ALGONQUIN – Crystal Lake South knew Zion-Benton was going to be the best team it faced, and the Zee-Bees were every bit as good as advertised.
Behind NCAA Division I recruits Admiral Schofield and Milik Yarbrough, the Zee-Bees rolled up a big first-half lead and dealt the Gators their first loss of the season, 79-65, in Jacobs’ Hinkle Holiday Classic on Saturday at the Eagles’ Nest.
“They were at another level there for a while,” South coach Matt LePage said. “It was a little overwhelming. Their shotmaking was remarkable. I hadn’t seen them make shots like that. Their guys proved why they’re D-I recruits.”
Z-B (8-1 overall, 1-0 Pool IV) got 20 from Schofield, a 6-foot-5 junior who opened the game with a dunk over a South defender, and 19 from Yarbrough, a 6-6 senior. Jerome Davis added 15, with a dunk, off the bench.
South (8-1, 0-1) was led by 6-2 Austin Rogers with 27 points. He hit 11 of 18 field goals.
“They’re a very good team,” Rogers said. “They’re high flyers, athletic and long. Credit to them because they played well.”
Z-B was impressed with the play of Rogers, who scored South’s first 11 points.
“We had to wake up and start playing [after falling behind 11-8],” Yarbrough said. “They came out with some intensity. [Rogers] played very well and used his skills to score.”
The Zee-Bees pushed the lead to 26 in the fourth quarter before the Gators’ Collin Wagner nailed four 3-pointers and finished with 16 points.
“I’m very pleased with what we did offensively,” Z-B coach Don Kloth said. “We had a lot of people contribute and attacked Crystal Lake South very well. We had to play very well to beat them.”
Schofield had 13 in the first half as Z-B built a 39-22 lead. Yarbrough fired in 14 of his total in the second half.
Rogers had 15 in the first half and 11 more in the third quarter.
“I thought that might have been his best game at South,” LePage said. “He played awesome and it was a controlled 27. We just couldn’t make some other shots in the first half. We played a pretty good second half.”