By Drake Skleba
For the Bugle 

Trojans cruise past Mustangs in rematch


Last updated 2/13/2020 at 11:29am

Back on December 21, 2019 in the District 99 Crosstown Classic at Downers Grove South, the Downers Grove North girls cruised past the host Mustangs, 55-29.

In a West Suburban Conference postseason crossover game between the Gold and Silver Divisions' third-place teams on Monday, the Trojans did it to their crosstown-rivals again, this time, 41-21.

The Trojans (25-6, were led by their 6-foot sophomore center Eleanor Harris and all-everything senior guard Ellie Gross. Harris, poured in 14 points and hauled down 13 rebounds, both career-highs and added two blocked shots for the up-and-coming sophomore center.

"We played hard tonight and really wanted to win," Harris said. "I scored 13 points once in a game but tonight was my career-best game for DGN."

Gross, stuffed the DGN stat sheet as she always does, as she scored 15 points, grabbied four rebounds, had four assists and added five steals.

Gross, also buried three shots from beyond the arc. Gross's final three in the last two minutes of the game, gave her game-scoring honors with 15 points over her underclassman teammate Harris, who finished with 14.

"We wanted to continue playing wel, as we have been recently heading into the state tournament," Gross said. "We played great defense and we shared the ball on offense."

Downers Grove South (11-15) was led by their junior sharp-shooter Meghan Stapleton, who scored 12 points.

Ellie Gross, hit her first three of the night and added an old-fashioned three-point-play to give the Trojans a 14-4 lead after one quarter. Harris dominated the second quarter, when she scored eight points, hauled down five rebounds and blocked two shots which led the Trojans to a 25-10 lead at the break.

Both defenses really took over in the third quarter, as the Trojans outscored the Mustangs just 7-3 for a 32-13 lead after three quarters.

With 5:30 left in the game, Stapleton finally got an open look. Stapleton connected from downtown for her only triple of the game to pull the 'Stangs to within 15.

"Downers Grove North is a very good defensive team," Stapleton said. "It's always a very low-scoring game for us against them. I'm happy with the way I played tonight. Considering they were face-guarding me all night long

and Ellie Gross is a great defender, I did ok.

"We open up with Jones and we played a couple of teams that they played equally as well. We feel we can win that game and then maybe play well against Whitney Young."

Both the Trojans and Mustangs will have nine days off before opening regional play in the IHSA Class 4A

state tournament on Wednesday February 19.

The Mustangs (11-15, will travel to Chicago's West Side and face Chicago Jones (12-9) in a Class 4A Whitney Young Regional semifinal on the Feb. 19 at 7:30 p.m. If the Mustang's are able to defeat Jones on the Feb. 19, a chance to play on Friday Feb. 21 against the host Whitney Young Dolphins (21-6) for the Regional Championship.

"North is an incredible defensive team," Downers Grove South coach Lyndsie Long said. "All the credit goes to North tonight. I thought we played well on defense but we turned the ball over 23 times. I told the girls that we can't make that many mistakes and win.

"We go to Whitney Young next week. Hopefully we can beat Jones and then maybe "shock the world" against Whitney Young."

"We played great defense tonight," Downers Grove North coach Stephan Bolt said."Eleanor had a great game on the glass for us. 25-6 and here we go. I am proud of the girls. A number of them were not feeling well and still we played very well."

For the Trojans (25-6), the No. 2 seed in the IHSA Class 4A Proviso West Sectional Complex, a Class 4A Hinsdale Central Regional semifinal with WSC Silver rival Oak Park, on Feb. 19.

With a win over the Huskies on Feb. 19, the Trojans would advance into the Hinsdale Central Regional Championship Game on Feb. 21 against the winner of the Proviso East-Hinsdale Central regional semifinal Feb. 19.

Awaiting in the Proviso West Semifinals for the Trojans on Monday, February 24, could be the Trojans' WSC Silver arch-rivals from Lyons Township. Back on December 14, the Lions slipped past the Trojans 44-42 in Downers Grove.

On Jan. 14 in La Grange, the Lions defeated the Trojans again, this time in overtime 40-34.


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