WOODSTOCK– Johnsburg boys basketball coach Mike Toussaint wasn’t surprised to see Woodstock North come back from 10 points down in the fourth quarter to force overtime.
Just last season, the Skyhawks held a 21-point lead over the Thunder and Woodstock North did the same. This time, Johnsburg took advantage of the double-bonus for a 72-70 Fox ValleyConference Fox Division win.
Johnsburg went 9 of 11 on free throws in overtime, while Woodstock North was 3 of 6 from the line. The Skyhawks were 27 of 37 in the game.
“Everytime we’ve played them in the past two years, it’s been a game like this,” Toussaint said. “It’s not such a surprise.”
The Skyhawks (10-11, 3-4) were up 47-37 heading into the final quarter, but their lead faded fast. Nick Herscha scored nine of his 11 points in the first five minutes of the fourth quarter,including a putback at 3:40 that gave the Thunder (7-14, 1-6) their first lead of the night at 48-47. Woodstock North was up by six with two minutes left in the game on a 3-pointer by Shane Zieman.
With 16 seconds left in the game and his team trailing three, Toussaint drew a play for Kevin Dombrowski to fake a handoff to Steve Dixon and take the 3. The Thunder bit on the handoff, and Dombrowski threw up an off-balance fadeaway that went in at the buzzer.
“I felt pretty good about it,” Dombrowski said. “When I saw it hit the rim and get the big high spin, I thought it was going to fall.”
Dombrowski led all scorers with 28 points, including nine in the first quarter. Brandon Ridout added 11 points, including two 3-pointers.
Toussaint said he was happy to see his team finish strong.
“We’ve been in this situation before, where we’ve had five-minute lulls where we let teams make 10-, 12-, 14-point runs and let them back into the game or pull away from us,” Toussaint said. “If we can eliminate that five-minute stretch, there’s no one we can’t play with.”
The Skyhawks looked to be able to cruise to a win, holding a 12-point lead early in the third, but Woodstock North’s Steven Whiting scored eight straight points, including back-to-back 3s to help start the rally. Whiting led the Thunder with 16 points.
“[Whiting] needs to put this team kind of on his back,” Thunder coach Steve Ryan said. “He’s our senior. He’s our captain. He’s got to carry us.”
Josh Jandron had eight of his 14 points in the fourth quarter and overtime.
Ryan said his team has struggled with being down and coming back, so the game had a positive.
“We’ve been through this before and kind of buckled under pressure,” Ryan said. “At least tonight we came back.”