Boys basketball: Jack Stanton hot shooting rallies Downers Grove North, but No. 1 Homewood-Flossmoor holds on

Princeton recruit hits seven 3-pointers in 59-51 loss at When Sides Collide Shootout

Downers Grove North’s Jake Riemer (1) goes up against Homewood-Flossmoor’s Carson Brownfield (30) during the When Sides Collide Shootout on Saturday, Jan. 20, 2024 in Lisle, IL.

LISLE – Jack Stanton fell down three times while attempting 3-point shots in the second half Jan. 20, but made two and bounced back up each time.

Most important, the Downers Grove North senior guard kept shooting.

Stanton, a Princeton recruit, has built a reputation as one of the state’s best shooters. He only added to it at the marquee event.

Stanton knocked down seven 3-pointers – five in the second half – in trying to will the Class 4A eighth-ranked Trojans back against No. 1-ranked Homewood-Flossmoor.

It couldn’t overcome his team’s rough third quarter, but Stanton put forth a valiant effort in a 59-51 loss at the When Sides Collide Shootout at Benet.

“I just had the trust of my teammates to make a play out there,” said Stanton, who shot 7 for 13 from beyond the arc in scoring a team-high 21 points and also grabbed six rebounds. “Them wanting to give me the ball gave me confidence that I could make a play. They got me the ball and the rest is history.”

Downers Grove North’s Jack Stanton (21) is defended by Homewood-Flossmoor’s Carson Brownfield (30) during the When Sides Collide Shootout on Saturday, Jan. 20, 2024 in Lisle, IL.

Stanton made history Jan. 19, scoring his 1,000th career point in a win over York.

Wearing a brace on a recently sprained ankle, Stanton said he’s about 90% healthy. His fourth 3-pointer gave the Trojans (17-4) their last lead at 34-33 with 3:50 left in the third quarter.

It was Downers Grove North’s only basket over an almost seven-minute stretch as Homewood-Flossmoor (19-1), unbeaten against Illinois teams, turned a nine-point deficit into a 43-36 lead.

“We came out soft and were not playing like us at the start of the third quarter. That is ultimately what won them the game,” Stanton said. “It’s a good learning moment for us. It’s not a playoff or a conference game. It’s just another step for us up the mountain. We learn and bounce back.”

Stanton’s supporting cast helped Downers Grove North build a 28-22 halftime lead. Aidan Akkawi, a 6-foot-4 junior, scored six points in the first quarter. Bobby Grganto, a 6-foot-6 junior, came off the bench for seven points in the second quarter.

The Trojans surged ahead with a 14-0 run late in the second quarter and outrebounded H-F 19-10 in the first half.

Stanton’s 3-pointer on the first possession of the third quarter gave Downers Grove North its biggest lead at 31-22.

“The first and second quarter we did a good job going inside-out with a balanced attack. That condenses and breaks down a tough, physical defense,” Downers Grove North coach Jim Thomas said. “We kind of became one dimensional at one point, stepped on our foot. We had some things happen, just giving away possessions. You give them two possessions to our one, it’s only a matter of time that a team as talented as them takes advantage.”

Downers Grove North’s Owen Thulin (5) defends against Homewood-Flossmoor’s Gianni Cobb (1) during the When Sides Collide Shootout on Saturday, Jan. 20, 2024 in Lisle, IL.

Gianni Cobb, a senior guard and one of a number of transfers who have led H-F’s resurgence this season, scored a game-high 22 points, 14 in the second half. Cobb sat for part of the second quarter with two fouls, but came back with back-to-back 3-pointers to cap an 11-0 run for a 33-31 lead.

“We needed to stay calm. We knew they were going to make their runs and we needed to come back strong and make our runs,” Cobb said. “I just told my coach I’m hooping right now. I’m not going to foul, but I’m going to play physical. He trusted me.”

Cobb, who noted he will see Stanton at the next level in the Ivy League at Columbia, made a number of big plays late as Stanton tried to lead Downers Grove North back from 11 points down in the fourth quarter. None were bigger than Cobb’s rebound of his own miss with the Vikings clinging to a five-point lead in the final minute. H-F also made all six of its free throws in the fourth quarter to stem the tide, with Cobb hitting two foul shots.

“They were saying he’s the best point guard,” Cobb said. “I had to show them that I’m here, too.”

Carson Brownfield added 16 points for H-F.

Grganto had nine points for Downers Grove North.

The Trojans, fourth at state in Class 4A last season, have shown they can compete with the state’s elite teams. Their three losses with Stanton in the lineup have come against H-F and Curie, No. 1 and No. 2 in Class 4A, respectively, and to defending Class 3A champion Metamora. Downers Grove North led in the second half in two of those games.

“I still think our ceiling is high,” Stanton said. “We led in both of those games. We just didn’t finish it out. We have to take care of the ball better and trust each other.”

Joshua  Welge

Joshua Welge

I am the Sports Editor for Kendall County Newspapers, the Kane County Chronicle and Suburban Life Media, covering primarily sports in Kendall, Kane, DuPage and western Cook counties. I've been covering high school sports for 24 years. I also assist with our news coverage.