Wins have been much harder to come by for Crystal Lake Central, but not for a lack of effort. Central's fight was on full display Monday when the Tigers forced overtime on a Lindsey Douros 3-pointer in the final seconds of regulation against Woodstock North.
The Thunder went on to beat the Tigers, 55-54, but coach Derek Crabill had many positives to take away. Douros knocked down the clutch shot Monday, but the senior wasn't the only one asking for that chance.
"She’s been on the bench for about half the season with torn ligaments in her ankle, so it was great to see her hit a shot like that and have those nerves in a big moment," Crabill said. "What I really liked about it, at the end of regulation and overtime, I had all kinds of girls wanting it, which is something we haven’t necessarily seen all year."
The Tigers (5-22) graduated their four leading scorers from last year's Class 4A regional champion, but Crabill likes the way his team is competing with the postseason starting next week.
Paige Keller (11.2 ppg) and Nora Ryan (11.1 ppg) have provided the bulk of the scoring.
"If we keep playing like that, someone is going to fall asleep on us," Crabill said. "I know there are some coaches that have already. It shows in the rankings that were put out to the IHSA. I thought that some of them were quite disrespectful, and I don’t think people know what we’re capable of quite yet."
We are the champions: Marengo and Woodstock North had wins in their final Kishwaukee River Conference games to end the season 9-1 and share the KRC championship. Marengo handed North its first KRC loss last week and defeated Harvard in its last game. North, which beat Woodstock in its last game, is a conference champion for the first time in school history.
Marengo lost many key players from last year's KRC champion, including 2019 Northwest Herald Player of the Year Marissa Knobloch. This year, the Indians lost one of their top players, four-year forward Jordan Parker, who left the team to pursue scholarship incentives with NCAA D-II Drury University for track and field.
Repeating as conference champs is a special feeling. The Indians (19-10) are a win away from their third straight 20-win season.
"There’s been a lot of change this year," Indians coach Nick Rode said. "Losing some kids, having some injuries, and never really knowing what you’re lineup is going to be. To be at this point at this season, we couldn’t be happier."
North (20-8) won a combined 17 games over the past two seasons and has already set the program record for wins in a season. The Thunder are the first girls or boys basketball team to win a conference title.
Senior Kaitlyn Ford called the record-breaking season, "a surreal experience."
"When we started in summer, we were just so strong together and we knew this season was going to be great," Ford said. "We built a family here. It's everything I can ask for to be a part of."
Class 3A/4A postseason: The Class 3A and 4A seedings and pairings were announced last week, with Dundee-Crown as the only area team to receive a No. 1 seed. The Chargers are hosting and looking to win their first regional since winning three in a row from 2015 to 2017.
Joining the Chargers in the Class 4A D-C Regional are South Elgin (No. 4), Cary-Grove (5) and Jacobs (7). Regional play in 3A and 4A begins Monday.
Elsewhere in 4A, Huntley grabbed a No. 3 seed in the Guilford Regional. The Red Raiders' most likely opponent in a final is No. 2-seeded Hononegah, which Huntley beat during the first week of the season. Huntley won four straight regional titles from 2013 to 2016 but have been shut out since.
McHenry, which broke a a 14-year regional drought in 2018, picked up a No. 3 seed in the Streamwood Regional. The Warriors could match up with No. 2-seeded Barrington in the final there.
Woodstock North earned the highest seed out of all local teams in 3A and will try for its first regional title in program history. The sixth-seeded Thunder play No. 11-seeded Woodstock in a Chicago Resurrection Regional semifinal at 7:30 p.m. Tuesday.
All pairings are available on IHSA.org.
Records buster: Richmond-Burton senior guard Peyton Bannon added to an already brilliant season on Saturday and became the program's all-time career scoring leader. Bannon had 23 points against Johnsburg to pass 2007 graduate Lisa Beyer with 1,195 points. Beyer held the previous record with 1,187 points.
R-B's all-time scoring record is held by 2017 grad Blaine Bayer with 1,327 points.
Bannon's 23 points pushed her season total to 632, which also broke the school's single-season scoring record for girls or boys. 2019 grad Jeff Jankowski had 626 points in his final season.
Bannon, who is committed to play softball at Wisconsin next year, leads area players in scoring at 21.8 points a game and has scored 53% of her team's total points going into the postseason.
It's been one record after another for Bannon, who broke the Rockets' girls record for points in a game earlier this year, pouring in 43 points in a loss to Marengo on Jan. 28. She scored 40 in a loss to Winnebago on Jan. 4 to break the previous record of 32.
Burlington's best: Rockets senior Kat Schmidt enters the week 53 points from tying the program's all-time scoring record, held by Jenna Real (1,647). Schmidt, an NCAA Division II Lewis commit, is averaging 15.1 points and 7.8 rebounds a game.
WHAT TO WATCH
Dundee-Crown at Crystal Lake Central, 7 p.m. Wednesday: A victory for the Chargers guarantees them at least a share of the FVC championship.
Class 2A Wheaton Academy Regional final, 7 p.m. Friday: Too-seeded Marengo and No. 4-seeded Marian Central could see each other in the regional finals for the second straight year.