Basketball

High school boys basketball: Dundee-Crown eager for another matchup with Jacobs

District 300 rivals are among 5 local teams vying for regional titles Friday

Dundee-Crown coach Lance Huber stood outside his team’s locker room Wednesday night, only a few minutes removed from the Chargers’ biggest victory in several years.

“It’s better than going home tonight, I’ll tell you that,” Huber said.

The Chargers battled hard, playing from behind almost all night to eventually subdue St. Charles East, 57-54, in overtime in a Class 4A D-C Regional semifinal, sending D-C (16-12) to Friday’s 7 p.m. championship against Jacobs (25-3).

“Right now it sounds great,” Huber said. “But when we get out and have to play [Jacobs], we might be thinking, ‘What the [heck] did we get ourselves into?’ We’ll see what happens. We’ll enjoy this tonight and see if we can figure out a way to stay with them. They’re really good.”

Including D-C and Jacobs, there are five local teams alive in the regional championship round Friday. Crystal Lake Central (17-10) faces Jefferson (24-6) at 7 p.m. in the Class 4A Crystal Lake South Regional championship.

Johnsburg and Richmond-Burton (both 18-12) will tip off at 7 p.m. for the Class 3A Marengo Regional title.

Jacobs has won 11 consecutive games and is chasing its fourth regional title in five years. The Golden Eagles defeated D-C twice this season, 62-45 at Jacobs in January and 51-42 at D-C a week ago.

Jacobs advanced to a supersectional for the first time in school history last season. Friday’s game will be Eagles point guard Nik Balkcom’s 10th postseason game.

“It’s going to be really fun, really good for us,” Balkcom said. “We play really good in the playoffs; we really like the competition. We’d like to add another regional, and we’re really proud of that.”

Jacobs coach Jimmy Roberts hopes the big-game atmosphere will be an advantage for his players. Balkcom and starters Kameron Mack and Ajani Rodriguez all played on last year’s sectional champion.

Ryan Phillips, a 6-foot-4 senior and the Eagles’ leading scorer, is getting close to returning from a broken bone in his right (shooting) hand. Phillips was a starter with Balkcom two years ago on another regional championship team.

With the two District 300 rivals facing each other and a regional title on the line, D-C’s gym is sure to be packed.

“That was our goal, to get another Jacobs game,” Chargers guard Damarion Butler said. “The outcome lies ahead; we have to see what’s going to happen on Friday.”

Crystal Lake Central has a lineup of mostly junior players and will face the Northern Illinois Conference-10 co-champion J-Hawks for the title. The Tigers last won a regional in 2013; Jefferson won titles in 2013 and 2015.

Johnsburg is led by 6-0 guard Zach Toussaint, who leads the area in scoring (22.6) and has hit 80 3s. The Skyhawks last won a regional in 2012.

R-B has won 11 of its past 13 games, with a win at Johnsburg during that stretch. The Rockets are led by guard Jeff Jankowski and forward Shane
Byrne.

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