A big fourth quarter broke the deadlock for the Downers Grove North boys basketball team as it was able take down the Montini Catholic Broncos 51-35 on Wednesday at Montini in nonconference action.
The Trojans (7-10) only allowed Montini 6 points in the fourth quarter and dropped 15 points to secure a hard-fought physical victory.
"Any time you that and keep a team under 40 you know you got a good chance of winning," said Trojans coach Jim Thomas of his team's fourth-quarter performance. "I thought we had a good effort defensively and on the glass in the second half, so we were pleased about that."
Early in the first quarter Montini's Matt Brachmann seemed to set the tone of the game after driving hard to the basket and earning himself a three-point play opportunity. From then on both teams were locked into a high tempo, defensive battle.
Both teams were neck in neck in the first two quarters as the first half ended 20-19 in favor of the Trojans.
In the second half Downers Grove found a way to break free through some quick ball movement. The Trojans ended the third up 36-29, but it was the fourth quarter that secured the victory.
As Montini (7-11) started forcing some high defensive pressure the Trojans stayed calm, moved the ball and found the open shots. They completely took the edge downtown shooting seven 3-pointers in the game, while the Broncos only had two.
Downers Grove North junior guard Miles Farley took advantage of those open shots and finished the night with a team-high 11 points.
"(We were) strong with the ball and mainly playing downhill," Farley said. "Coach is always talking about playing below pressure and I think we did that. We didn't turn the ball over there down the stretch."
Despite the lack of success from behind the arc Montini's Mike Mooney earned 10 of his game-high 14 points by battling down low on the boards. Mooney also hit one of his team's two 3-pointers.
Broncos coach Brian Opoka thought the weather cancellations of Monday's and Tuesday's practices really hurt his team's sharpness on the ball.
"We're a team built on precision, we're a team built on hard work and being precise," Opoka said. "We can't do anything with our athleticism, and when you take away the one thing we can have which is tightening those screws in practice we're gonna come out and look sloppy."