CRYSTAL LAKE — Dundee-Crown is playing its best basketball of the season, and the timing couldn't be better.
Fresh off an emotional, thrilling upset win over Fox Valley Conference leader McHenry on Saturday, the Chargers made sure there were no letdowns during their Wednesday night conference road game against Crystal Lake Central.
D-C (15-8, 10-4 FVC) coasted to a 50-24 win over the Tigers, but more impressively, did so without its two top scorers, Kennedy White and Gianine Boado.
White is still recovering from an ankle injury, while Boado was out sick, and is day-to-day.
The Chargers showed they meant business immediately after winning the opening tip, and attempted 11 field goals in the game's first 3:33, compared to just one attempt by the Tigers during that span. A big reason was the relentless, physical play of freshman forward Alyssa Crenshaw, who finished with a game-high 12 points and 15 rebounds.
Eight of those boards came on the offensive glass. She had four rebounds in the game's first two-plus minutes, added three steals and dished out a pair of assists — both after Central's defense collapsed on her in the lane with double-teams.
Crenshaw's double-double numbers would've likely been more gaudy had she not rested the majority of the third quarter, and was also taken out of the game with four minutes left in the fourth and the Chargers up big.
"It just takes that heart and desire to want to go and get that ball after a miss," Crenshaw said. "The vast majority of rebounding is positioning and sheer effort. Tonight, everyone out there gave it their all."
Payton Schmidt (10 points) and Madilyn Tripp (eight points), who both started, combined to shoot 8 for 16 from the floor. Kendall Kieltkya (eight points) and sophomore Cassidy Randl (five points, eight rebounds), meanwhile, were both excellent off the bench.
"The amount of confidence we got after beating McHenry last week was enormous," Randl said. "Seeing that confidence carry over into this game only magnifies that."
D-C held Central to just 19.5 percent shooting (8 for 41), including just 9 percent (2 for 22) in the second half.
"Not only did we elevate our defensive intensity in the second half, but after we got stops, those stops led to a bunch of transition baskets and layups," Chargers coach Sarah Miller said. "Yeah, we turned the ball over a lot more than we wanted (23 times), but we held them in the 20s, scoring-wise, and that says a lot. Anytime you hold a team under 30, you're doing something right."
All nine Dundee-Crown players that saw action tallied at least one assist.
"That was the one thing that stood out more than anything tonight, was our unselfishness," Miller said. "Our ball movement was incredible. No one held the ball for more than a second or two. And even when our possessions were long, we didn't force anything. We're a team that's playing with a ton of confidence right now, which is exactly where you want to be with the postseason approaching."
Wednesday was the final home game for Central seniors Elise Olson, Michaela Helm, Tara Ernd and Madelyn Hollander.
"This group of seniors has taught me to never give up, and to always trust and count on your teammates," Hollander said. "That's how you grow as a basketball player, but that bond and those lessons help you grow as a person as well."
The Tigers (12-13, 5-9) have two FVC games remaining, and hope to play spoiler to someone's playoff push in the coming weeks, with postseason seedings scheduled to be released Thursday evening by the IHSA. Cori Hamill (10 points) was the team's top scorer Wednesday.
"Our defensive intensity was excellent tonight," Central coach Derek Crabill said. "But when you shoot 19 percent from the field, it kind of negates almost all the things you do at the other end. We need to get used to physical play in a hurry, because those are the types of battles we're gonna be in the rest of the way. It doesn't get any easier.
"Also, with tonight being our seniors' final home game, I hope I helped them grow as much as they helped me grow. It's been so much fun working with them all and watching them grow as human beings. It's hard to put into words what this group meant. I appreciate them all."
STAR OF THE GAME
Alyssa Crenshaw, Dundee-Crown, Fr., F
Crenshaw (12 points, 15 rebounds) was a monster in the lane, and tallied a double-double despite resting most of the third quarter, and half of the fourth.
9: Dundee-Crown players who tallied assists Wednesday.
AND ANOTHER THING...
Central couldn't cash in late despite 18 second-half free-throw attempts. They were 7-for-20 overall from the foul line.
Dundee-Crown 50, Crystal Lake Central 24
Dundee-Crown 11 15 14 10 – 50
Crystal Lake Central 7 6 8 3 – 24
Dundee-Crown (50): Crenshaw 6 0-4 12, P. Schmidt 4 1-2 10, Tripp 4 0-0 8, K. Kieltyka 3 2-3 8, A. Kieltyka 2 0-0 5. Randl 2 0-0 5, Skibinski 1 0-0 2, K. Schmidt 0 0-0 0, Munoz 0 0-0 0. Totals: 22 3-9 50.
Crystal Lake Central (24): Hamill 3 4-4 10, Haslow 3 0-0 7, Ryan 1 1-2 3, Olson 1 0-0 2, Fleming 0 1-6 1, Lichte 0 1-2 1, Hollander 0 0-2 0, Helm 0 0-0 0, Ernd 0 0-2 0, Geske 0 0-2 0. Totals: 18 7-20 40.
3-point field goals: Dundee-Crown 3 (P. Schmidt, A. Kieltyka, Randl). Crystal Lake Central 1 (Haslow).
Total team fouls: Dundee-Crown 17, Crystal Lake Central 15
Fouled out: None. Technical fouls: None