CRYSTAL LAKE - Turnovers. Blasted turnovers.
Many nights this season, Dundee-Crown’s boys basketball players left the gym thinking just that. If not for giveaways, the Chargers might have rallied instead of sputtered. Or won, but instead lost.
It was nice on Friday to leave Crystal Lake Central without that throbbing Achilles' heel. D-C committed just four turnovers - three in the first quarter and not another until late in the fourth - and played formidably in the paint in a 68-45 victory against Central in the seventh-place Fox Valley Conference crossover game.
“We had 16 (on Tuesday) against Jacobs and a plethora against Prairie Ridge (on Feb. 18),” D-C coach Lance Huber said. “ … We talk every game about getting a good shot every time, and I guess we got some good shots tonight because we just did not turn the ball over.”
Maintaining possession is always easier when shots are falling. D-C shot 16-for-29 (55 percent) in the first three quarters, highlighted with a 9-3 run in the middle of the third. Every shot during the sequence came in the lane or from the free-throw line while converting 3-point plays.
D-C guards Cordero Parson and Sam Buckley each drew fouls on layups to get to the stripe, guard Kiwaun Seals hit a 10-foot jumper in traffic and Parson closed the quarter with a buzzer-beating layup to give D-C (8-17 overall) a 49-31 cushion.
“We gave up way too many points in the first half, and in the third quarter we only gave up six,” said senior forward Nick Munson, who started the third quarter surge with a 3-pointer and led the Chargers with 18 points. “Our defense definitely led to our offense.”
Central (3-23) shot well in the first half, sparked by four 3-pointers from senior Cavanagh Murphy (18 points). The Tigers knotted the score at 12 with 3:15 left in the first quarter on Murphy’s second 3, and they pulled within one, 24-23, on his fourth with 3:38 left in the second quarter.
But the Tigers had turnover issues – eight in the first half and 14 total – and shooting woes. After Kenny Vesely’s putback with 1:35 left in the second, Central went cold from the field until the 4:15 mark in the third quarter.
“We just don’t play with the kind of intensity we need for 32 minutes,” Central coach Rich Czeslawski said. “We pick like a 4-to-6-minute stretch where we’ll kind of go through the motions. To (the Chargers’) credit, they came out and defended us better. They were more physical, and our guys just didn’t respond.”