McHENRY – The Crystal Lake South girls basketball team thought it was ready for a quick, up-tempo North Chicago squad in Saturday’s championship game of the Northern Illinois Holiday Classic.
The Gators, however, couldn’t keep up with the Warhawks, who pushed the pace and always looked to run the fastbreak. South quickly fell behind, trailing by double digits midway through the first quarter and North Chicago didn’t let up. The Warhawks used their early lead to carry them to a 69-53 win against South to win the tournament title.
It didn’t matter if South (10-6) was using a zone defense or playing man to man, the Warhawks (10-6) rarely missed in the first half. North Chicago led 21-4 after the first quarter. Gators senior forward Sara Mickow scored a team-high 16 points and grabbed 27 rebounds, while Chanel Fanter and Kianna Clark also finished in double digits, scoring 14 and 10 points, respectively.
“We definitely knew they were an athletic team, but we were still thrown off guard a little bit with how fast they were and how fast they push the ball,” Mickow said. “But I think we adjusted well in the second half and really shut them down. We just gave up too many in the first.”
The Gators trailed by 21 at halftime but cut the Warhawks’ lead to 11 on a Mickow layup with 1:12 left in the third quarter. South outscored North Chicago by six points in the second half.
“I give our kids so much credit. We outplayed them in the second half and outscored them,” Gators coach Kyle
McCaughn said. “We answered the bell that we need to answer the rest of the way out. Every single game we have from here on out is going to be that type of game, that tough.”
CL Central 48, Dundee-Crown 35: Central senior guard/forward Evelyn Youel had a knack for splitting Dundee-Crown’s defense, and the Chargers struggled to find a way to stop her.
Youel managed to elude defenders, particularly in the paint, leading to a game-high 22 points in the Tigers’ 48-35 win to finish third in the 16-team tournament. She scored 12 of her points in the third quarter to help the Tigers (7-8) turn an eight-point lead into a 33-19 Central advantage. Shannon Ellman, one of seven Central players to score, added nine points.
“I think we worked really well together as a team,” Youel said. “Everyone was willing to pass the ball to whomever was open. ... We all wanted to win. That was a good drive for us.”
D-C (5-10) had opportunities against Central’s defense. The Chargers dominated the offensive boards to give them multiple chances, however they missed some open looks. Three-pointers kept the Chargers in the game in the first half. Sophomore guard Melissa Barker knocked down three 3-pointers in the first half – D-C’s only field goals – as the Chargers trailed Central 23-13 at the half.
Chargers coach Sarah Miller was disappointed her team didn’t continue to take a step forward as they work to improve.
“I don’t think we came ready to play from the start,” Miller said. “I felt like we did not do what we’d been working so hard on. I feel like we reverted back today to bad habits.”