CARPENTERSVILLE – For Crystal Lake South, it was nice to be the team pulling off a late come-from-behind victory – not the team squandering a lead.
“This season, it’s been the other way around sometimes,” Gators guard Will Stewart said. “We’d been up five and then we give it up. It was kind of nice to be on the other side of things. Get things done and win.”
Trailing by five with about 2:30 remaining, it didn’t look so good for South. A bucket from Casey Haskin pulled the Gators within three. A steal in the full-court press led to a bucket for Tyler Miller. Then Stewart knocked down a 3 to take the lead with 1:40 remaining.
The Gators closed out a 50-48 win over Dundee-Crown in Fox Valley Conference play Tuesday.
“Our guys handled it well,” South coach Matt LePage said. “I don’t think we turned the ball over in the last 2:30, which was crucial, and we set our defense. Our late pressure there was big.”
Stewart scored seven points. His 3 broke a drought from long-range for South (12-12, 6-8), which made nine 3-pointers in the game, but only one in the fourth quarter. It was a big shot at a pivotal moment.
“That’s what he can do,” LePage said. “He provides another shooter against that zone. We went to him late and he delivered.”
Miller led South with 20 points, including six 3s, shooting 7 of 14 from the field. Haskin contributed 10 points, making 4 of 6 free throws.
“We knew that we had to push through,” Miller said. “We’ve been in the situation where we’ve been up in most games and then the other team will take it back.”
South’s diamond full-court press defense was effective against D-C (11-13, 6-8) late in the game. The Chargers scored only one field goal in the last four minutes of the game.
Miller noted that the trapping press “really kind of took over” the game.
“South did a good job of making us uncomfortable,” D-C coach Lance Huber said. “And when we were uncomfortable, we did some things that we didn’t really want to do, and South took advantage of it.”
D-C turned the ball over five times in the fourth quarter. South threw a number of different defenses at the Chargers during the game: half-court zone, the zone press, and some man-to-man.
“I thought we were ready for it, but I guess we weren’t,” Huber said. “That was frustrating, but they did a great job, credit to [South].”
This was after D-C had rallied from an early 10-0 hole. South’s Miller made a pair of 3s to start the game and the Gators built a double-digit lead.
D-C’s Kyle Huber knocked down two 3-pointers to spark the Chargers. D-C pulled even, 17-17, midway through the second quarter. It was back-and-forth the rest of the game.
Huber had 12 points. Doug Miller led D-C with 14 points. Terrell Powell contributed 10.
"I like the way we’ve been playing lately," LePage said. "We’ve played in a lot of good, close games. As we gear toward the end, that’s what you want. You want to be in close games."
STAR OF THE GAME
Will Stewart, Crystal Lake South, junior, G
Stewart made a 3 early and a 3 late, but the late one was the big one. He put the Gators ahead of Dundee-Crown with 1:40 to play. South had erased a five-point deficit in the span of about a minute.
9: Crystal Lake South made nine 3-pointers in the game. Tyler Miller contributed six of them.
AND ANOTHER THING …
D-C beat South in their first matchup on Jan. 8 by one point, 39-38. South led by 16 points in the third quarter of that contest.
Crystal Lake South 50, Dundee-Crown 48
CLS 15 9 15 11 – 50
D-C 10 13 15 10 – 48
CRYSTAL LAKE SOUTH (50)
Jewson 4 0-0 9, LePage 1 0-0 2, Miller 7 0-0 20, Glamoc 0 0-0 0, Haskin 3 4-6 10, Wolek 0 0-0 0, Stewart 2 1-2 7, Murtaugh 1 0-0 2. Totals: 18 5-8 50.
3-point field goals: Miller 6, Stewart 2, Jewson 1.
Huber 4 0-0 12, Miller 4 3-3 14, Powell 5 0-0 10, Hodor 1 1-1 3, Prusko 1 3-6 5, Cook 1 2-2 4, Mercado 0 0-0 0. Totals: 16 9-12 48.
3-point field goals: Huber 4, Miller 3.