CARPENTERSVILLE – Dundee-Crown guard Jack Orndahl has played a lot of games in his home gym over the course of a four-year varsity career and knew precisely where to rank the most recent one.
“Nothing really tops that,” Orndahl said. “With [St. Charles East] being a [No. 3] seed and us upsetting them. It kind of sent a message to fans and other teams that we mean business. We all played well; we talked to each other; we all believed in the common goal.”
And it took a lot of believing.
The Chargers fell behind by 14 points in the second quarter. They did not lead over a stretch of 13:15 from late in the third quarter, through the fourth quarter and overtime.
Finally, Orndahl’s two free throws with 1:14 remaining in overtime gave them an advantage. It was hounding defense from guards Damarion Butler and Jordan Hairston that allowed them to hold on. And it was a big-time performance from big man Gabe Bergeron that took them to a 57-54 victory in the Class 4A D-C Regional semifinal Wednesday.
No. 6-seeded D-C (16-12) plays No. 2 Jacobs (25-3) at 7 p.m. Friday for the regional title.
“That’s probably the most exciting game we’ve had all year,” said Bergeron, a 6-foot-8 senior who led all players with 24 points and was 10 of 12 from the field. “We had to be on the same page to beat them because they’re a great team.”
Hairston’s driving basket, a 6-footer in the lane with six seconds remaining in the fourth quarter, sent the game to overtime. East (18-10) took a lead on Mark Musial’s 3-pointer a minute into overtime, but it was the Saints’ last points.
“To be honest, I think we just played,” Chargers coach Lance Huber said of his team’s man-to-man defense. “The guys realized it was play or go home. We kind of challenged them a little bit that it was crunch time and they had to get after it. And they got after it.”
Butler made a free throw with 30 seconds remaining, and D-C forced a turnover, with Hairston adding another free throw. Hairston came up with another steal, but the Chargers committed a backcourt violation, giving East had one last chance with 2.7 seconds remaining. Musial’s contested 3 from the right wing was not close, and the D-C crowd erupted in celebration.
“We knew Dundee-Crown was hot – they had won eight of their last nine games – and sizewise they were a problem,” Saints coach Patrick Woods said. “We tried to play fast, and we didn’t shoot the ball well. We were 4 for 11 from the line. Put all those things together, and you get an overtime loss.”
East started out hot and led, 30-16, with 5:50 remaining in the second quarter. But the Chargers clawed their way back to 30-25 by halftime and kept it tight the rest of the way.
Bergeron made his first four shots and was tough to contain all night.
“Gabe played like a college player,” Huber said. “We talked to him before the game and told him he had to play like a big boy, and he responded. It was nice to see.”
Bergeron hit a 3 during the Chargers’ second-quarter comeback and had a pair of dunks, the second off an alley-oop pass from Butler in the third quarter.
“I was feeling good running the floor and felt good with the ball in my hands,” Bergeron said. “I didn’t feel like I had to rush anything like that. I was able to get in there and use my size and finish over people.”
Orndahl added 13 points, and Hairston had nine. Nate Ortiz led East with 17 points, Zach Robinson scored 16, and Justin Hardy added 13. Hardy, a 6-5 senior and fourth-year varsity player, was matched up against Bergeron most of the game on both ends.
“We knew [Bergeron] was good. We don’t match up sizewise with him,” Woods said. “I’m surprised more people (college teams) aren’t on him to be honest with you.”
STAR OF THE GAME
Gabe Bergeron, Dundee-Crown, Sr., F
Bergeron was a force for the Chargers, hitting 10 of 12 field goals, including a pair of dunks and one 3-pointer, as they defeated St. Charles East, 57-54, in overtime.
9: Wins in the past 10 games for Dundee-Crown.
AND ANOTHER THING ...
One key play that East coach Patrick Woods mentioned from the first half came when D-C’s Damarion Butler missed the second of two free throws but hustled down the rebound, dribbled outside and passed to Josh Raby for a 3-pointer. That capped a 9-0 run by D-C and made the score 30-25 at halftime.
Dundee-Crown 57, St. Charles East 54 (OT)
DUNDEE-CROWN (57): Orndahl 3 5-6 13, Butler 0 2-6 2, Hairston 3 3-8 9, Bergeron 10 3-4 24, Stec 2 2-2 6, Michalski 0 0-0 0, Raby 1 0-0 3, Hatcher 0 0-0 0. Totals: 19 14-22 57.
ST. CHARLES EAST (54): Champine 1 0-2 2, Robinson 7 0-0 16, Hardy 4 3-6 13, Mitchell 0 0-0 0, Ortiz 7 1-3 17, Musial 2 0-0 6, Sullivan 0 0-0 0, Clodi 0 0-0 0. Totals: 21 4-11 54.
Dundee-Crown 14 11 17 9 6 – 57
St. Charles East 22 8 16 5 3 – 54
3-point goals: Dundee-Crown 4 (Orndahl 2, Bergeron, Raby), St. Charles East 8 (Robinson 2, Ortiz 2, Hardy 2, Musial 2). Total fouls: Dundee-Crown 14, St. Charles East 21. Fouled out: Robinson.