ALGONQUIN – Jefferson guard Terry Ford’s missed 3-pointer kicked out to the 3-point line, where teammate Quillin Dixon was waiting to grab it and toss it in just before the halftime buzzer.
It seemed like an appropriate finish to a half in which everything went right for the J-Hawks and little went right for Dundee-Crown.
Even when Jefferson missed a 3 – which seemed rare from D-C’s side – it made one.
“They shot the heck out of it,” D-C coach Lance Huber said. “I knew if they made a bunch of 3s, we were in trouble, and they made a bunch.”
That was only half of the Chargers’ problems. On the other end, the J-Hawks’ defense was stifling. Jefferson had everything working as it handed D-C a 77-48 loss in the Class 4A Jacobs Sectional semifinals Wednesday night at the Eagles’ Nest.
Jefferson (26-6) advances to Friday’s 7 p.m. championship against Larkin (22-8). D-C ended its best season since 2013 at 17-13.
The J-Hawks hit 12 3s for the game, seven in the first half, while taking a 42-18 halftime lead. They also forced the Chargers into 11 first-half turnovers.
“It seemed like they didn’t miss a shot,” Chargers forward Gabe Bergeron said. “If they play like that the rest of the way, they’re going to be very, very hard to beat. It would be awesome to see them keep playing like that and keep going.”
D-C, which had won nine of its past 10 games, hoped to see a Jefferson team more like the one that won the Crystal Lake South Regional in tight games over South and Crystal Lake Central. The Chargers saw a different version.
“They were significantly better,” Huber said. “I was telling my wife, [Kristy,] I had a bad feeling coming in. I saw them play South; I saw them play Central. They almost looked like they were relieved to get out of there and could exhale. They really took it to us tonight.”
D-C guard Jack Orndahl said they looked to defend the J-Hawks’ driving first because that is what they do best.
“They all fed off each other,” Orndahl said. “Once one started making 3s, they all started making them, and they weren’t afraid to pull from anywhere. I don’t think we necessarily played bad, they just played really well.”
Jefferson coach Todd Brannan was concerned with what he saw from D-C coming into the game.
“They’ve been playing really good,” Brannan said. “They beat St. Charles East and Jacobs in 48 hours. Those are two great wins. We were really concerned with Bergeron inside and Orndahl on the perimeter. Our kids did a great job carrying out the game plan.”
Dixon said that revolved more around defense than shooting.
“We came out having in our mind to score off our defense,” he said. “We had to turn up our pressure. We drilled it in our heads in practice that we had to score off our defense. Go out there and execute.”
Jyaire Robinson hit three 3s in the first half, Dixon hit two, while three others had one each. The J-Hawks were 8 of 18 on 3s in the first half.
On top of that, Jefferson’s man-to-man defense made if difficult for the Chargers to find an offensive flow.
“They applied really heavy pressure, pressure like we haven’t seen all year,” Bergeron said. “They jumped passing lanes; they read the ball really well, and we weren’t getting the looks we wanted. They made it tough.”
Orndahl finished his four-year varsity career with a game-high 20 points, 13 coming in the fourth quarter. Bergeron scored eight.
Robinson led Jefferson with 18 points. Dixon and Ford each scored 15, and MyQuion Garrett added 13.
D-C finished with more wins than it had in the previous three seasons combined, and its first regional title since 2009.
“We knew we had to go in and fight every game; we fought all year,” Bergeron said. “We took strides each day to get better. We had a rough patch at Christmas (at the Wheeling tournament), we had to sit back and reflect and get after it again. It was really a journey and something I’ll remember the rest of my life.”