Woodstock and Woodstock North were due to face each other in the first round of boys basketball regionals this week.
In the run-up to the postseason, the Thunder lost their final home game — by tradition, Senior Night — falling to the Johnsburg Skyhawks in a nail-biter Feb. 21. The conference game was tied with about 5 minutes left when senior forward Zach Ramirez hit a layup and a shot from junior forward Joey Haynes put WNHS ahead. But victory slipped just out of the Thunder’s grasp, with Johnsburg squeaking ahead 69-65.
The team honored seniors Ryan Medina, Victor Ortiz and Zach Ramirez along with senior manager Irma Esparza. “I didn’t realize it until an hour before tipoff this would be my last game on this court,” Ortiz said. “It felt good almost getting a win. It was pretty emotional.”
Medina added, “Tonight was really electric …, The team really wanted to win for the seniors. I couldn’t ask for a better squad.”
The Thunder ended the regular season with a loss when they traveled to Burlington Central Feb. 24, falling to the Rockets 74-54.
On the other side of town, the Streaks traveled to Marengo Feb. 24, losing to the Indians 66-39 in their last regular-season game of the year. Senior guard Matt Shook led the boards with 14 points and junior guard Dylan Grisolia made a pair of 3-pointers in the first quarter.
“I am proud of the perseverance our team showed throughout the season,” said WHS coach Al Baker. “We lost four of our first five conference games, then turned around to win five of our next six before falling to Marengo Friday night. There were some rough patches in late December and early January, but they never gave up.
“This has been a chaotic season in a lot of ways, and the boys have done a good job staying focused on their goals,” he continued. “We will finish this season with our fewest total wins in five years, but in some ways, the pride I feel in this team is greater than it was for some of those more successful teams.”
WNHS finished the regular season with a record of 2-10 in the Kishwaukee River Conference and 5-20 overall. WHS finished with a record of 6-6 in the KRC and 11-17 overall.
The IHSA Class 3A Regional takes place at Richmond-Burton this week. The Blue Streaks and the Thunder were due to play each other Feb. 27. That game took place after The Independent’s deadline.
Players from WNHS and WHS qualified for the regional 3-point contest. Qualifying for the Thunder were seniors Ortiz and Ramirez and juniors Collin Mergl and Luke Moors. For the Streaks, senior Shook, juniors Mikey Gardner and Dylan Grisolia and sophomore Evan Bridges qualified.