CARPENTERSVILLE — Dundee-Crown maintained sole possession of first place in the Fox Valley Conference, thanks to its 46-31 win over Crystal Lake South on Tuesday.
The Chargers (12-2, 6-0 FVC) jumped out to a 9-2 first-quarter advantage, led by as many as 13 and never trailed.
Junior forward Alyssa Crenshaw had a game-high 17 points and five rebounds for D-C, 14 of which came in the second half. She went 5 for 6 from the field during that span, and the Chargers shot 52.9% (18 for 34) as a team.
"A big part of the reason for our success tonight was Katelyn [Skibinski]," Crenshaw said. "She had a lot of baseline drives, and that made it easy for her to dish it to the middle and for me to get easy baskets."
Skibinski had six assists to go along with her six points and four rebounds. By the end of the first quarter, five D-C players had assists, and the Chargers led, 12-6.
However, the Gators' 2-3 zone slowed D-C in the second quarter, and the Chargers' lead was only five points at halftime. During the intermission, D-C coach Sarah Miller urged her players to be more aggressive.
"Coach Miller reminded us that against the zone, we have to drive the gaps and not be intimidated when we enter the lane," Skibinski said. "Sometimes you'll get the shot, other times it will open looks up on the perimeter."
The Chargers took Miller's words to heart and opened the second half on an 8-0 run. They led by nine points or more the entire second half, although the Gators (8-8, 3-3) made them work hard for the victory.
South got a team-high eight points from Brooke Kuffel, including a Michael Jordan-esque reverse layup in the second quarter. Teammates Allie Schoen and Kyra Swartz each had six points, but the Gators struggled from the field, going 12 for 35 (34.2%).
"I applauded our players' effort after the game," South coach Mark Mucha said. "We played hard; we had the right attitude. We had a lot of confidence in the first half. It was only a four-point game at halftime against a team that's in first place for a reason."
That first-place label is something Miller is making sure her players don't take for granted.
"I am always reminding the girls that they are going to have a target on their backs all season," Miller said. "Especially since we're a team with a lot of seniors and experience. We have to make sure to match the other team's intensity every trip down the floor.
"That intensity, especially defensively, is our identity. We take a lot of pride in our identity, being smart, physical, intimidating, and giving it our all. It's why we were able to hold them to single digits scoring in all four quarters."
STAR OF THE GAME
Katelyn Skibinski, sr., G
Skibinski had a hand in all facets of the game, with six points, six assists, four rebounds, a steal and a blocked shot.
10: Minutes Dundee-Crown went without committing a foul to start the second half.
AND ANOTHER THING …
South senior Gaby Trier had four steals off the bench despite limited playing time.
Dundee-Crown 46, Crystal Lake South 31
Crystal Lake South 6 9 9 7 – 31
Dundee-Crown 12 7 14 13 – 46
Crystal Lake South (31)
Kuffel 4 0-1 8, Schoen 2 0-0 6, Swartz 3 0-0 6, Sefcik 1 1-2 4, Scharrenberg 1 1-1 3, Rich 0 2-2 2, Trier 1 0-0 2, Skach 0 0-0 0, Rhoades 0 0-0 0, Kimpel 0 0-0 0. Totals: 12 4-6 31.
Crenshaw 7 3-3 17, Schmidt 2 3-4 8, Randl 3 0-0 7, Skibinski 2 2-4 6, Gotter 3 0-0 6, Harris 1 0-0 2, Oldham 0 0-0 0, Sanchez 0 0-0 0, Koehlert 0 0-0 0, Azar 0 0-0 0. Totals: 18 8-11 46.
3-point field goals: Crystal Lake South 3 (Schoen 2, Sefcik), Dundee-Crown 2 (Schmidt, Randl). Total fouls: Dundee-Crown 12, Crystal Lake South 10.