Boys basketball notes: Downers Grove North’s Jake Riemer adds elements to his game

Trojans’ 6-foot-8 rim protector works on his shooting, ballhandling

Downers Grove North's Jake Riemer (1) dunks during varsity basketball game between Lyons at Downers Grove North.  Jan 31, 2023.

Downers Grove North senior center Jake Riemer added a few more elements to his basketball game during the offseason.

At 6-foot-8, Riemer is an imposing rim protector with the bulk to cause problems for opponents on both ends of the court, especially on the offensive side with prolific guards Jack Stanton and Owen Thulin waiting for catch-and-shoot 3-pointers.

In Tuesday’s victory over Hinsdale Central, Riemer attempted two 3-pointers and put the ball on the floor which put added pressure on the Red Devils’ defense. Riemer drilled a top-of-the-key 3-pointer early in the second quarter and he wasn’t afraid to take multiple dribbles in the halfcourt and attack the rim, finishing with 13 points and seven rebounds against Hinsdale Central.

“The biggest one for me this year is being able to shoot it,” Riemer said. “I can help stretch the floor and push defenses in a way harder position and also staying calm in pressure situations and being another ball handler. Obviously, Jack is going to get face-guarded every game this season and Owen is going to get the second-best defender, so everybody else being able to handle the ball is huge for us out there.”

Riemer endured an up-and-down junior season, mainly due to missing a few games because of an injury. But he played a vital run in the Trojans’ shattering several records, namely winning 32 games, including a 19-game winning streak, and finishing in fourth place in Class 4A in the program’s first state tournament appearance.

“I feel so much better this year,” Riemer said. “I got a little bit of a rest after AAU. The body is feeling pretty good. I’m feeling better than ever.”

Riemer said he understands this is a big season for his future in basketball, especially due to his desire to play in college. Riemer said the bulk of his recruiting interest is currently from Division III schools.

“Coming back from last year, for my senior year and having the experience and leading for the younger guys and leading the team is important to me,” Riemer said. “I have to score more after the past two years being more a rebounder and score when I have to roll. The whole team is pumped and ready, and we got all of our guys back from football.”

Downers Grove North coach Jim Thomas said Riemer is a bigger part of the offense this year.

“Jake shot over 50% but just didn’t shoot a ton of volume,” Thomas said. “We loved how he went to the offensive glass and posted on the block. He’s really unselfish.”

The Trojans (5-0) get a big test against highly ranked Curie (5-1) at 5 p.m. on Sunday in the four-game Team Rose Shootout at Mount Carmel.

Downers Grove South's Justin Sveiteris (44) puts up a lay up over Hinsdale South's Brendan Savage (30) during basketball game between Hinsdale South at Downers Grove South. Dec 1, 2023.

Crosstown update

Downers Grove South basketball coach Zach Miller made a point of talking about the potential of his team following Friday’s blowout victory over Hinsdale South. The Mustangs’ win was overshadowed by Hinsdale South senior Brendan Savage playing in his first game of the season. His mother, Erin Savage, drew national headlines for suing the school district after Brendan was cut from the team despite averaging 11.6 points, 3.3 rebounds and 1.6 assists last season.

After winning just 11 games last season, the Mustangs are a team to watch with a pair of 6-foot-7, three-year starters in Justin and Daniel Sveiteris in the paint. Senior guard Richard Gasmen is also among the top eight returnees on an experienced and motivated team.

Miller said the Mustangs (6-1) are set to welcome back three-year starter and point guard Will Potter this week. Potter played quarterback for the Downers Grove South football team.

“It’s definitely exciting to see the effort and product we put out there against Hinsdale South,” Miller said. “We got Will Potter coming back. That’s the exciting part for us. That will be huge for us. It forced a lot of guys to expand their roles. We’re going to be a dangerous team shortly, if not already. That’s exciting.”

Around the horn

Benet defeated Joliet Catholic on Tuesday to hand coach Gene Heidkamp his 368th victory at the school. Heidkamp is now the all-time winningest coach in program history….Riverside-Brookfield posted an impressive 50-49 win over St. Ignatius at Saturday’s Chicago Elite Classic. Senior center Stefan Cicic led the team with 10 points, nine rebounds and four blocks.

Bob Narang

Bob Narang is a contributing sports reporter to Shaw Local News Network