Warriors headed into holiday tournament with 6-1 mark.

By Mike Miazga


After a tough overtime loss in Maywood to Proviso East, the Willowbrook boys basketball team righted the ship in a hurry.

The Warriors recorded recent West Suburban Conference Gold Division wins against Addison Trail and Hinsdale South. The two wins pushed Willowbrook to 6-1 overall and 2-1 in conference play.

In an 80-38 WSC Gold win against District 88 neighbor Addison Trail, Marshawn Phillips led the Warriors with 16 points. Levi Bentsen had 15 points, while Ethan Schuemer and Matas Masys each tallied 13 points.

“Throughout the game we did a good job defensively,” said Willowbrook coach Chris Perkins. “We forced a lot of turnovers and that got us into the open court where we had a lot of fast-break opportunities. Our defense fed our offense.”

Perkins noted Willowbrook forced 27 Addison Trail turnovers in the contest.

“It was our full-court pressure and the intensity of it,” said Perkins. “We were able to get some steals in the backcourt and that gave us 3-on-2 and 2-on-1 advantages.”

Willowbrook also downed Hinsdale South 61-53.

“We were down by five at halftime,” Perkins pointed out. “We had a monster third quarter that put us up by 10 points in the fourth quarter. We had a big second half and particularly in the third quarter.”

Again, Perkins said his team’s defense helped turn the tables. “In the first half we had no full-court pressure,” he noted. “In the third quarter we put on a full-court press the whole quarter and that turned the tide for us.”

Schuemer recorded a rare triple double that included blocked shots in the statistical equation. He finished with 20 points, 14 rebounds and 10 blocked shots against Hinsdale.

“Ethan was a man-child in that game,” said Perkins. “We were in our press and when they would break the press he was patrolling the rim. They attacked him and he was able to get a lot of blocks. He was all over the place. He came up huge and was the main reason we pulled out that win.”

Phillips added 12 points, while Cornelius Paxton Jr. added 11 points. Masys and Sikander Zafar each had seven points.

“Sikander deserves special mention,” said Perkins. “He played great defensively and held the other team’s best player to 14 points.”

Perkins said the loss to Proviso East at the buzzer in overtime was tough, but it was a game the team has learned from. “Proviso is a good team,” he said. “I wish we could have played the last minute or two over again. We were two ranked teams and evenly matched. It could have gone either way. We get to see them again in January. It will be a good game again and hopefully there will be different results.”

Willowbrook is playing in the Glenbard West holiday tournament. The Warriors won the Glenbard West title last year—one of three regular-season tournament titles it racked up a year ago.


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