WOODSTOCK – Marian Central guard Adam Pischke may have been in range when he stepped off the bus Friday night.
The Hurricanes’ 5-foot-11 sophomore hit one 3-pointer after another from practically indefensible spots, 5 to 7 feet behind the 3-point line. On a couple of occasions, Pischke just pulled up with a sort of “Why not?” shot, before Marengo’s 2-3 zone defense had even approached, and hit nothing but cord.
“For me, honestly, it only takes one,” Pischke said. “I feel like I’m not going to miss the rest of the game. I had a lot of confidence going. It feels like anything will go in after you hit a few.”
Pischke hit six 3s, four in his 19-point first half, and the Hurricanes rode that momentum to a 72-53 victory in the Class 3A Woodstock Regional boys basketball championship game in front of about 1,800 fans at James M. Shipley Memorial Gymnasium.
Pischke finished with 32 points, while guards Derreck Caldez scored 14 and Wyatt Lindell added 10. Those three accounted for Marian’s 12 3s as the Hurricanes (18-15) picked up their third regional title in five years. Marian meets Sycamore (22-8) at 7 p.m. Wednesday in a Hampshire Sectional semifinal.
“Outstanding,” Marian coach Curtis Price said. “A sophomore, like that, he showed he’s one of the best players in the area. He’s been doing it all season, but on a stage like that, to come up that big, shows me a lot. He’s capable of carrying this team.”
Almost as big was Caldez, a 5-8 senior, who harassed Indians’ leading scorer Zach Knobloch, whose only points came on three 3s in the first half. Knobloch was averaging 14.5 points a game. Price said Caldez said he would not let Knobloch touch the ball. Knobloch was 3 for 6 from the field.
“My quickness helps me,” Caldez said. “I just tried to stay with him. I know he has a quick release and if he gets any open space he’s going to shoot it. All the moves he made, I was quick enough to get through all the screens.”
Caldez hit four 3s, including buzzer-beaters before halftime and the third quarter.
Marian never trailed after the end of the first quarter and did not let the Indians (20-11) get closer than eight points in the second half.
Pischke missed his first three shots of the game and finished 11 of 19 from the field.
“The problem is he’s so quick, if he gets in the lane he gets everyone else involved,” Marengo coach Will Benson said. “We tried to make him take contested shots, but we’re not going to pressure him 27 feet away. What are you going to do? At some point, you think they can’t shoot like that all game, and they did.”
Forward Adam Rogutich led Marengo with 12 points and forward Andrew Volkening scored seven with a game-high eight rebounds and five blocked shots.
“I can only remember No. 5 [Pischke] missing one 3 the whole game,” Volkening said. “When you pull up from the volleyball line, I don’t know many teams who can guard a guy 7 feet from the 3-point line, and then be ready for him to drive and distribute.”
Pischke’s hot shooting seemed to be contagious with his backcourt mates as Caldez hit five of his last seven shots and Lindell was 4 for 5 for the game.
“You pick your poison,” Price said. “If you defend that, [Pischke] is going to go by you. Tonight he was on fire.”