Sara Mickow missed the front end of a one-and-one with 10 seconds remaining, but it didn't matter at all. The clock expired as players scrambled for the rebound, finalizing Crystal Lake South's 43-41 win against South Elgin in the Dundee-Crown girls basketball Thanksgiving tournament Saturday.
Mickow did more than her share to lead the Gators to victory, scoring a team-high 13 points and grabbing 14 rebounds. Rachel Rasmussen added 10 points for the Gators (2-1).
Mickow's basket with 50 seconds left put the Gators ahead to stay. The Storm had 2 shots to tie the game but couldn't connect. Mickow rebounded the second miss and was fouled.
Anna Tracy scored a game-high 15 points for South Elgin, including 3 3-pointers, but no one else managed double figures for the Storm (2-1). Nell Wentling had 7 points off the bench. Amanda Behles added 6 points and 6 rebounds.
South Elgin led only once in the second half at 20-19, but never trailed by more than 5 points as neither team could put a run together.
"As the game went on, I realized that they were scoring on easy baskets a lot," said South coach Kyle McCaughn. "We weren't making them work. As the game went on, we raised our defense up a little bit and made them work, the tone changed a little bit. They couldn't get as easy baskets as they did."
It was just a matter of going toe-to-toe with the Storm.
The defenses dominated the first half as the teams combined for 35 points and 28 turnovers. The Gators made just 5 of 23 shots in the first 16 minutes, but only trailed by 3 at the break.
"We just needed to stay aggressive with them, because they're a very physical team," said Mickow. "Once we started to stay physical with them, that helped."
The Storm cut back on turnovers in the second half, from 14 to 4, but couldn't find the basket.
"I'm down to my third and fourth-string point guards, so we're throwing the ball over the place," said Storm coach Tim Prendergast. "Apparently, we don't work on shooting enough because we can't put the ball in the basket. Defensively, we're fine. We're holding teams under 40 every game, but it's just a big transition for us right now."
Stephanie Oros added 8 points for the Gators.