MARENGO – Corbin Murphy, along with all of Crystal Lake Central’s boys basketball team, had a tough time solving Marengo’s zone defense early.
Although Murphy shot a poor percentage in the first half, the senior came back with 10 points in the third quarter and finished with a game-high 21 points to lead Central to a 61-39 nonconference road victory.
“It’s a good game for confidence to come in here and get a road win,” Murphy said. “We don’t really play against a lot of zone so it was good for us to see what they threw at us.”
Murphy went just 2 for 8 in the first half before going 5 of 10 in the second half.
Crystal Lake Central (3-1) led wire-to-wire as Marengo was mired in a couple of long first half scoring droughts.
The Indians did not record their first field goal until 1:40 in the first quarter, a period of 6:20 without a basket. They followed that with another six-minute four-second drought from the end of the first to the second.
Marengo (1-4) head coach Dave Pettit was happy his young team could gain experience against the Tigers.
“Right now, we’re playing one senior a lot of minutes and the rest of them are sophomores and juniors,” Pettit said. “I keep telling them that we need to get better each and every day.”
Marengo settled down a bit in the second half cutting the lead to twelve at 27-15 in the third quarter before Central’s experience took over.
Marengo was led by sophomore Weston Shepard who knocked down two 3s en route to 12 points.
“With young teams like we have, they got a little unfocused and turned the ball over too many times,” Pettit said. “We took a couple bad shots and that’s all it takes against a good team like Crystal Lake Central.”
Central’s biggest lead was at 36-16 in the third quarter. The depth of the Tigers will come into question this season as Central is still playing without Kyle Fleck, who’s recovering from knee surgery.
“We were deep last year and these seniors got a lot of meaningful minutes,” coach Rich Czeslawski said. “Our senior class is going to carry us a little bit but I like what we have.”
It was seniors leading the Tigers on Thursday as in addition to Murphy’s 21, D.J. Thomas added 13 and Brad Knoeppel and Jake VanScoyoc each had nine.
“We try to keep scoring and keep on doing it,” Thomas said. “We don’t like to settle down. We like to keep our foot on the gas pedal and go.”