DOWNERS GROVE – Sometimes there’s nothing to do but applaud an opponent.
Addison Trail’s boys basketball team entered last Friday’s game against Downers Grove South with plenty of momentum and confidence. The Blazers had won three games in a row in the West Suburban Gold and went into the game second place in the conference.
Then Danny Spinuzza happened.
Spinuzza went off for a career-high 27 points, 19 of which came in the first half, to help the Mustangs beat the Blazers 66-51.
“You can point fingers, you can be mad, you can do whatever, but at the end of the day they came out and they played well,” AT coach Brendan Lyons said. “Part of it was I think how we played defensively early, but people were looking around when Spinuzza was hitting those shots trying to point fingers and I said ‘Guys there’s nothing else we can do.’ He’s falling away with a hand in his face and [making the shot]. If he’s going to make shots like that, maybe it isn’t our night.”
The Blazers bounced back on Tuesday with a 67-62 win against WSG foe Leyden. The game was originally scheduled for Saturday, but was moved due to snow.
AT is 5-3 in the Gold and tied for second in the league with DGS. Up next is arguably the toughest game on the schedule, a trip to Gold leader Proviso East tonight.
Junior Taylor White led the Blazers in scoring for the third straight game by scoring 16 points against Downers Grove South. James Pupillo, AT’s leading scorer this season, had a big game against Leyden by pouring in 23 points, but White still had a nice offensive game with 13 points.
“His game is pretty balanced,” Lyons said of White. “He’s been shooting it pretty well and trying to keep attacking and finishing around the basket.”
Pupillo’s ability to go off for big point totals in any game is crucial to AT’s success, but they also need other options for the games when Pupillo is given a lot of defensive attention.
Players like White, Joe Kurucar and Ronald Duling need to be those supporting options while the Blazers approach the stretch run of the regular season.
“When we’re playing at our best we have three or four guys scoring and it’s not guys with 25,” Lyons said.