Tough loss preps Hinsdale South for postseason

DOWNERS GROVE – The regular season is all about competing for a conference title and prepping for the playoffs.

Sydney Kopp and Hinsdale South’s girls basketball team definitely got a postseason-caliber test when they faced Downers Grove North on Saturday.

The Trojans, losers of just two games coming into the contest and a contender for their conference title, broke open a close game with a 30-4 run as they dealt the Hornets a 71-44 nonconference loss.

“They’re a great team and we’re glad we get to ... play them,” South head coach Jen Belmonte said. “The last two or three years we’ve been able to get a couple wins [against them]. They were due to get us.”

The Hornets (9-11) were down 23-13 early in the second quarter before Kopp willed them back into the game.

She scored 11 straight points as South went on a 13-0 run to grab a 26-23 advantage.

“They were running us a lot and they had the momentum, and I just tried to get the momentum back on our side by doing whatever I could,” said Kopp, who finished with 27 points and hit a 3-pointer, went 6-for-6 at the foul line and had a rebound and coast-to-coast layup for her 11-point surge. “I felt like I had the lane a lot so I tried to get fouled and finish.”

Unfortunately for the Hornets, North answered with a huge run of its own. The Trojans closed the half with a 15-2 surge for a 38-28 lead at intermission, and the advantage swelled to 53-30 midway through the third quarter. The deficit was too much for South to overcome.

“We knew going in they were going to be strong team,” Belmonte said. “We did something a little different than what we normally do and [the girls] played well with what I asked them to do.

“They did everything they could.”