VILLA PARK – Being a good 3-point shooter takes practice, and a lot of it.
Addison Trail’s Joe Kurucar has put in the practice time to become a top shooter, and it has paid off for the Blazers this season.
Kurucar’s latest strong performance was a 16-point outburst at Willowbrook on Tuesday. His team-high point total helped the Blazers to a 48-39 win against their District 88 rivals.
“Joe can shoot,” AT coach Brendan Lyons said. “He’s started to develop [the rest of his game] a little bit. He had a couple nice moves to the basket [against Willowbrook].”
The 6-foot-3 senior guard has a long frame but doesn’t play much in the paint. Instead, he uses his height advantage over most guards to help him get a better look at the basket from the perimeter.
Kurucar hasn’t always been a shoot-first type of player, but he has worked hard to develop that part of his game.
“When I was little I used to drive a lot, but from like freshman year on I just started shooting,” Kurucar said. “Every day in summer I would shoot. I just go out there and shoot.”
In addition to Kurucar’s 16 points, Joe Villasenor scored 13 for the Blazers (11-14, 6-4 West Suburban Gold). Both players stepped up in the scoring category while leading scorer James Pupillo was held to just four points and left the game in the fourth quarter after taking an elbow that gave him a bloody nose.
After dropping many close games earlier in the season, the Blazers weren’t concerned with style points against the Warriors. All that mattered was the win.
“I don’t know if I would exactly call it entertaining from a spectator standpoint, but two teams were battling out there,” Lyons said. “At least we came out with the ‘W’ after the game. You try to stress the positive.”
The Blazers have won the last four games they’ve played in that have been decided by single digits. This is after the team had already lost four games by two points or less this season.
“At the beginning of the year we lost a lot of those close games, but we’re sticking in them now,” Kurucar said.