There are times when Waubonsie Valley’s best option is putting the ball in the hands of senior forward Jackson Langendorf and just letting him cut loose.
That was the case Friday night in the fourth quarter as the Warriors went to work against Marmion in a Ken Peddy Windmill City Classic game at Batavia.
“I feel like a lot of it is that we preach getting to the contact, getting into the contact first and initiating it,” Langendorf said. “Then it’s just using ball fakes as much as I can and finishing as high as I can.”
Indeed, the 6-foot-6 forward Langendorf sliced his way to the basket several times down the stretch to help Waubonsie Valley rally for a 61-56 victory.
Langendorf, who scored a team-high 21 points, gave the Warriors (3-0) the lead on three different occasions in the fourth quarter.
The final time came at 58-56 with 54 seconds left. He then iced the win with a pair of free throws in the closing seconds.
“I think he has a chance to be really special,” Waubonsie coach Andrew Schweitzer said of Langendorf. “He’s a mismatch for a lot of teams. From his junior year to senior year, we kind of asked him to step up in leadership.
“That shows me he’s ready.”
Langendorf pointed to the belief Schweitzer and his coaching staff have in him. That helped to embolden him Friday during those key moments late.
“It gives me a lot of confidence that he’s willing to put me in that position,” Langendorf said of Schweitzer. “It makes it easier for me to go out there and score.”
Waubonsie trailed 47-39 to start the fourth quarter.
A seven-point flurry from Tre Blissett and a layup from Langendorf, however, gave the Warriors a 48-47 lead with six minutes left. Blissett finished with 20 points.
Langendorf followed by scoring on a layup and adding a free throw to give the Warriors a 51-49 lead.
“He works really well in different situations on the court, different places,” Schweitzer said of Langendorf. “Honestly, a couple of those times, we just gave him the ball and told him to go.
“Sometimes, that’s our best offense. I’ll take it.”
Marmion (3-1) fell behind 10-6 early on but responded with a huge 18-0 run to open up a 24-10 lead.
Collin Wainscott hit four 3-pointers in that stretch and ended up with seven to lead the Cadets with 21 points. Jabe Haith and Trevon Roots each scored 13 for Marmion.
“The fact we have guys that can shoot the ball like that, we’re always in the game,” Marmion coach Joe Piekarz said. “You have to be able to withstand when the shots aren’t falling, how to respond to that.”
The Cadets couldn’t get a shot off in the final two minutes, though, turning it over four times. Two of those were shot clock violations.
“We had been moving the ball so well,” Piekarz said. “For whatever reason, we just didn’t get into what we wanted to the last few possessions.
“We had four good games here this week. While we’re not happy with the result (Friday), we are happy with where we’re at right now.”
The win also showed where Waubonsie is.
With six rotation players returning this season, the Warriors have high hopes. A result like Friday’s victory only solidifies those feelings.
“It was a lot of fun,” Langendorf said. “It shows our toughness. I feel like it was a statement win for us. Marmion is a good team. It shows what we can do this season.
“I’m so excited. I feel like we showed what we can do.”
Paul Johnson is a freelance reporter for The Beacon-News.