Notriano's big night propels Johnsburg past Elgin
Johnsburg's Josh Notriano made sure to utilize a variety of expressions and poses throughout Thursday's game against Elgin.
After drilling several highlight-reel, deep 3-pointers from numerous spots on the court, Notriano made a point to reach into his arsenal of post-shot positive reactions to revel in the moment.
Even with no fans in attendance, Notriano's stellar shooting display raised several eyebrows and created a stir in the venerable Chesbrough Field House. Notriano scored 19 of his game-high 29 points in the first half to spark Johnsburg to an 83-60 win.
In total, the Skyhawks, who implemented a run-and-gun style similar to Grinnell College for this season, made 11 3-pointers in the nonconference victory. Notriano, a three-year starter, led the way with six 3s.
"When I'm feeling it like tonight, my teammates know and they try an feed me the ball," Notriano said. "I love playing basketball. Everyone was having fun out there. This (system) is so much fun. I feel like I have a perfect fit, but I'm still trying to get in shape, but we're all trying to just have fun."
The 6-foot-1 Notriano, a baseball-first player, did his best Steph Curry impersonation by launching long-range 3-pointers, even shooting one late in the second quarter within five feet of half-court. Notriano said his longest made 3-pointer was "near the logo" in a tournament at Jacobs.
The senior point guard drilled three 3s early in the second quarter, including a pull-up bomb from the top of the key to give the Skyhawks (1-1) a 29-15 lead.
"Tonight, Josh was feeling it," Johnsburg coach Mike Toussaint said. "Josh has fun on the court. When he's going, he's about as good as anybody. He was going tonight. When he hit that one bomb, that's what you call 'feeling it.' "
The Skyhawks all seem to take a page from Notriano's let-it-fly attitude, with most of his teammates having the green light to fire 3s at will with no regard for distance. Johnsburg's success wasn't limited to the offensive side, as its aggressive, unrelenting pressure defense bothered the smaller Maroons (1-1).
Johnsburg sophomore guard Dylan Schmidt, who had 17 points, supplied his share of offensive fireworks to go with the defensive highlight of the game, blocking a fast break attempt off the glass midway through the second quarter.
Senior center Jacob Welch (7 points) also posed problems for Elgin -- inside and outside the 3-point arc. The 6-foot-6, 285-pounder countered a brief Elgin rally by connecting on a long 3-pointer right before halftime.
Elgin had three players in double figures, with Darien Jackson (16 points), Manny Hernandez (13) and Gio Griffin (11).
"Give them credit, they came in here and put it to us," Elgin coach Todd Allen said. "We have some young guys, a small team and just didn't play well. We have to get better, and come with more energy every night."