DGN handles Bartlett for title at Wheaton Academy
Downers Grove North's boys basketball team executed its game plan to near perfection Saturday night.
While making it tough on Bartlett's 7-foot-3 senior center Conrad Luczynski, the Trojans' defense made it even tougher on the rest of the Hawks during the Trojans' 68-42 victory in the championship game of the Wheaton Academy Thanksgiving Tournament in West Chicago.
"Our main goal was to attack their shooters and help on the big guy," said junior guard Max Haack, who also provided a huge boost on the offensive end with a game-high 20 points on perfect 8-for-8 shooting from the field.
Haack got the ball rolling, knocking down his first three 3-pointers on his way to a 12-point opening quarter as the Trojans (3-1) grabbed a 20-12 lead.
"Max did a great job and our guards setting him up also did well," said Trojans coach Jim Thomas. "A lot of times, Max gets the threes because guys make screens, and he just has to execute the shot. Everyone sees the end result of Max making the shot but it's an effort of the screener and passer."
The Hawks attempted a comeback early in the second quarter, cutting their deficit to 5 at 22-17 midway through following an inside basket by Luczynski, who finished with a team-leading 20 points on 10 of 17 shooting and 4 rebounds.
But the Trojans had an answer to every little progress Bartlett could make, going on a 6-1 run, fueled by a driving layup from Haack, to extend their lead to 28-18.
Downers Grove North led 32-23 at halftime.
Back-to-back buckets by Luczynski helped the Hawks trim the Trojans' lead to 7 at 36-29 with 4:45 left in the third quarter.
Downers Grove North responded with 7 unanswered points, including a 3-point play from Jack Stanton (11 points) and a steal and layup from Haack, to make it 43-29.
The Trojans pulled away late, outscoring the Hawks 20-8 in the fourth quarter.
"We thought that we could pressure their guards a little bit just so they couldn't get the ball to the big fellow deep into the post," said Thomas. "At times, we were able to execute it and made it hard on him."
The Trojans employed a pair of 6-7 sophomore forwards -- George Wolkow and Jake Riemer (10 points, 5 rebounds) on Luczynski, who impressed Thomas with his skill level.
"My goodness -- he's got great hands, great feet and great touch," said the coach. "I'm just happy we've got two kids that are willing to play defense before the catch."
Ethan Thulin was the Trojans' fourth player to reach double figures with 10 points.
"They came out with a great game plan," Hawks coach Jim Wolfsmith said of the Trojans. "Conrad got 20 (points) but he really had to work for those 20. It wasn't just how they defended Conrad. I thought they pressured our guards into some tough looks and turnovers.
"We've got talent, but we graduated a few guys who could handle that type of pressure in Clark Lewis and George Betevis.
"The film is out on how to attack us so now we've got to find a way to handle it."