MARENGO – Zach Knobloch knew how much he and his Marengo teammates had struggled offensively over the first two quarters of their E.C. Nichols third-place game with Woodstock on Saturday night.
There had been no flow and no reason to the Indians' offense, and shots certainly weren't falling the way Marengo hoped they would. So knowing if the Indians didn't make a move the deficit that was eight points at halftime would only grow, Knobloch took charge.
The sophomore guard sparked a second-half comeback by scoring a game-high 20 points, and Marengo held on for a 58-56 win over the Blue Streaks.
"We needed a lift – we were a little sluggish in the first half," Knobloch said. "We really needed that, and as a team, we just found open shooters and we knocked it down in the second half."
Marengo (7-5) used a strong fourth-quarter push to close the deal, outscoring Woodstock, 20-14 over the final eight minutes to clinch the victory. But the Blue Streaks – who played for the second straight night without post players Nick Kubiak and Damian Stoneking – also had a hand in the loss.
Woodstock (5-8), which converted on about 75 percent of its free throws over the first three games of the tournament, couldn't find a rhythm from the line. The Streaks finished the game 11 of 26 from the line .
"I did not anticipate that would be our downfall tonight," Woodstock coach Al Baker said. "But that made a big difference. If we just make a couple of those, it's a different game."
Mason Sutter paced Woodstock with 16 points to go along with 14 by Marcus Ammirati and 11 by Mitch Kohley, who hit a late 3-point field goal to get the Streaks to within 57-56 with 3.3 seconds left.
Weston Shepard pushed the lead back to two when he split a pair of free throws, and a half-court heave by Kohley fell well short, allowing Marengo to hold on.
The Indians' second-half turnaround spearheaded by Knobloch to go along with 10 points by Shepard and Andrew Volkening inside was enough to allow Marengo to make the push it needed to finish off the Streaks.
"We really had a team win," Marengo coach Will Benson said. "We had a bunch of guys who played and a bunch of guys that were in foul trouble, and we had a bunch of guys that stepped up.
"Through the course of a 4 1/2-month season, you're going to need different guys to step up at different times, and I was proud that in the end, we were able to find a way."