Three Downers South seniors scored in double-digits as the Mustangs, behind a strong second-half shooting performance, beat 64-51 Friday night in the Downers South Boys Basketball Regional Championship.
In their final home game as Mustangs, Kevin Honn scored 20 points, Jamall Millison tallied 17, and Jerron Wilbut chipped in 12 for Downers South (22-5). Senior center Greg Garro had nine points and nine rebounds.
Downers South head coach Jay Baum commended his upperclassmen after the win.
“To their credit, they’ve gotten better as the year’s gone on,” Baum said.
Hinsdale Central (17-10) took a 22-14 lead mid-way through the second quarter before the Mustangs got hot. Downers South finished the second quarter on a 10-2 run to tie the game at halftime, then went 8-of-12 from the field in the third quarter to take an eight-point lead into the fourth.
“The first half we were more one-on-one, then we started playing as a team,” said Millison, whose buzzer-beating three-pointer at the end of the third got the home crowd rocking.
The Red Devils got within six points twice in the final quarter, but the Mustangs went 12-of-12 from the free-throw line down the stretch to close out the game, and Hinsdale Central’s season.
Red Devils senior guard Brad Anlauf said Hinsdale Central’s game plan was to slow the tempo as much as possible and make Downers South earn their points.
“You have to give them props, they hit their shots,” he said.
Senior forward Tom Garvin led Hinsdale Central with 17 points. Junior guard Brian Owens and sophomore guard Chase Hamilton each had nine points and Anlauf had eight. Freshman center Matt Rafferty had six points and five rebounds for the Red Devils, who won 17 games in 2011-12 after winning just five last year during head coach Nick Latorre’s first season.
“It was a blast, man,” Garvin said of the season. “It was the best season I've ever had and I couldn’t ask for a better group of guys to do it with.”
Anlauf said the team is loaded with juniors who will return next season along with a freshman starter in Rafferty.
“We’ve built a great foundation,” Anlauf said. “This program has great years to come.”
Downers South, meanwhile, will move on to the East Aurora Sectional, where they’ll face Metea Valley on Wednesday at 7 p.m.
Millison wasn’t thinking about the sectional on Friday night, though. He was enjoying the moment.
“It feels good right now to me because it’s my last time on this court,” he said before cutting down his portion of the regional title net. “It’s a good win, and add to that, it’s a championship.”