DARIEN – The Hinsdale South boys basketball team is embracing a new motto this season: “Win today.”
It’s a phrase Marcel Phillips and his teammates have taken to heart.
“This year, I think we are focused, confident and playing with more purpose,” the senior guard said. “We have put in a lot of hard work during practices, and it’s showing early in the season.”
The slogan is printed on the shooting shirts the Hornets wear during practice and before games, and is reiterated in the weight room, during drills and in film sessions. “Win today” is not merely a pregame pep-talk, according to first-year head coach Brett Moore, it’s a phrase to be applied to all aspects of basketball.
“You can’t just go through the whole season saying that you want to improve,” Moore said. “You need to be more focused – have more tangible goals. Our goal is to win every rebounding drill, win every defensive drill. We need to put forth that effort and attitude into everything we do.”
Considering Hinsdale South (4-3) won just five games last season and has had three head coaches in as many years, the mantra might come off as unwarranted chest thumping to the casual fan.
But under Moore – who most recently went 21-10 with the Plano varsity team last season before filling the South vacancy – the Hornets have nearly matched last season’s win total.
Moreover, the team took first in the Hinsdale Central Thanksgiving Tournament and recorded a win over the district rival Red Devils in the first game of the season.
After winning two out of three games in the Thanksgiving tournament, the Hornets have alternated wins and losses, handily beating Glenbard North and Willowbrook and falling to Glenbard West and then Oak Park-River Forest in overtime.
During the game against OPRF on Saturday, Phillips scored a career-high 23 points on 8-of-10 shooting. Larry Motuzis added 11 points for the Hornets, who entered overtime with the game tied 37-37 but were outscored 16-6 in the extra session. Moore has no doubt the team has the fortitude to bounce back.
“This is a very mature team,” Moore said. “A lot of the boys played last season and they have really made a commitment to improving as a unit.”