Kyle Gofron's first varsity dunk will have to wait.
The Antioch sophomore guard showed enough of his other skills in his season debut Thursday night, providing a spark off the bench in helping the Sequoits surge past Johnsburg 51-41 in their home opener.
Antioch (2-3) snapped a three-game losing streak.
"He's showing great potential, great skill," said Antioch point guard A.J. Marsiglio, who scored a game-high 19 points, including a pair of 3-pointers, as he continued his strong start to the season. "He's going to keep getting better. Expect a lot of good things out of him this year."
Gofron sat out all four of the Sequoits' games in the Crystal Lake Central tournament with a pulled groin muscle he suffered on the second day of tryouts. His first basket gave a glimpse of his athleticism and showed that he's healthy, apparently. Gofron finished a layup off a perfectly delivered alley-oop pass from Marsiglio in the second quarter, extending Antioch's lead to 16-13 with 2:51 left.
Early in the fourth, with Antioch up 38-26 after Marsiglio opened the quarter with a 3 off an inbounds pass, Gofron stole the ball and drove hard to the basket while being chased by a defender. The 6-footer opted to lay the ball in, instead of attempting a dunk, which he says he can do.
"I didn't want to miss and get yelled at," Gofron said with a smile.
Gofron's third quarter was even better. In helping Antioch extend an 18-15 halftime advantage to 35-26 entering the fourth, he scored on an offensive rebound, finished a dish from Marsiglio, blocked a shot as a Johnsburg player went in for a layup and also fed Jack Kovach for an open layup.
"He's one of those sparkplugs," Antioch coach Jim White said of Gofron. "He won't do something you told him to do, but then he redeems himself and makes a play. He's just an athlete."
Led by Marsiglio, Gofron, Kovach and Hamza Abdellatif (8 points, two 3s), Antioch closed the third with a 12-4 run.
Gofron had participated in only three practices, all this week.
"I felt great," said Gofron, whose sister Lindsey was a four-year varsity starter for Antioch's girls team. "I'm happy to be back."
The Sequoits are happy Marsiglio is back this season. The hard-nosed guard is looking like a player who's determined to make his senior year a good one. A returning starter, he's averaging 16 points in the Sequoits' first five games. Listed at 5-7, he also hustled for 6 rebounds and dished out 3 assists against Johnsburg (2-3).
"Off-season work," said Marsiglio, who did two-a-day workouts over the summer working on everything from his ballhandling to his quickness to his floor vision.
"He's not afraid of a thing," White said. "He'll go the basket, he's clutch, he's a gamer."
Marsiglio sank 5 of 6 free throws in the fourth quarter, as the Sequoits held a double-digit lead for nearly the entire quarter.
"I liked how we started moving the ball around," Marsiglio said. "We executed better than we did in the (Crystal Lake Central) tournament. Practice pays off."
Antioch also got nice work on the glass from the 6-2 Kovach, who grabbed a game-best 8 rebounds, as well as 6-1 Joe Reiser and 6-4 Matt Powers, each of whom had 5 boards.
Steve Dixon had 13 points (three 3s), 5 rebounds and 4 steals for Johnsburg.
"Great job on the boards, until maybe the fourth quarter," White said. "We had a huge emphasis on the one-and-done defensively and trying to crash it offensively. I think that can be an asset for us for the first time in a couple of years. We've always been probably the smallest team around -- at least my first two years -- but this year we can match up a little bit."