CRYSTAL LAKE – When his Dundee-Crown boys basketball team held what seemed to be an insurmountable halftime lead, Lance Huber warned of Crystal Lake South’s ability to erase it.
So when the Gators made their push, dwindling the Chargers’ 19-point advantage down to single digits entering the fourth quarter, D-C responded just the way Huber hoped it would. In a span of less than two minutes, the Chargers made a surge of their own to finish off the Gators in a 62-42 Fox Valley Conference Valley win Tuesday night.
The win snapped D-C’s two-game losing streak, restoring some confidence.
“We had control the whole game,” senior guard Brandon Rodriguez said. “But we stepped on the gas (in the fourth quarter) and we took it to them.”
The Chargers (11-6 overall, 3-2 Valley) built their lead early with a controlled half-court motion offense that kept South on the run, leading to easy lay-ups. But when the Gators (6-11, 1-4) forced the issue in the third quarter and got D-C on the run, the Chargers struggled with errant passes and a series of missed easy looks. And before they knew it, the comfortable lead they had played with the entire night was on the verge of slipping away.
After South managed to get within 40-31 by the end of the third quarter by using a 16-6 scoring surge, the momentum South seemed to build evaporated almost immediately. A 3-point field goal that could have cut the deficit to only 6 missed its mark, giving the Chargers a chance to take advantage.
South, which was led by Nick Geske and Austin Rogers, who each scored eight points, finished the game 16 of 46 from the field.
“That was probably our chance,” South coach Matt LePage said.
It didn’t take long for D-C to get back to controlling the tempo. The Chargers – who got 15 points from Trent Muscat and 14 from Dylan Kissack – spread the floor, returning to an offense that had been so successful early on. And when the Gators were force to start fouling after D-C pushed its lead from nine to 18 in the first two minutes of the fourth quarter, the Chargers finished at the free-throw line.
“We got a little confidence back and some momentum,” Huber said of the early fourth-quarter turnaround. “Then, we just took it home from there.”
The win couldn’t have come at a better time for D-C, which had suffered back-to-back losses. But after a convincing Valley victory Tuesday night, the Chargers hope its enough to spark a string of solid play the rest of the way.
“It was really nice to come out strong and get this one tonight,” Muscat said.