McHENRY – Thanks to a few clutch shots from senior Rachel Rasmussen, the Crystal Lake South girls basketball team held off a determined Dundee-Crown squad for the 56-48 victory in the first semifinal of the Northern Illinois Classic tournament.
The two teams came into the semifinal with polarizing records, but that didn’t stop the Chargers (5-9) from giving the Gators (10-5) a close game.
Crystal Lake South led from about the midway point of the first quarter but never managed to put the game away. The Chargers got to as close as three points late in the fourth quarter when a Jesania Laboy basket made it 48-45.
The Gators did what they did all game. They responded with an 8-0 run of their own to finally pull away for good.
“Our energy level was good, our execution was really good, and our offense was good as well, it was just our defense that was lacking a little bit out there tonight,” CLS coach Kyle McCaughn said. “We gave up way too many open shots, but if we get three out of those four accomplished, we’re going to be pretty successful.”
The Gators got a huge boost from Rasmussen. Twice in the game, CLS went on long scoring droughts that were snapped on big shots by Rasmussen. In both instances, Dundee-Crown got within four points of the lead and both times after the Rasmussen shots, the Gators would begin to pull away again.
“She’s definitely good,” McCaughn said. “That’s just the identity of our team right now, as we progress in the season we have a different kid show up and make those shots and tonight that was Rachel.”
Rasmussen led the team with 19 points. Chanel Fanter finished with 14 points and Sara Mickow added 12 in the win.
The Gators move on to the championship game, where they will play North Chicago on Saturday afternoon.
“I think we have been playing good in the tourney so far, but we came here to win the tournament and that’s what we’re going to do tomorrow,” Rasmussen said.
Lauren Lococo led the way for the Chargers with 12 points. Melissa Barker finished with nine points and Laboy added seven in the loss.
D-C will play Saturday in the third-place game against FVC crossover foe Crystal Lake Central.
“I felt like we battled, but just gave up way too many easy opportunities,” D-C coach Sarah Miller said. “We always talk about never giving up and battling all four quarters, and we did a really good job of that today.”
North Chicago 52, Crystal Lake Central 22
Things didn’t go quite as they planned for Crystal Lake Central in the second semifinal of the tournament.
The Tigers (6-8) struggled to get anything going offensively, while the Warhawks were able to open up their offense in the second half.
The Tigers managed to get within six points early in the third quarter but couldn’t sustain that offense the rest of the game. CLC managed only 11 points in each half.
“We struggled offensively," CLC coach Paul Lichtenheld said. “We tried to fight back early, but we just missed too many shots, and clearly have some work to do.”
Maddy Lerum led the team with six points and Shannon Ellman added five.