Downers Grove North defeats Lake Park in overtime

 
 
Updated 3/6/2019 10:34 PM
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  • Downers Grove North players Ryan Featherstone, Drew Cassens and Connor Ilyavi meet their classmates after defeating Lake Park in the Class 4A boys basketball sectional semifinal game in Bartlett Wednesday.

      Downers Grove North players Ryan Featherstone, Drew Cassens and Connor Ilyavi meet their classmates after defeating Lake Park in the Class 4A boys basketball sectional semifinal game in Bartlett Wednesday. John Starks | Staff Photographer

  • Lake Park's Joe Czaja and Downers Grove North's Trey Boston compete for the ball in the Class 4A boys basketball sectional semifinal game in Bartlett Wednesday.

      Lake Park's Joe Czaja and Downers Grove North's Trey Boston compete for the ball in the Class 4A boys basketball sectional semifinal game in Bartlett Wednesday. John Starks | Staff Photographer

  • John Starks/jstarks@dailyherald.comDowners Grove North's Ryan Featherstone fouls Lake Park's Trevor Montiel in the Class 4A boys basketball sectional semifinal game in Bartlett Wednesday.

    John Starks/jstarks@dailyherald.comDowners Grove North's Ryan Featherstone fouls Lake Park's Trevor Montiel in the Class 4A boys basketball sectional semifinal game in Bartlett Wednesday.

  • Lake Park's Joe Czaja hits the floor as he competes with Downers Grove North's Trey Boston in the Class 4A boys basketball sectional semifinal game in Bartlett Wednesday.

      Lake Park's Joe Czaja hits the floor as he competes with Downers Grove North's Trey Boston in the Class 4A boys basketball sectional semifinal game in Bartlett Wednesday. John Starks | Staff Photographer

  • Downers Grove North's Trey Boston drives against Lake Park's Tom Zakic in the Class 4A boys basketball sectional semifinal game in Bartlett Wednesday.

      Downers Grove North's Trey Boston drives against Lake Park's Tom Zakic in the Class 4A boys basketball sectional semifinal game in Bartlett Wednesday. John Starks | Staff Photographer

  • Lake Park's Luke Sgarbossa falls as Downers Grove North's Collin Reed tries to get past him in the Class 4A boys basketball sectional semifinal game in Bartlett Wednesday.

      Lake Park's Luke Sgarbossa falls as Downers Grove North's Collin Reed tries to get past him in the Class 4A boys basketball sectional semifinal game in Bartlett Wednesday. John Starks | Staff Photographer

  • Lake Park's Luke Sgarbossa is harassed by Downers Grove North's Collin Reed and Trey Boston in the Class 4A boys basketball sectional semifinal game in Bartlett Wednesday.

      Lake Park's Luke Sgarbossa is harassed by Downers Grove North's Collin Reed and Trey Boston in the Class 4A boys basketball sectional semifinal game in Bartlett Wednesday. John Starks | Staff Photographer

  • Lake Park's Joe Czaja tries to get away from Downers Grove North's Cooper Marks and Drew Cassens in the Class 4A boys basketball sectional semifinal game in Bartlett Wednesday.

      Lake Park's Joe Czaja tries to get away from Downers Grove North's Cooper Marks and Drew Cassens in the Class 4A boys basketball sectional semifinal game in Bartlett Wednesday. John Starks | Staff Photographer

  • Downers Grove North's Semaj Henderson drives into the Lake Park defense in the Class 4A boys basketball sectional semifinal game in Bartlett Wednesday.

      Downers Grove North's Semaj Henderson drives into the Lake Park defense in the Class 4A boys basketball sectional semifinal game in Bartlett Wednesday. John Starks | Staff Photographer

  • Lake Park's Trevor Montiel fouls Downers Grove North's Semaj Henderson in the Class 4A boys basketball sectional semifinal game in Bartlett Wednesday.

      Lake Park's Trevor Montiel fouls Downers Grove North's Semaj Henderson in the Class 4A boys basketball sectional semifinal game in Bartlett Wednesday. John Starks | Staff Photographer

  • Downers Grove North's Semaj Henderson and Ryan Featherstone collide as they try to keep the ball fromLake Park's Max Ellenbecker in the final seconds of the Class 4A boys basketball sectional semifinal game in Bartlett Wednesday.

