Johnsburg's hot start tops Woodstock North

JOHNSBURG – It was one of those nights when everything went right in the first half for the Johnsburg boys basketball team, as they defeated Woodstock North, 68-52, Friday night.

Collin Ridout paced the Skyhawks with a game-high 23 points in the Fox Valley Conference Fox Division win.

“They play a pretty solid, physical game,” Ridout said. “Our focus was to get the boards and push the pace. If we were running up the court quick, they wouldn’t have enough time to set their defense up. I was able to take advantage of some easy looks in the first half.”

The Skyhawks (6-16 overall, 4-5 FVC Fox) outscored the Thunder 41-20 in the first half, coming out with energy to start that was clearly not there for Woodstock North. Thunder coach Steve Ryan believed that the first few minutes really set a tone for this game.

“We need to come out and match the intensity level,” said Ryan. “The first couple minutes went fine, but once they made a couple easy baskets, we completely went away from our game plan. From there, we just start doing things we normally do not do.”

A couple of bright spots for the Thunder (6-16, 2-5) were point guard Josh Jandron and forward Nick Herscha, who led North with 17 apiece. Jandron knew it would be a tough battle against the Skyhawks, who played a 2-3 zone the entire game.

“Most teams play zone against us,” Jandron said. “We have had trouble shooting the ball this year and we got a little carried away once the lead got big.”

Jandron was able to hit a team-high two 3-pointers, going 5 for 7 from the foul line as well.

He hit the first basket of the game, a 3, which gave the Thunder their only lead of the night.

Coming out of the halftime break, the Thunder had a spurt to cut the Skyhawk lead to 16. But on two separate occasions, Ridout knocked down key 3-pointers to stop each North run.

“We started to get complacent at the beginning of the second half,” Ridout said.

“After the timeout, I was able to knock down a couple big shots to get us back to our rhythm.”

The game became very physical in the second half, with Johnsburg committing 15 team fouls. The Thunder were unable to capitalize, going 14-for-28 from the line.

Johnsburg coach Mike Toussaint was happy to have junior guard Luke Lobermeier with the ball in his hands at the end of the game because of his confidence.

“I would have liked to run more offense and work on some things,” Toussaint explained. “Luke is probably our best free-throw shooter, so if I wanted anyone going to the line, he’s probably the guy.”

Johnsburg will play at Hampshire on Tuesday night, while the Thunder head to Woodstock to face their in-town rivals on Wednesday.