MARENGO – Woodstock North's Lacey Schaffter may be soft-spoken off the court, but the Thunder sophomore plays a loud game.
“She’s huge all of the time,” North coach Mike Lewis said. “She’s what? 5-foot-2? 5-foot-3? And she plays like she’s 6-foot-2. She’s a bulldog. She wouldn’t be able to play at this level, at that size, if she thought she was small. She thinks she’s huge, and she makes shot after shot.”
Schaffter, officially listed at 5-3, came off the bench in relief of graduate Taylor Prerost last season and earned a starting role as a sophomore.
On Wednesday, she hit arguably the two biggest shots for North in a 55-49 Kishwaukee River Conference win over Marengo, which left North (13-6, 4-0 KRC) as the last unbeaten team in the conference.
Schaffter’s back-to-back 3-pointers from the identical spot in the left corner extended North’s lead to 49-37 with 5:35 left in the fourth quarter. North pushed its lead to as many as 13, and the Indians did not cut it any closer than six until the final minute.
North finished with nine 3s and defeated Marengo for the first time since the 2015-16 season. Schaffter and Kaitlyn Ford each made three 3s and scored 10 points for North, but Schaffter’s 3s were especially big.
“If I had to describe Lacey Schaffter, it’s clutch,” senior Abby Hartmann said. “She just comes out of nowhere, and it electrifies our bench. Every single time she hits a shot, I get my fist pump going.”
“I just got my feet set under me and felt like I was good to go,” Schaffter said. “I think they helped, but it wasn’t the whole thing. We’re really meshing together and playing well together. We’ve been working hard to get better."
Wednesday’s win certainly felt like a significant step for North, which has conference title aspirations.
“Anytime you can win against Marengo is big time,” Lewis said. “They’ve been pretty darn good, and I’m pretty sure they have a conference championship trophy sitting in one of these hallways. They’re very comfortable here, and they’ve got arguably the best shooter in the area."
North was able to slow down Marengo junior Jennifer Heinberg, who was averaging over 17 points a game with an area-high 69 3s going into the game. She finished with only six points on 2-of-11 shooting, adding two free throws.
"They had five kids aware of where Jen was at any moment," Indians coach Nick Rode said. "We moved her around to different spots, and they still had awareness, whether we were cutting her or screening. They kind of knew where she was at all times."
Rode felt other players stepped up with North's focus on Heinberg. Alexis Kunde had 13 points and two 3s, Kierra Morris had 12 points and 14 rebounds, and Addie Johnson added seven points.
For North, Hartmann (five steals, six rebounds) had a team-high 13 points with only two buckets. She continuously attacked and finished with nine made free throws. Colette Jones tossed in nine points and two 3s for North, and Katelynn Ward added eight points and eight rebounds.
So far, North is enjoying its unfamiliar role as conference leader.
“The intensity just keeps rolling," Hartmann said. “We keep getting better every single game, and that’s really important to us. We feel like we were underdogs [last season], but now teams are coming for us, and that’s good I think ... being the team to beat."
STAR OF THE GAME
Abby Hartmann, Woodstock North, sr., G
Hartmann had 13 points, five steals and six rebounds.
8: The first quarter featured eight lead changes.
AND ANOTHER THING …
The Thunder handed Marengo only its fourth KRC loss since the start of the 2017-18 season. Marengo was 24-3 in KRC games entering Wednesday with all three losses to Burlington Central.
Woodstock North 55, Marengo 49
WOODSTOCK NORTH (55)
Schaffter 3 1-2 10, Ford 3 1-3 10, Hartmann 2 9-19 13, Ward 4 0-0 8, Morey 1 0-0 3, Jones 2 3-4 9, Quist 1 0-0 2. Totals: 16 14-28 55.
Kunde 5 1-3 13, Morris 6 0-0 12, Heinberg 2 2-2 6, Gentleman 1 1-1 3, Johnson 2 0-0 4, Georgiades 2 0-0 4, Johnson 1 5-8 7. Totals: 19 9-14 49.
Woodstock North 14 20 9 12 – 55
Marengo 13 15 8 13 – 49
3-point goals: Woodstock North 9 (Schaffter 3, Ford 3, Jones 2, Morey), Marengo 2 (Kunde 2). Total fouls: Woodstock North 14, Marengo 24. Fouled out: Kunde (Mgo), Gentleman (Mgo).