      Downers Grove North's Semaj Henderson and Ryan Featherstone collide as they try to keep the ball fromLake Park's Max Ellenbecker in the final seconds of the Class 4A boys basketball sectional semifinal game in Bartlett Wednesday. John Starks | Staff Photographer

  • Lake Park players wore warm up shirts supporting  Downers Grove North's recent tragedy before the Class 4A boys basketball sectional semifinal game in Bartlett Wednesday.

      Lake Park players wore warm up shirts supporting Downers Grove North's recent tragedy before the Class 4A boys basketball sectional semifinal game in Bartlett Wednesday. John Starks | Staff Photographer

  • At the Class 4A boys basketball sectional semifinal game in Bartlett Wednesday most of the Lake Park student section wore shirts supporting Downers Grove North's recent tragedy.

      At the Class 4A boys basketball sectional semifinal game in Bartlett Wednesday most of the Lake Park student section wore shirts supporting Downers Grove North's recent tragedy. John Starks | Staff Photographer

  • Downers Grove North's Trey Boston closely defends Lake Park's Joe Czaja in the Class 4A boys basketball sectional semifinal game in Bartlett Wednesday.

      Downers Grove North's Trey Boston closely defends Lake Park's Joe Czaja in the Class 4A boys basketball sectional semifinal game in Bartlett Wednesday. John Starks | Staff Photographer

With every missed free throw and every turnover, you could see the faces filling with frustration.

But there's nothing like a victory smile to cover it up.

It wasn't pretty but Downers Grove North advanced to the Class 4A Bartlett sectional title game with Wednesday's 46-44 overtime victory over Lake Park.

There were no field goals made in the extra period, just a bunch of breath-holding on 14 combined free-throw attempts -- only eight that were made. Lake Park's Max Ellenbecker and the Trojans' Collin Reed each split a pair to put the score at 46-44 in favor of Downers North with 8.9 seconds left.

Lake Park went the length of the court and got a shot off, but Trevor Montiel's game-winning 3-point attempt banged off the front of the rim to end the game.

"We've got one game at a time," said Trojans senior guard Trey Boston, who scored a team-high 20 points. "Just be the best one-game team in the state. That's what we've been trying to do with hard work."

The No. 5 Trojans (23-11), playing in their first sectional final since 1999, take on No. 1 Geneva (31-1) at 7 p.m. Friday. They'll play for their first sectional championship since that same 1999 season.

"Nothing was easy all game long," said Trojans coach Jim Thomas. "It was a really gutty performance by our kids to find a way back in that ballgame, get enough stops and make a few baskets."

Seventh-seeded Lake Park (23-11), which burst to a 14-5 first-quarter advantage, led most of the night, including 36-32 with five minutes left in regulation. The Lancers missed seven fourth-quarter free throws, allowing Downers North to stay close.

Downers Grove North's Semaj Henderson jumps into his teammates as they rush the floor after a win against Lake Park in the Class 4A boys basketball sectional semifinal game in Bartlett Wednesday.
  Downers Grove North's Semaj Henderson jumps into his teammates as they rush the floor after a win against Lake Park in the Class 4A boys basketball sectional semifinal game in Bartlett Wednesday. - John Starks | Staff Photographer

Two Lake Park misses with 26.1 seconds left gave the Trojans, trailing by 2, a final shot. The first attempt missed but Reed put it back to tie the game 41-41. Lake Park missed a shot at the buzzer to force overtime.

"We all knew we could do it," Reed said. "We just have to play unselfish and play defense. Put those two together and I feel like there's nobody that can really beat us."

Sema'j Henderson scored 14 points for Downers North while battling foul trouble. Luke Sgarbossa had 13 points for Lake Park.

"It was so hard because we played our butts off," said Montiel, who scored a game-high 24 points. "Some things didn't go our way, and some things didn't go their way. But both teams played their hearts out and they just ended up winning."

Lake Park started four juniors and had only two seniors -- Ellenbecker and Tommy Zakic -- in the rotation. Wednesday hurt, but the future looks bright.

Downers Grove North head coach James Thomas reacts to the referee's explanation in the Class 4A boys basketball sectional semifinal game against Lake Park in Bartlett Wednesday.
  Downers Grove North head coach James Thomas reacts to the referee's explanation in the Class 4A boys basketball sectional semifinal game against Lake Park in Bartlett Wednesday. - John Starks | Staff Photographer

"I just can't give enough credit to our guys for how hard they fought all year and never gave up," said first-year Lancers coach Billy Pitcher, whose team had 17 more victories than last season. "I've only known these guys for nine months, but it feels so much longer. I feel so close to them. They're just a real special group."

Twitter: @kevin_schmit

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