Markus’ shooting, screens help facilitate offense
Jason Markus of Glenbrook North looks to pass as Jobin Mathew of Maine East looks on at Glenbrook North in Northbrook on Friday. | Ray Whitehouse~for Sun-Times Media
Updated: February 19, 2013 1:38PM
NORTHBROOK — When it comes to offensive basketball, no matter if you’re talking about the NBA, Division I or high school, to be an elite team it helps have to have three scoring options.
Glenbrook North possesses the first two scoring components, with 6-foot-8 senior center Andrew McAuliffe and 6-1 senior guard Kurt Karis. The two can really light up the scoreboard. And now, the third offensive option is starting to emerge on a consistent basis, senior Jason Markus.
The 5-8 — make that 5-9 guard, as Markus insisted good-naturedly — leads Glenbrook North in 3-point field goals made with 27. He averages 8.5 points per game for the Spartans.
That’s a far cry from his first attempt beyond the arc in his first varsity game last year.
“The first 3 I took got blocked,” Markus said. “But I’ve got a lot more confidence shooting the ball now,” Markus said. “The team has been doing a great job of setting screens and finding me.”
“Everyone keys on Andrew and Kurt, so we struggle sometimes when they are getting double-teamed,” Glenbrook North coach David Weber said. “But now with Jason hitting his shot (3-pointer), it spreads the whole defense out.”
Weber added: “Having a big threat on the perimeter allows Andrew more room on the inside.”
In Glenbrook North’s 60-17 win over CSL North foe Maine East on Friday, Markus’ long-range threat enabled McAuliffe to go one-on-one in the paint during a 27-point first quarter explosion by the Spartans.
“When I get the ball inside and teams clog up the lane, I just look to the opposite side for Jason,” McAuliffe said. “He can punish you with his 3s.”
Karis shared similar thoughts about his backcourt colleague.
“Jason takes so much of the pressure off of us,” Karis said. “He can just keep knocking down those jumpshots.”
There’s more to Markus’ basketball repertoire than just shooting 3s, though.
“He’s our best screener,” Weber said about his diminutive guard, who sets picks on the tall trees inside to help free up McAuliffe. “Jason plays so hard all the time. He’s one of the most intense players I’ve had in a long time.”
In the Maine East contest, Markus had three assists, two steals and forced two other Blue Demon turnovers. Early in the second quarter, Markus nearly got run over setting a pick on a player seven or eight inches taller and about 50 pounds heavier to free up McAuliffe who was cutting towards the basket. It led to a layup by the center.
“I just hate to lose,” Markus said. “I’ll do anything to help us win a basketball game.”