CRYSTAL LAKE – Crystal Lake Central coach Rich Czeslawski called a 30-second timeout in the fourth quarter of Wednesday’s Class 4A Crystal Lake South Regional semifinal against McHenry to recognize junior Alex Timmerman passing 1,000 career points.
The celebration was short-lived as the 6-foot-8 center turned his teammates’ attention back to McHenry.
“Everyone gave him a pat on the back, and he said, ‘No, it doesn’t matter if we don’t win this,’ ” Czeslawski said. “He kind of got them all fired up.”
Timmerman backed up his words in the huddle with a dominant performance, tallying a game-high 21 points with 12 rebounds and three blocks as No. 6 seed Central defeated fourth-seeded McHenry, 52-45.
The Tigers (17-10) will face top-seeded Rockford Jefferson in the championship at 7 p.m. Friday. Central is looking for its first regional title in five years.
“It’s playoff basketball; it’s the best time of the year,” said Timmerman, who was 9 of 13 from the field and has 1,003 career points. “You never know when it’s going to be your last game, so you just have to give it your all. I went on a big run there in the third (quarter), and it really helped us.”
Timmerman scored 12 of his game-high 21 points in the third quarter, going 6 of 7 from the field. He had
10 straight points at one point as the Tigers turned a 25-22 lead at halftime into a 42-28 lead going into the fourth.
The Warriors held Timmerman to seven first-half points but were unable to contain him over the final 16 minutes.
“Alex is obviously a great player; he’s been around so long,” Warriors coach Chris Madson said. “It feels like he’s a fifth-year senior. I thought he really did a good job staying poised. We tried to be real physical with him, but he’s 6-foot-8 and however much he weighs. He made some great finishes around the rim.
“He’s got a great knack for the ball, and he killed us on the boards in the first half.”
The Tigers jumped out to a 10-2 lead against the Warriors (19-9) and didn’t trail at any point of the game. McHenry senior guard Maki Mohr (15 points) made his fifth 3-pointer of the game with 1:22 left in the fourth quarter to cut Central’s lead to 48-42.
McHenry’s Brian March hit the first of two free throws with 20.3 seconds left, cutting the lead to 49-45, but the Warriors would not get any closer. Central’s Deonta Dungey sealed the game at the free-throw line, going 3 for 4 in the final 17.3 seconds. He scored
11 points with five rebounds.
Czeslawski praised the defensive effort of junior guard Evan Cassell, who guarded McHenry’s Gavin Markgraff for much of the game and held him to five points. Gio Calabrese also had only five points. Combined, the two McHenry senior guards were 4 of 28 from the field.
“I was just looking to use my long arms, contest all his shots and not letting him get any easy drive,” said Cassell, a 6-foot-5 guard.
McHenry was 15 for 54 from the field, or 27.8 percent. Central made
20 of 44 shots for 45.5 percent.
“If you would have told me after the game that Gavin and Gio were 4 for 28, I’d call you a liar,” Madson said. “They don’t miss that way. A lot of them were great looks.”
Patrick Breisch finished with
12 points and nine rebounds for McHenry, and March had eight points and five rebounds. C.J. Lerum (two assists), Cassell (three assists, four blocks), and Colton Haviland had five points apiece for Central. Will Welder also tossed in five points and two assists.
Madson said McHenry’s seniors are leaving behind a great legacy. The Warriors won 19 games for the first time since 2004.
“I couldn’t be more fortunate with these seniors,” Madson said. “I have a long history with them, and that makes it really special with that group. I told them that their footprint on our program is going to last for years and years. They do everything the right way.”
STAR OF THE GAME
Crystal Lake Central, jr., C
Timmerman led all scorers with 21 points, including 12 in the third quarter. The 6-foot-8 center finished 9 of 13 shooting, missing only one of eight shots in the second half, with 12 rebounds and three blocks.
1,003: Career points for Timmerman
AND ANOTHER THING ...
McHenry’s 19 wins are its most since 2003-04, when the Warriors finished 19-9. They were searching for their first regional title in six years.
Crystal Lake Central 52, McHenry 45
McHenry 11 9 8 17 – 45
Crystal Lake Central 13 12 17 10 – 52
McHENRY (45): Mohr 5 0-0 15, Breisch 3 6-10 12, Markgraff 2 0-0 5, Calabrese 2 0-0 5, March 3 2-4 8. Totals: 15 8-14 45.
CRYSTAL LAKE CENTRAL (52): Timmerman 9 3-5 21, Lerum 2 0-0 5, Dungey 4 3-4 11, Haviland 2 0-0 5, Cassell 2 0-0 5, Welder 1 3-4 5. Totals: 20 9-13 52.
3-point goals: McHenry 7 (Mohr 5, Markgraff, Calabrese), Crystal Lake Central 3 (Lerum, Haviland, Cassell). Total fouls: McHenry 14, Crystal Lake Central 16.