JOHNSBURG — A brief but noisy celebration could be heard outside the Marengo girls basketball team's locker room following its convincing 75-57 Kishwaukee River Conference road win over Johnsburg Tuesday night.
And with good reason.
After watching the Skyhawks take a two-point lead by halftime, thanks to their red-hot shooting (7 for 12) from 3-point range in the first half, the Indians (4-2, 1-0 KRC) returned to the court after the break looking to make a statement.
That statement came in the form of a 9-0 Marengo run during the first two minutes of the third quarter, along with a 16-for-29 shooting performance from the field over the game's final 16 minutes.
"Anytime you come into this gym and play as well as we did against a great opponent like Johnsburg, it's a huge win," Marengo coach Nick Rode said. "The great thing was, everyone contributed in a big way. I keep telling our girls, if we can push our egos aside and not worry about stats, we could be a very dangerous team."
Ironically, plenty of players posted eye-opening stats Tuesday, led by Marengo sophomore guard Jennifer Heinberg, who tallied a career-high 23 points off the bench on 8-of-10 shooting. She was also a perfect 5 for 5 from the free-throw line, and the Indians were a combined 19 for 21 from the line.
"I tried to attack any gap I saw in their defense," Heinberg said. "And my teammates did a wonderful job of distributing the basketball."
The Indians' unselfishness was led by senior Hannah Ritter, who dished out eight of her team's 14 assists to go with her eight points.
"Whenever I have a girl on me who is a high-quality defender, as I did tonight, I actually prefer to dish the ball as often as I can," Ritter said. "Because that means there's likely a mismatch or two somewhere else. I just did my best to find those mismatches."
Marengo got 10 points from senior forward Erin Haeflinger and a double-double (12 points, 10 rebounds) from junior guard Jordan Parker, who frequently seemed to be in the right place at the right time.
"Just simple boxing out, really," Parker said.
But the bigger story on the scoresheet was the Indians' ability to succeed despite the early struggles of Division II University of Indianapolis recruit Marissa Knobloch. She was held scoreless in the first half, then went off for 17 points in the second half. She also pulled down eight rebounds.
"We used Katelyn Davis to guard Knobloch in the first half, and she did a spectacular job," Johnsburg coach Erin Thomas said. "Unfortunately our shots stopped falling as the game went on. And we got into a little bit of foul trouble.
"Marengo just has so many weapons. They have a deep, talented, dangerous roster. I wasn't unhappy with our effort at all. We just need to put four quarters together instead of two or three."
The Skyhawks (2-4, 0-1) were led by Davis (14 points), Morgan Madsen (19 points, five rebounds) and Megan Madsen (six points, seven assists).
STAR OF THE GAME
Jennifer Heinberg, Marengo, so., G
Heinberg shot 80 percent from the field en route to a career-high 23 points off the bench.
0: Shots missed by Heinberg during the second half. She was 4 for 4 from the field, and 4 for 4 from the foul line during that span.
AND ANOTHER THING …
"Jennifer could easily start for us, or any team in this conference," Marengo coach Nick Rode said. "Right now, we're thrilled with the production she's providing off the bench."
Marengo 74, Johnsburg 57
Marengo 11 17 23 23 – 74
Johnsburg 13 17 11 16 – 57
Marengo (74): Heinberg 8 5-5 23, Knobloch 6 4-5 17, Parker 3 6-7 12, Haeflinger 3 4-4 10, Ritter 4 0-0 8, L. Aubry 2 0-0 4, Georgiades 0 0-2 0, B. Aubry 0 0-0 0, Kunde 0 0-0 0, Erbstoesser 0 0-0 0, Faber 0 0-0 0. Totals: 26 19-21.
Johnsburg (57): Morgan Madsen 7 4-5 19, Davis 5 0-0 14, Megan Madsen 2 0-0 6, Macy Madsen 2 0-0 6, Wetzel 2 0-0 4, Owen 1 0-0 2, Metze 0 2-2 2, Straulin 1 0-0 2, Hendrixson 1 0-0 2, St. Clair 0 0-0 0, Lavanderos 0 0-0 0. Totals: 21 6-7 57.
3-point field goals: Marengo 3 (Heinberg 2, Knobloch), Johnsburg 9 (Davis 4, Megan Madsen 2, Macy Madsen 2, Morgan Madsen).
Total team fouls: Johnsburg 19, Marengo 10. Techincal fouls: None. Fouled out: Johnsburg: Megan Madsen.