Woodstock North’s varsity boys basketball team was looking for its first Kishwaukee River Conference win of the season Jan. 6. The prospects seemed pretty good as the Thunder made some adjustments and scored the last basket just before the half to lead by one at the break. 

But Marengo started hitting 3-pointers in the second half and won the game 51-44.Woodstock North’s Joe Grover, left, plays defense in the Thunder’s 51-44 loss to Marengo Jan. 6. Independent Photo by Michelle Krenger

“After we took the one-point lead, we focused on holding that edge. They hit two big 3s against us, and our confidence exited,” said Thunder coach Steve Ryan.

The Thunder were down just two going into the fourth quarter. Their shots didn’t fall, and Marengo was hot. “We had open shots that missed, and they had open shots and hit them. That made the difference in the game,” Ryan said. 

Thunder senior guard Vic Ortiz had 19 points, including two 3s, and junior guard Collin Mergl had 13 points, including one 3-pointer. 

“We have not been consistent for four quarters. We need to do a better job shutting down on defense and scoring on offense.” Mergl said. “This was a tough loss for us. We were right there.” 

Confident and optimistic about his players and their abilities as a team, Ryan said, “[They] are absolutely great kids and fun to be around in practice, a tight-knit group. We need to light another fire, stick to our philosophy, keep drilling in practice and once we get that down, I know we’ll accomplish more wins.”

“It’s now time to focus on our upcoming opponents,” said Mergl.

North will be on the road the next couple of weeks, starting with a game against the Harvard Hornets Jan. 11, Westminster Christian Jan. 15 and Stillman Valley Jan. 17. The Thunder are 2-9 overall and 0-1 in conference.

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