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Hilltoppers riding high entering 2014

GLEN ELLYN – An inability to get over the hump was a source of frustration for Glenbard West’s boys basketball team through the first eight games of the season.

That all changed at the Hilltoppers’ Holiday Classic tournament.

Winning four straight games on the way to the championship at its own event, Glenbard West closed 2013 on a high note and enters 2014 with momentum.

“We had some nice wins,” Glenbard West coach Tim Hoder said. “The Hoffman Estates game [the championship game] was a nice win for us. To get a little momentum going into the second half is important. When you play four games in a short amount of time, you can get on a little role. It was a good week for us.”

Corey Davis, who scored 30 points in the title game, and Justin Pierce were named to the all-tournament team. Pierce leads the Hilltoppers in scoring at just under 14 points a game despite being only a sophomore.

“Corey was attacking the basket, either in transition or when they were pressing us,” Hoder said. “And even more important was the job he and the other guys did defensively.

“Justin is a threat from the outside, he hit some deep threes. He has a quick release and can get shots off. He has a scorer’s mentality and is always a threat to shoot and score.”

The four victories helped the team level its record at 6-6.

“I think the kids are getting better,” the coach said. “The sophomores are gaining more confidence and are learning what it takes to be successful at the varsity level. And we are getting contributions from a kid like Will Reedy, who gives us a nice balance off the bench. He has had an opportunity and is doing a nice job with it.”

Next up for Glenbard West is a West Suburban Silver conference matchup with Downers Grove North on Friday. The Hilltoppers are looking for their first league win, having lost to Lyons Township and York thus far.

“Downers Grove North does a great job of playing physically,” Hoder said. “Nothing is easy for you against them. When you play them, you know you are in for a battle. I love their style of play, they compete and they get after it. In a game like that, you have to play well.”

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