Opportunity presented itself to Connor Ilyavi, who made the most of it.
Lacking guard Trey Boston due to a sprained ankle suffered Friday in Downers Grove North's win over Hinsdale Central, at Glenbard East's When Sides Collide Shootout the 6-foot-3 junior guard returned to the starting lineup and made six 3-pointers for a game-high 20 points in the Trojans' 67-45 win Saturday over the host Rams in Lombard.
"It's all about confidence for me," Ilyavi said.
Ilyavi's marksmanship mirrored the Trojans' dominance of the middle quarters, when Downers North (11-6) outscored Glenbard East 43-27. Ilyavi missed five shots in a first quarter Glenbard East (7-12) led 12-11, then made three 3s and an inside basket in the second quarter. He added two more 3s in the third as did Semaj Henderson, who scored 16 points.
Ilyavi's sixth 3 came about 30 seconds before both Downers North coach Jim Thomas and Glenbard East coach Scott Miller emptied their benches with the Trojans leading 63-39 at 5:37 of the fourth quarter.
"It just makes everything so much easier when you've got guards like Semaj, and even Trey, even though he's out," Ilyavi said. "Like, spacing the floor for us, penetrating to get us open. So that's a big deal. And I've sort of had a down season so far shooting, but today I really brought it out."
Glenbard East played into double overtime on Friday, which may have contributed to the widening margin.
"Unfortunately I don't think we have much legs left," Miller said. "Just a step slow, and I think Downers did a really nice job moving the basketball, taking advantage of that, got some open looks and knocked them down. Credit to them."
Even after Rams forwards James Peterkin and Korvante Davis or point guard Alijah Nelson would make a shot, Henderson and guard Mychale Hyland got the ball out fast to start the Trojans' offense. Regardless of whether Glenbard East played man-to-man defense or a 2-3 zone, it worked.
"We tried to run a man, but they were attacking," Davis said. "So we switched to zone and they were shooting."
They were shooting and attacking because Thomas had seen the Rams operate.
"We've seen them score 15 points in a minute and 30 seconds, so it was a make-and-miss game, who was going to make shots. Obviously, Connor helped out," Thomas said.
Trojans forward Keenan Davis added 15 points. Peterkin led Glenbard East with 11 points and 7 rebounds. Nelson scored 10 points.
DePaul opened When Sides Collide with a 59-52 win over Evanston. Whitney Young beat Bloomington 70-67 and Morgan Park beat Fenwick 76-67. West Aurora vs. Romeoville was the nightcap.