Lang, Stapleton lead Mustangs past Wolves in York Tourney opener
Plainfield North romps past Lemont
Last updated 11/20/2019 at 2:19pm
In the 2018 York Thanksgiving Tournament championship game, Niles West slipped past Downers Grove South 48-47.
The Wolves were led by the 2019 Voyager Media Publications Girls Player of the Year, Sam Galanopoulos. The Mustangs were led by the 2019 All-Area Selection Holly Lueken.
All-Stater Galanpoulos is now a freshman at Loyola University and All-Stater Lueken is a freshman at Colgate University.
Without those stars, the two schools opened the 2019 York Thanksgiving Tournament.
Behind a Lueken-like performance from Mustang junior center Ashley Lang and clutch free-throw shooting from junior Meghan Stapleton, Downers Grove South (1-0) held off Niles West 58-56.
After averaging just one point-per game as a sophomore last season, Lang picked up a double-double, scoring 14 points and hauling down 10 rebounds, while adding three blocked shots.
"I averaged only one-point per game, as a sophomore coming off the bench last year," Lang said. "I worked very, very hard this summer with my AAU team, knowing that I would have Holly's huge shoes, to fill this year. I am very happy with the way I played tonight."
With 4 minutes remaining, Lang's old-fashioned three-point play gave the Mustangs a 51-41, but the game was far from over.
The Wolves (0-1), who forced 27 Mustang turnovers, went on a 7-0 run to close to within 51-48 on long-range shooting display from junior guard Angelica Cirineo, who buried a pair of three-point bombs to pull the Wolves within three with 1:41 to go.
Mustang junior power forward Lily Ross answered with another old-fashioned three-point play to give DGS a 55-51 lead.
Ross scored 11 points and hauled down seven rebounds for the Mustangs. Scoring five points and hauling down three crucial rebounds in the fourth quarter.
Mustang junior sharp-shooter Meghan Stapleton (16 points, 4 rebounds, 2 blocks, 2 steals) converted a pair of clutch free throws to put the Mustangs up 57-51 with 34 seconds left.
The Wolves closed to 57-53 on a steal and score from junior Albiana Almeti (15 points, 4 rebounds, 4 steals).
The Mustangs missed a pair of free throws and Angelica Cirineo's third long range-bomb of the fourth quarter pulled the Wolves to within 57-56 with 12 seconds remaining.
Stapleton converted one-of two free throws and Niles West desperation last second-shot fell short for a 58-56 Mustang win.
"I feel I have to step up this season, with Holly and Maggie (Greco, now at George Washington University) having moved on to college," Stapleton said. "I didn't shoot the ball very well tonight, only one three-pointer, but I played hard and this was a complete team victory."
Mustang junior Jordin Grant stuffed the stat sheet with eight points, seven rebounds and four assists.
"Twenty-seven turnovers. I just told the girls we must be stronger with the ball, when facing severe defensive pressure, as we did tonight," Downers Grove South coach Lyndsie Long said. "Ashley (Lang) has worked so hard for us and was outstanding for us tonight. We won against a very good Niles West team."
MONDAY GIRLS AREA HOOPS RECAP
Plainfield North 72 Lemont 39
The Tigers (1-0) opened up a 25-12 lead after one quarter and led 47-25 at the half and went on to crush Lemont (0-1) in Plainfield.