NEW LENOX – Plainfield North’s boys basketball team liked the matchup against Lincoln-Way West on Tuesday.
And the Tigers took advantage of their strength from the start as they jumped out to a 13-4 lead after one quarter and then used two big runs in the second quarter to help them take a 37-14 halftime lead and then went on claim a 63-35 nonconference victory.
Carter Thurman led North (8-7) with 21 points, with 12 of those coming during the first half. But coach Robert Krahulik was able to rely on a lot of individuals to step up, as was evidenced by nine players reaching the scoring column in the first half.
“We did a nice job of playing defense and really pressuring them, and we also controlled the glass in the first half,” Krahulik said. “And we were able to run, and when we get out in transition, that’s when we’re a much better team. We’ve become much more confident on the offensive end, and today was one of the first times that we were knocking down shots.
“We’re continuing to get better each and every day, especially on the defensive end, and we’ve been working hard on our offense. As long as we keep working hard, anything can happen. We can play with any team, it’s just a matter of do we execute and play smart.”
The Warriors were able to close to within 15-8 early in the second quarter after a layup from Micah Schnyders (11 points), but North answered with a 10-0 run with Thurman getting half of those points to push its advantage to 25-8 with 5:02 left in the half.
After Jackson Ferree (eight points) hit a 3-pointer for the Warriors to make it 25-11, the Tigers went on a 12-0 run that featured two 3-pointers from Blake Ellinghaus (eight points) and a layup and two free throws from Colin O’Rourke to make it 37-11 in before West’s Andrew Pyles (seven points) ended the half with a three-point play.
“We told our kids that they were the most physical and the biggest team that we’ve played, and we have a lot of trouble against physicality,” Warriors coach Brian Flaherty said. “We told our guys to put ourselves in a position to win, we had to guard at the three and still help out around the basket and in the post, and we were unable to do that.
“I don’t think that we played particularly hard, but they did some things defensively with switching, which we prepared for, but it made us think a little bit and kept us a little bit slow. But they were a far more aggressive team than we were tonight. That was the first game that we got ran out of the gym.”
Other Tigers leaders were Cooper Bridges (nine points) and Matt O’Boye (six points).
“We wanted to get everyone involved tonight,” O’Boye said. “That was our mindset early, and we knew that this was a team that would down on offense and run the clock. So we knew that if we got out in transition we were a little more athletic than them, and we shot the ball pretty well. This is a very talented team, and all of us can play minutes, and that will be really big when it comes to regional time.”