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Downers Grove North Trojans a surprise contender in state basketball semifinals

Downers Grove North Trojans a surprise contender in IHSA basketball semifinals
Downers Grove North Trojans a surprise contender in IHSA basketball semifinals 02:13

DOWNERS GROVE, Ill. (CBS) -- The matchups for high school state basketball semifinals are set.

The remaining schools are just two wins away from a state championship, including six Chicago area boys' basketball teams headed to Champaign for the state semifinals; perhaps none more surprising than in Class 4A, where Downers Grove North is making the trek from the western suburbs.

CBS 2's Matt Zahn has more on a Trojan Horse which is no longer sneaking up on anyone.

It's a fun time to be a Downers Grove North Trojan.

"It's awesome. I mean, it's like a dream. I mean, I've also dreamed about this," junior guard Jack Stanton said.

The Trojans are heading to state for the first time in program history, after a convincing win over Kenwood in a 4A super-sectional at UIC Monday night.

"It's really awesome when your entire community comes and rallies around you, especially to fill up a college stadium like that. It was really awesome," senior guard Max Haack said.

That fan base has surely grown as the Trojans made this magical run, which included upsets over higher-seeded Whitney Young, Hinsdale Central, and Kenwood to make what from the outside would make them a surprising member of 4A's final four.

"Kind of what goes unnoticed is how strong our schedule was last season, and we brought back eight guys who went 16-10, and out of those ten losses, nine of them were against top 25 teams. So I th ink we earned those battle wounds last year, and I think they paid dividends for us this year," head coach Jim Thomas said.

The Trojans are embracing that underdog mentality. Before their game against Kenwood, Stanton watched the movie "Hoosiers," then proceeded to hit five 3-pointers in their super-sectional win.

"My mom and dad sat me down. They're like, 'Hey, you gotta watch this movie tonight. It'll be awesome,'" he said. "It's like my 2nd or 3rd time seeing. It felt just like the movie. It was crazy. Like, when I walked into that big arena, after playing all those small arenas, it was awesome."

Now the Trojans hope this story has a Hollywood ending, as they head down to state, hoping to bring home a championship, with a core group that's played quite a few games together over the years.

"We just keep saying we were a bunch of 4th grade Wolf Pack kids. We would've never expected doing something like this. So being able to go on this run with your friends and your boys, and to be able to come back at the end of the day and realize and look back at the memories, it's awesome," Haack said.

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