WOODSTOCK – Woodstock North does not intend to play without guards Josh Jandron and Junior Ortiz for extended periods of time very often.
It just would not be a sound approach for the Thunder, although with early foul trouble Thursday it could not be avoided.
“They’re the glue to this team handling the basketball,” North coach Steve Ryan said. “Both can run point and without one of the two on the floor, we struggle handling the basketball.”
North managed to make it through most of the second quarter without its starting backcourt with quality shot selection and North Boone’s cold shooting. Then, with Jandron and Ortiz back in the second half, the Thunder cruised to a 76-60 nonconference boys basketball victory.
“That’s the first time we have been out at the same time,” Ortiz said. “They did a really good job handling it, it was someone’s time to step up.”
North (2-5) pushed the lead to 20 in the second quarter, but the Vikings (2-4) cut the lead to 38-27 by halftime.
“I was mad at myself for the first half and in the third quarter kept my head and had to do something for the team,” said Jandron, who had seven of his 10 points in that quarter. “In the third quarter everyone was back on the floor and we clicked.”
The Thunder scored 24 points in the third quarter and got the lead back to 20 with transition baskets and free throws. North shot 48.1 percent (26 of 54) from the field.
“We didn’t get to run our offense that much, it’s the style of play [North Boone] forced at us,” Ryan said. “It makes you play up-tempo. We did have some good moments, we made the easy shots and got to the basket.”
Forward Nick Herscha led the Thunder with 21 points and 13 rebounds. Reserve forward Chris Niese added a career-high 19 points and took over point guard for a good portion of the second quarter.
“In the first half, we had a little trouble with the point guard situation, but we handled it well and brought it back in the second half,” Niese said.
Tre Williams led North Boone with 16 points. The Vikings substitute five players at a time every few minutes and use full-court pressure most of the game. But they shot 32.8 percent for the game and only 22.5 (9 of 40) in the first half.
“We continue to crash the boards and get offensive rebounds like crazy, we need to reward ourselves with buckets,” Vikings coach Richard Williams said. “I was pleased with our rebounding effort, we need to work on finishing at the rim.”