Healthy finish for Koch, Antioch at Marengo

The last two letters of Trevor Koch's surname are superfluous. Antioch's senior guard needs them like he needs another ankle injury.

“They're recurring,” said Koch (pronounced Ko), who's had problems with both of his ankles since last season.

“I fight them off well,” he added, smiling.

Take Wednesday.

Antioch had itself a Koch ... and a smile.

By beating Woodstock North 52-40, the Sequoits captured the consolation championship of Marengo's 66th annual E.C. Nichols Holiday Classic. A healthy Koch scored a game- and season-high 20 points, including a pair of 3-pointers.

Antioch (6-7) won its last three games of the tournament, after losing its opener, despite missing starters Reece Eldridge (ankle) and Kyle Gofron (hamstring) for all four contests. Playing short-handed, in truth, is nothing new for the Sequoits.

“We've yet to have a full practice with everybody,” coach Jim White said. “They keep dropping. Hopefully we're getting it out of the way.”

Even Koch had a slow start to the season after hurting his right ankle in late fall. It might have seemed like déjà vu for both him and Antioch.

“He tried coming back too soon,” White said. “We said to him, 'We're not making the same mistake we made with you last year.' He busted the (left) ankle over winter break last year, and he was never the same the rest of the season.”

After getting a buzzer-beating putback by Nathan Borries to edge Richmond-Burton on Tuesday, Antioch spotted Woodstock North a 16-8 lead late in the opening quarter. But Koch's drive started a 9-0 run that ended with Brandon Dade's 3-pointer with 4:43 left in the second quarter.

The Thunder went into halftime up 24-22 on a scoop shot by Vic Ortiz in the closing seconds. But Antioch dominated the third quarter, outscoring Woodstock North 16-2. Dade (9 points) and Koch (7) accounted for all of their team's points. Dade made all 3 of his shots, including a 3-pointer that rattled in. He also had a steal that he turned into a layup.

“In the first half, I was forcing everything,” said Dade, who finished with 15 points. “I didn't really let the game come to me. But in the second, Coach had a little talk with me. I got my mind right, came out hard, played good defense, got some steals, and it transitioned well to my offense. It flowed from there.”

Up 38-26 entering the fourth, Antioch kept fighting, even when yet another Sequoit got hurt. Nathan Formella got his nose bloodied, but not before splitting a pair of free throws early in the quarter.

Formella (3-pointer) and Borries (5 rebounds) each finished with 6 points. Logan Weber came off the bench to grab 6 rebounds and hit 2 free throws down the stretch.

“We got a deep team,” Koch said. “We have a lot of people that step up and play well when we need them to.”

It was the second time this season that Antioch beat Woodstock North, which received 14 points apiece from Ortiz and Collin Mergl and 10 from Caleb Labude. When Antioch is successful, the Sequoits are getting in passing lanes and creating offense with their defense. They did that against the Thunder.

“(Offensively), we go as our transition goes,” White said. “We try to get easy ones. We're not going to get easy ones feeding the post, even when Reece comes back. That's just not how we play. We try to attack and get it to him on a slip (screen).”

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