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York’s usual shut down defense couldn’t put a lid on a balanced and red-hot Downers South attack on Saturday.
After holding their previous five opponents to 40 points or less, the Dukes were blistered by 61 percent shooting from the field by the Mustangs (8-6) as Downers South rolled to a surprising 69-44 win in the finale of the Downers North Winter Classic.
Danny Spinuzza and Robert Mara led Downers South with 16 points each, with Spinuzza hitting a trio of three-pointers during the 17-7 Mustangs’ run to open the game.
“I had a lot of energy,” Spinuzza said. ‘‘I made one, and then I got open looks from good screens from my teammates and they happened to go in.”
Mara also had six rebounds and two blocked shots in the Mustangs’ big night, as they built a 37-22 lead by halftime and never slowed down.
“I think team-wise we played extremely well,” Mara said. “We took the best shots possible on offense. We were working the ball and were able to turn our good defense into offense.”
Scott McNellis (13 points) and Jordan Cannon (12 points, eight rebounds) also scored in double figures for the Mustangs.
Colorado State-bound guard David Cohn starred for York (13-4) with 22 points and five rebounds, but battled for every point against a Downers South defense that worked to limit his open looks.
“David Cohn is a great player, good competition,” Spinuzza said. “It was fun playing against him and I had looked forward to it. You have to come out with intensity against him and not stop.”
The Mustangs’ stifling team defense held York to 32 percent shooting from the floor (17 of 52), including 8 of 32 in the second half.
“The key to the game was definitely their big guys and Cohn,” Mara said. “We really had a team effort stopping the big guys. When they got it in the post we were able to double down and they weren’t really able to do anything much on the offensive end.”
Frank Toohey (10 points, six rebounds) was York’s lone bright spot inside, while guard Charlie Rose added nine points. The loss ended a six-game win streak for the Dukes.
“Downers South shot the lights out in the first half, and we had a really difficult time climbing out of that hole,” York coach Vince Doran said. “Their kids played great tonight. I don’t anybody has played as well against us as they did all year. Give them a ton of credit.
“Ironically we’ve been very good defensively,” Doran added, “but tonight we had a hard time getting through ball screens. We’ll bounce back. We have a huge game Friday against Oak Park, and we just have to have a short memory with this one.”
Downers South hopes Saturday is a start of big things.
“It’s a good boost to our confidence,” Spinuzza said. “It’s a really good win to beat a good team like York, and then we have Proviso East next week. This was just getting us ready for next week.”