Jacobs boys basketball coach Jim Roberts believes reserve guard Cory Boeckh plays an important role off the bench for the Golden Eagles.
And Jacobs, which struggles to score at times, was badly in need of Boeckh's 3-point prowess early when it struggled to score in the first half of its 46-25 opening-round win over the sixth-seeded Tigers Monday night, the hosts of the Class 4A Crystal Lake Central regional.
Boeckh drained 3 from the arc for 9 points on 7 shots in the first half, 6 points coming in the second quarter which helped bridge the gap in a game that earned No. 3 seed Jacobs (16-13) another shot at No. 2 seed Prairie Ridge tonight at 8 p.m. The teams split two closely contested meetings this season and Boeckh hit the go-ahead 3-pointer late in Jacobs' 56-54 overtime win on Dec. 17 at Prairie Ridge.
"He's a shooter, that's what he needs to do for us," Roberts said. "It's a pretty good role to have, right? You come in and every time you get it, it's an opportunity. Every time you get a glimpse of the basket you get one up."
Roberts subbed the 5-10 junior guard in when CLC (3-25) drew up a 1-2-2 late in the first quarter. Boeckh was an instant sensation as his first 3 helped Jacobs grab a 10-3 lead in the opening 8 minutes and his third trey gave the Golden Eagles a 21-7 lead with 2:45 left in the second quarter. Many of Boeckh's looks came from a penetrating Kenton Mack, who had a game-high 11 points to go with 2 rebounds and 2 assists as he attacked the Central zone.
"Give credit to Kenton," Boeckh said. "He was getting into the paint, drawing defenders in the zone, kicking out to me so I had open looks and knocked them down."
On the other side, the basket shortage was on for CL Central throughout. Jacobs held CLC to just 2 shots in the first quarter (both misses), with its second attempt coming on a last-second heave from three-quarters court. Central never scored more than 8 points in a quarter and it made as many shots overall on a 37.5 percent clip. Jacobs never trailed and its largest lead reached 23. Ben Murray courted 3 of Jacobs' 7 steals as the Golden Eagles scored 20 points off 17 Tiger turnovers.
"It's hard on our end to stay disciplined," Roberts said in regards to his team staying in passing lanes and giving up back cuts. "I thought we did a good job of being solid."
Jacobs, winners of 5 of its last 6, will turn its attention to a PR (17-10) team that was seeded higher, but playing an extra game in Central's field house with its deep backdrops can only help its cause.
"We were a little mad we got the third seed but playing this game you get a really good feel for the court and the rims and just the whole environment," guard Chrishawn Orange said. "Now we've got Prairie Ridge and we've got to give it all we have."