Boys basketball: Isaiah Feuerbach, Sycamore take down Woodstock North

Sycamore sophomore scores 16 to lead Spartans into regional final

Sycamore coach Ethan Franklin (crouched left) talks to his Spartans during a timeout Wednesday, February 21, 2024 in a Class 3A Belvidere North Regional semifinal against Woodstock North.

BELVIDERE – Woodstock North ripped off 11 straight points to close the first quarter, erasing any early Sycamore momentum and seizing an early lead on Wednesday in a Class 3A Belvidere North Regional semifinal.

But the Spartans took the lead into the half thanks to a key Isaiah Feuerbach 3-pointer, gained control in the third and never trailed in the fourth of a 52-44 win over the Thunder.

“We needed that, being able to bounce back from that,” Feuerbach said. “Coming back from a deficit like that is pretty good.”

The Spartans (13-18) will face Belvidere North (21-11) for the regional crown on Friday, trying to avenge a 52-30 loss earlier this year.

After the Thunder (11-20) scored first, the Spartans scored the next nine. But Woodstock North needed less than 3 minutes to go on an 11-0 run.

The teams traded leads throughout the second quarter, but Feuerbach hit a 3 with 0:57 points to give the Spartans the 26-23 lead they’d eventually carry into the break.

“He’s getting it going at the right time.” Sycamore coach Ethan Franklin said about Feuerbach. “He’s going to be a big-time player and he’s starting it now at the best possible time. He’s had some ups and downs this season and he just keeps a level head. He’s always composed.”

Elijah White opened the third with a 3-pointer to tie things up for the Thunder, but Ben Larry followed with a layup with 7:17 left. The Spartans never trailed again. The lead hadn’t grown past five for the Spartans until Feuerbach’s layup and free throw with 6:22 left in the game grew the lead to seven.

Feuerbach sank a 3 with 4:27 left to push the lead to 10 for the first time, capping a 16-point, five-rebound performance.

“The effort was there, the ball just didn’t go through the hoop,” Woodstock North coach Josh Jandron said. “That’s the name of the game, right? It just didn’t go our way with that. I think the kids wanted it enough, they executed well. Credit Sycamore for playing some great defense and hitting shots.”

The Thunder shot 16 for 47 from the floor, while the Spartans were 19 of 47. Trevor Mark led the Thunder with 12 points while Carter Berry added 11 points and nine rebounds.

Even though the season comes to an end for Woodstock North, Jandron said he liked the way the team persevered throughout the season.

“I think if we get a couple back at the beginning of the season, the result goes the other way, we get a couple more wins,” Jandron said. “But overall I think we played a really tough schedule. We played Neuqua Valley, Burlington Central. No slouches. ... We don’t play an easy schedule and I credit these kids for toughing it out playing basketball all the way through the end of February.”

Franklin said he stressed to his club about starting fast from the start. And even with the 11-0 run, he said he liked how the Spartans started the game, including bouncing back.

“If we’re going to accomplish our goal and win a regional, we’re going to be in these wild situations and adverse situations and find different ways to win,” Franklin said. “Each game is different, each game is its own entity. I think we handled it really well based on some of the experiences we’ve had this season.”

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