Boys basketball: Fast start, 4 in double figures propels Johnsburg past Woodstock North

Skyhawks stay unbeaten in KRC play

Ben Person

JOHNSBURG – The glow on Johnsburg boys basketball coach Mike Toussaint’s face is palpable when he discusses the future of his team.

Fans got a glimpse of that a bit early during the Skyhawks’ 68-57 Kishwaukee River Conference win over rival Woodstock North on Wednesday night.

Sophomore guard Jarrel Albea, a Zion-Benton transfer, tallied 14 points, while teammate Jayce Schmitt – also a sophomore – racked up a game-high 17 points while shooting 5 of 7 from 3-point range.

“I’m pretty excited, to be honest,” Toussaint said. “Every night, it seems like someone new is the high scorer, and we’ve got a group of kids who just love playing the game.

“We’re gonna make some mistakes and have bumps in the road, sure, but we’re young and getting better every day. Heck, even our JV team has won nine of its first 10.”

It certainly didn’t hurt that the varsity Skyhawks (4-6 overall, 3-0 KRC) posted a 24-point first quarter Wednesday against a Thunder defense that contested nearly every bucket.

Johnsburg sank 10 of its first 17 shots, and as a result led by as many as 18 before halftime.

Defensively, they held the Thunder (5-4, 2-1 KRC) to just 25% shooting (8 for 32) during the opening 16 minutes.

Ben Person, the 6-foot-5 Skyhawks senior guard, was a huge factor at both ends of the floor, and his 13-point, 14-rebound double-double was the poster child for his team’s complete effort. He also had a pair of blocked shots on consecutive possessions, both leda ingto transition baskets, during an 11-3, second-quarter Skyhawks run.

“We wanted to set the tone early, and I feel like we accomplished that goal,” Person said. “There was a great crowd here tonight and a lot of energy in the building. We fed off that.

“It was a heck of a lot of fun.”

“There was a great crowd here tonight and a lot of energy in the building. We fed off that. It was a heck of a lot of fun.”

—  Ben Person, Johnsburg boys basketball

Senior teammate Kyle Patterson (13 points on 6-for-9 shooting) was the fourth Johnsburg starter to reach double-figures. He also notched four of his team’s 10 offensive rebounds.

“That’s the first time Kyle’s been in double digits this season,” Toussaint said. “He’s really our defensive stopper. It speaks to the depth of our team.”

Junior J.T. Schmitt was Johnsburg’s leading scorer prior to Wednesday’s game, at 15 points per game. He had six against the Thunder, while Riley Johnson dished out four assists to go with his five points off the bench.

“That’s exactly what I mean,” Toussaint said. “We’ve got a bunch of guys who can shoot the ball and get hot any time. And they all play unselfishly.”

Woodstock North picked it up offensively, shooting 14 for 32 in the second half. They trimmed Johnsburg’s 19-point lead to eight in the final two minutes, but it wasn’t enough.

“We can’t fall behind like that so quickly and expect to recover from that sort of deficit,” Thunder coach Josh Jandron said. “That was the difference.”

Cade Blaksley led North with 12 points and 13 boards. Trevor Mark (10 points, four assists, three steals), Elijah White (10 points) and Tyler Ward (nine points, 10 rebounds) helped the Thunder as well.

“Woodstock North is a scrappy team,” Toussaint said. “Give them credit, they cranked it way up when they fell behind. We had to be real careful down the stretch, because it could’ve turned into a disaster real fast had we lost our focus and composure.”

Jandron had a message for his players in the locker room after the game.

“I told them that we won’t let this loss define us,” Jandron said. “We will learn from this and simply keep improving.

“There’s still a ton of basketball left and were going to stay optimistic.”