less than five minutes in the game.
"Our defense brought us back in the end," Olson said. "We had a couple of key turnovers, Danny finishing at the rim with a three-point play. Darryl Howard got a big three-point play for us as well. ... We had some stretches where our shots went cold but give credit to their defense."
Spinuzza scored 9 points in the fourth quarter and made a big play with just more than a minute left in the game. Matt Zinnecker stole the ball at midcourt and found Spinuzza on the break. Spinuzza sank a layup to give the Mustangs a 47-46 lead and seal the win.
"We were a little cold coming out in the second half, but it was still a close game," Spinuzza said. "We kept our composure. (Zinnecker) got the steal and I leaked out. He saw me and I made the play."
Blazers coach Brendan Lyons was disappointed with the loss but not with his team.
"We were up one at the half but they pretty much took it to us in the third quarter," Lyons said. "The name of the game for us was we couldn't get consistent stops and so in the third quarter we were shooting a lot of jump shots and not rebounding."