Boys basketball: Owen Thulin, Downers Grove North move to 5-0 with win over Hinsdale Central

Trojans work in football players in 9-point victory

Downers Grove North guard Owen Thulin

DOWNERS GROVE – Downers Grove North senior point guard Owen Thulin showed no ill effects Tuesday from a long football season.

An instrumental three-way player in the Trojans’ run to the Class 7A state football championship game, Thulin is focusing all of his attention toward making another push for the state tournament — in basketball.

Thulin scored a team-high 15 points, all in the first half, to lead Downers Grove North to a 56-47 victory over Hinsdale Central in West Suburban Silver Division action.

The Trojans (5-0, 1-0) rode the hot-shooting effort from Thulin to overcome a rough perimeter night from Princeton recruit Jack Stanton (13 points). Senior center Jake Riemer poured in 13 points and hauled in seven boards.

Hinsdale Central (2-5, 0-1) picked up a team-high 18 points and four 3s from Daniel Orozco.

But Thulin stole the show in the first half to help pad the lead to 34-20. He made two 3-pointers and pulled down six rebounds to go with a solid effort on defense.

“It felt good that the ball was falling,” Thulin said. “There was a lot of attention on Jack, so a lot of lanes opened up, and I just drove the ball.”

Thulin, a wide receiver/defensive back, is coming off a strong season on the gridiron, catching 44 passes for 574 yards to go with 56 tackles, seven interceptions and three forced fumbles. He also blocked four point-after-attempts for the second-place Trojans.

Thulin admitted he was happy to shake off some rust from last week’s 50-46 win over Metea Valley.

“I was a little tired against Metea, but I’m all good now,” Thulin said, cracking a big smile. “I’m 100% healthy. I had a lot of recovery, worked out and got my body right. I got one day of rest and had to get back to it. I had more confidence tonight. During the week, my teammates gave me confidence after a bad shooting day against Metea, when I missed all three 3-pointers. I got in more gym time.”

Thulin was a one-man offensive show in the second quarter, playing the Jack Stanton role by filling up the basket with highlight-reel shot and drives. He showcased a diverse game, hitting back-to-back 3-pointers in a 32-second span and added two impressive left-to-right crossovers, finishing on both drives with lay-ins in the final minute of the half.

“This year I knew I had to get to the rim more, because there would be a lot of attention on Jack,” Thulin said. “I’m just playing off him, and that’s given me confidence. I’ve been in a lot of situations with a lot of pressure and learned how to handle it.”

Thulin, who was a reserve for last season’s Class 4A fourth-place basketball team, showed he’s ready to make a big impact toward a state run in basketball, which will certainly add to his family’s growing sports reputation at Downers Grove North.

“I’ve always loved basketball and started playing way before football, so I’ve always had the love for it,” Thulin said.

Downers Grove North coach Jim Thomas said Tuesday’s game was an ideal opportunity to extend his rotation.

“It was nice to get the football guys in for a week of practice and get them on the floor and having some game minutes was really important,” Thomas said.

“Owen looked like he was back in midseason form. He’s an impact player on both sides of the floor. He’s a leader and tenacious and knocked down some 3s in transition. He’s pretty special. He has a ton of experience in big games. He doesn’t come off the field in football. He’s relentless.”

Bob Narang

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